33 Quick and Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Need some Elf on the Shelf ideas and inspiration? After having the Elf on the Shelf for a few years, you might be running out of ideas! With these 25 easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, you’ll be super prepared this year. Best of all, these ideas are quick to set up, taking only about 4-minutes each!

Do you have an Elf on the Shelf for your family? We’ve been doing it for a few years and let me tell you… it’s SO EASY for the Elf¬† to “forget” to move! When he did move, it was usually a rushed¬†attempt, that stressed me out because I needed to be in bed!

This year it’s going to be different! I actually planned ahead, made a calendar, went shopping, and have everything I need neatly tucked away in a box for easy access!¬†Don’t have your elf? ¬†Buy¬†one here!

Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas & Planning Guide

Get the Full-Size Pre-Planned Calendar or a blank Countdown to Christmas Calendar you can fill in yourself!

The Plan:

Our Elf on the Shelf¬†shows up on December 1st and stays through Christmas Eve (he catches a ride home with Santa!). So¬†we needed 24 activities. Since my kids like to wake up and find him, I’ll be setting these up¬†before I go to bed, the night before.

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Shopping List

We want you to be TOTALLY prepared for this fun¬†Christmas Tradition, so here’s an easy list of everything you need! Download it for free!¬†You can print it out and¬†write all over it to make sure you have everything you need for a stress-free Elf Season!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 1

Day 1: Welcome Back Elf

Our Elf is bringing a Welcome Back gift for the fam! The Lego Advent Calendar is a fun gift for Elf to bring! Christmas PJ’s¬†would be a fun idea too!

Your elf doesn’t really have to bring back anything extravagant or expensive. He could bring back a bouquet of balloons, some hot chocolate, new Elf on the Shelf Accessories, a family Christmas movie, a new Christmas book, or anything you can think of! If this is your first year doing Elf on the Shelf, it’s fun to simply read the book and name your Elf!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 2

Day 2: Attack of the Lego Minifigs

We are going to tie our Elf¬†up with some twine (we’ll use this for several days) and some Lego bricks on a building plate. We may have overdone it a little on the minifigs, but I just couldn’t choose!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 3

Day 3: Decorate the Bathroom

Our Elf on the Shelf¬†is going to help with the Christmas decorating! Snag a cute Christmas Bathroom Set¬†if you don’t already have one.¬†Don’t want to decorate the bathroom? No prob… find a little spot to have the Elf Decorate while the kids are sleeping.

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 4

Day 4: Zipline Fun

Grab a candy cane, a piece of twine and some tape, and set up a zip line through a room of your house! Your kids will laugh at their Elf being caught mid-Zipline all day long!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 5

Day 5: Bake Cookies

My kids¬†love to bake! I couldn’t resist this Elf Apron Set when I found it on clearance last year! Add some baking ingredients, near your mixer or a bowl, and you’ve got it made! Need some inspiration on fun cookie ideas? Check out our Cookie Recipes!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 6

Day 6: Build a Fort

Specifically planned on a Saturday¬†so there is lots of time to play in it, turn your kitchen table into a fort with some sheets¬†or blankets and Binder Clips! (you can skip the clips, but they help position your elf so he doesn’t fall off while the fort is in use!)

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 7

Day 7: Scavenger hunt

There are a couple of ways you can do this one:

  1. Have your Elf hold a sign saying something like “I hid 6 Candy Canes in this room. Can you find them in 6 minutes?”
  2. have your elf hold a clue, and each time you find what you are looking for, there is another clue! It can be written or done with pictures, depending on the age of your kids!

You can print the Candy Cane version or a blank version to write your own!

25 Days of funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 8

Day 8: T.P. Roll Swing

Get a piece of twine, an empty toilet paper roll, and a couple of thumb tacks, and set up an Elf swing in a doorway! You can use tape to secure your Elf to the swing, and because of the no touching rule, your kids will never get close enough to see!

We found that it helps to weigh the roll down a bit to keep the elf in his seat. We used green and red sharpies to weigh down the roll.

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Day 8 Toilet Paper Roll Swing Turned Circus Elf

Note: Make sure to use enough tape. Otherwise, your elf may become a member of the circus!

25 Days of easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 9

Day 9: Wrap Pictures

Have your Elf wrap your pictures around the house. It’s an easy and inexpensive way to really dress up a room for Christmas. You can use some twine to make a bow, add bows, or use some of those amazing Ribbon Bows.

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 10

Day 10: Sugary Snow Angels

By far one of the messiest of the Elf Adventures, pour some sugar on your countertop (powdered works better than granulated, but either work), and make your Elf do snow angels! You can also use sprinkles, chocolate chips, rice crispy cereal, M&M’s…¬†there are lots of options, and I bet you have something that will work right in your¬†pantry!

