13 Creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Over the Big Moon 

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. 

  • 01 of 13

    The Much Anticipated Arrival

    Arrival ideas for elf on the shelf
    Eighteen 25

    Make the yearly arrival something special with a welcome print out. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 2 of 13 below.
  • 02 of 13

    The Cookie Debacle

    Elf on the shelf ideas
    Just a Little Creativity

    Uh oh! Elf is suffering from a milk and cookie hangover. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 3 of 13 below.
  • 03 of 13

    So Fresh and Clean

    Ten Cow Chick

    Even elves need to shower every once in a while. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 4 of 13 below.
  • 04 of 13

    Who's Ready for Some S'mores?

    Frugal Coupon Living

    It's never too cold out for an elf-sized campfire and s'mores

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    A Swinging Good Morning

    Creative and Easy Elf on the shelf ideas
    A Small Snippet

    What's cooler than an Elf that also moonlights as a trapeze artist?

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 6 of 13 below.
  • 06 of 13

    Elf Learns a Valuable Lesson

    Elf on the shelf inspiration - simple ideas
    Frugal Coupon Living​

    When Elf has been misbehaving, he's sent to timeout just like any other magical character.

    Related Ideas:

    • 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).
    Continue to 7 of 13 below.
  • 07 of 13

    A Little TLC Is All Elf Needs

    Elf on the shelf ideas
    Nelly Cole Photography

    A common cold is no match for Elf, so long as he has some travel sized kid-proof cough syrup. 

    Related Ideas:

    Continue to 8 of 13 below.
  • 08 of 13

    Even Bananas Aren't Safe

    Elf on the shelf inspiration
    Fancy Shanty

    Are you good at doodling? Apparently, Elf is too. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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.
    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    A Sticky (And Happy) Situation

    Elf on the Shelf Ideas
    The Organised Housewife​

    Your child likely agrees that stickers look best when they're scattered all over, everywhere, even all over Elf

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 10 of 13 below.
  • 10 of 13

    Marshmallows, Anyone?

    Elf on the shelf ideas using marshmallows
    Bombshell Bling

     When it comes to Elf antics, marshmallows will become your best friend. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 11 of 13 below.
  • 11 of 13

    Add a Little Color

    Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas
    Simple as That

    Adult coloring becomes Elf coloring, a stress-relieving Elf antic to try. 

    Related Ideas:

    • 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. 
    Continue to 12 of 13 below.
  • 12 of 13

    TP Hide and Seek

    Elf on the Shelf Ideas
    Crystal and Comp

    How long will it take your kids to find this hiding spot?

    Related Ideas:

    • 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
    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Bored Elf Watches TV

    Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas for 2017
    The Taylor House

    Too much screen time isn't an issue for Elf.

    Related Ideas:

    • 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.