The moments after Thanksgiving are much anticipated for parents with young children. While many prepare their lists for Black Friday shopping, some of us will be prepping for the arrival of our mischievous Elf on the Shelf friend (or at times, foe).
Coming up with a month's worth of Elf on the Shelf ideas year after year is harder than you might imagine, so having a stockpile of inspiration comes in handy on those days when you're feeling less than creative.
Plan in advance and mix some simple ideas with more complex ones throughout the month so you don't experience elf burn out. Also, don't be afraid to repeat ideas from previous years. Many parents attest to their kids' excitement when Elf decides to repeat old antics.
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The Much Anticipated Arrival
Make the yearly arrival something special with a welcome print out.
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- Push Elf through a punched-out hole in an otherwise gift-wrapped box.
- Spell out a message with mini candy on a table where Elf arrives. Some ideas include "Did you miss me?" or "I'm back!"
- Have Elf ride in on a toy airplane or car with an accompanying arrival sign.
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The Cookie Debacle
Uh oh! Elf is suffering from a milk and cookie hangover.
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- Elf gets caught eating Hershey kisses and has chocolate on his face.
- Have Elf drinking an open container of maple syrup out of a straw.
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So Fresh and Clean
Even elves need to shower every once in a while.
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- Position Elf in a mini tub filled with mini marshmallows.
- Spell something out with toothpaste on the bathroom sink and leave Elf behind. Make this a sink in your house that your children don't use on a regular basis.
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Who's Ready for Some S'mores?
It's never too cold out for an elf-sized campfire and s'mores.
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- Create a small tent using tan construction paper and a sleeping bag using felt, then position elf sleeping under the stars.
- Put a toy fish in the sink and have Elf fish out with a fishing pole made of a candy cane and string. Goldfish will work if there are no toy fish available.
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A Swinging Good Morning
What's cooler than an Elf that also moonlights as a trapeze artist?
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- Craft gymnast rings using twine and keyrings then position Elf in a typical gymnastics pose.
- Make a tire swing using twine and a mason jar lid so Elf can swing in style.
- Create a zip line using any type of string or ribbon then have Elf slide down on a mini candy cane.
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Elf Learns a Valuable Lesson
When Elf has been misbehaving, he's sent to timeout just like any other magical character.
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- Have a bunch of mini figurines and toys tie up Elf using yarn or masking tape.
- Make a mini yoga mat and place Elf in a yoga pose that your child is familiar with (like child's pose).
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A Little TLC Is All Elf Needs
A common cold is no match for Elf, so long as he has some travel sized kid-proof cough syrup.
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- Make Elf fall asleep in a half-empty box of tissues and crumple up some tissues to put in his hand.
- Cut some ace bandage into tiny strips and wrap up Elf's arm or leg.
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Even Bananas Aren't Safe
Are you good at doodling? Apparently, Elf is too.
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- Add some googly eyes and a felt mustache to your bananas instead.
- Cut a hole around the center elf on a box of Rice Krispies and have Elf push through his head.
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A Sticky (And Happy) Situation
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- Elf might want to decorate something else with stickers instead of himself, like a jug of milk in the fridge for instance.
- Place two knitting needles between Elf and have him attempt to knit, while also wrapping yarn around him.
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When it comes to Elf antics, marshmallows will become your best friend.
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- Set up a snowball fight between Elf and another figure using mini marshmallow snowballs, medium sized marshmallows for a snow wall and flour for ground cover.
- Make a weight using a mini straw and two marshmallows, then have Elf benchpress it.
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Add a Little Color
Adult coloring becomes Elf coloring, a stress-relieving Elf antic to try.
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- Create a painting on a mini or full-size easel then adhere a mini or full-size paint brush in Elf's hands.
- Have Elf play one of the family board games with other children's action figures or dolls.
- Open a storybook and place Elf on his belly with his hands on his chin as he reads.
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TP Hide and Seek
How long will it take your kids to find this hiding spot?
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- Roll Elf down the stairs in a tube of toilet paper, leaving a trail behind.
- Canvas the Christmas tree with toilet paper and have Elf positioned next to the roll.
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Bored Elf Watches TV
Too much screen time isn't an issue for Elf.
- Elf gets caught inside an opened M&M's bag with candy scattered over the kitchen counters.
- Place Elf inside a cookie jar with a cookie positioned in his hand.
- Keep the microwave door open with a full bag of popcorn spilling out while Elf enjoys his own mini bowl next to the microwave.