A Clean-Up Hint: A baby wipe gets the powdered sugar mess right off your Elf on the Shelf!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 11 - Bubble bath

Day 11: Bubble Bath Time

Grab a Barbie bathtub, or even a bowl or gravy boat, and fill it with mini marshmallows. Add your elf, and a few strategic marshmallows on top, and voila! Elf bubble bath!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 12 Chocolate coma

Day 12: Chocolate Coma

Have your Elf crawling into an opened bag of Christmas Candy! M&M’s are fun, and bonus, since you are doing this while your kids are asleep, they totally won’t notice a few missing candy pieces!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 13 Hot chocolate

Day 13: Hot Chocolate

Have your Elf put some hot chocolate packets (or K-Cups) in some mugs, along with some mini marshmallows (you know you still have some from the bubble bath!) and enjoy a fun time with your kids. Ask them to tell you their favorite Elf Adventure so far, or what they are looking forward to for Christmas, if they have something they haven’t done yet for Christmas that they would like to, etc!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 14 Snowball fight

Day 14: Snowball Fight

Use some large¬†marshmallows to build a snow fort wall, and the little ones make great snowballs! Pick a single target, or have your kids’ toys team¬†up (Stuffed animals vs. Action Figures!)

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day Countdown chain

Day 15: Countdown to Christmas Chain

Have your Elf create a Christmas Countdown Chain! You can be REALLY cute, and make it Elf sized, or make it big enough for your kids to play with! And at this point, you only have to keep them from tearing off extra days for 10 more days!

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Day 15 Elf Chain How to

Tip: To make the Elf Sized Countdown Chain, use a crayon to help form the rings!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 16 Movie night

Day 16: Movie Night

Grab a Popcorn Container, fill it up, put a mini bag of candy next to your Elf, and place the remote control next to him! I love easy Elf projects! Don’t have microwave popcorn? Check out our DIY Microwave Popcorn recipe!

25 Days of funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 17 Drinking syrup

Day 17: Drinking Syrup

As easy as putting a bendy straw in the syrup bottle, and setting your Elf near it! My kids love to have bendy straws around for drinking smoothies in the morning. Got a tall bottle? Use your elf’s arms to keep him standing up by wrapping them around the syrup bottle! Need a bendy straw? Ask for an extra the next time your family goes out to eat! Most places use bendy straws in kids cups to help keep the messes down.

25 Days of funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 18 Paper doorway

Day 18: Crepe Paper Doorway

Get some crepe paper and tape and “lock” your child in their room with it! You can do a couple of x’s, or¬†really go to town! You are sure to find a good deal on it at your local dollar store!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 19

Day 19: Opening a Present

Have your Elf try to sneak a peek into some wrapped gifts! With Christmas so close, it’s probably a good time to remind kids that if you peak at presents, you ruin the fun and surprise of Christmas morning!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 20

Day 20: “Improve” Pictures

Grab a dry erase marker, and add some fun touches family pictures! Make sure you add your mustaches on the glass, and not on the actual picture!

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 21 Reading the bible

Day 21: Reading the Bible

Having your Elf remind your kids about the real meaning of Christmas can help¬†get rid of the “I wants.” Our elf gets caught reading Luke 2:1-20, and then we take that opportunity to read the story to our kids. We let them play with our Little People Christmas Nativity so they stay focused on what we are reading.

25 Days of Elf on the Shelf Ideas: Day 22

Day 22: Sack Races

Grab a few disposable lunch sacks, or even some Christmas Gift bags, add some fun friends, and have a sack race across your kitchen counter or dining room table!

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Day 23 Color a Picture

Day 23: Color a Picture

Our elf brings a goodbye gift the night BEFORE he leaves. He brings a Christmas coloring book, and new set of crayons (which we grab during Back to School Time), and colors the kids a picture. He usually gets caught mid picture, but the kids don’t mind. ūüôā It was so sweet of him, the crayons are almost as big as he is!

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Day 24 Goodbye Letter

Day 24: Goodbye Letter

On Christmas Eve, when Santa drops off the presents, he picks up our Elf on the shelf and takes him back to the North Pole for the next 11 months! Our¬†Elf on the Shelf writes a letter of goodbye, telling the kids how much he’s enjoyed spending the last few weeks with them, to remember the real reason for Christmas, and to remind them that Santa is always watching, so try to be extra loving to each other over the next year while he is gone!

Elf on the Shelf Planning Guide Day 25 Hide the Elf

Day 25: Hide the Elf

When you are setting up for Christmas, don’t forget to¬†hide your Elf on the Shelf away until next year! I found my elf on top of the washing machine several days later! If my kids¬†would have seen it, they¬†would have been so sad! So, remember to hide your Elf ūüôā

Don’t have an Elf on the Shelf? Want to start this fun family tradition? You can find one here.

More Quick and Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas:

Want some new ideas? We staged and photographed these 8 Elf on the Shelf scenes in 30 minutes! That’s less than 4 minutes per night! ūüėÄ

Elf on the Shelf idea: Toilet Paper Snowman Funny Elf on the Shelf idea: Googly Eyed Fruit Easy Elf on the Shelf idea: Marshmallow Race Track Elf on the Shelf mischievous idea Minion Bananas Elf on the Shelf ideas: Shaving Elf on the Shelf Snowman Door Funny Elf on the Shelf idea: Toilet Paper Roll down stairs Elf on the Shelf mischievous idea: Toothpaste Graffiti Artist



















What are your favorite Elf on the Shelf Ideas?

33 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas and a planning guide to keep you organized and sane this season


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