Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas to keep your Elf moving every night, and your kids happy every morning!
Meet Bobby our Elf. He’s been around for a few years, making my kids really happy every December.
But Bobby isn’t your usual elf, he’s a lazy elf. Which basically means he’s my kind of elf:)
Bobby doesn’t like to overexert himself and get all fancy every night like some other elves – you know, those Pinterest worthy elves.
Bobby does like to get slightly fancy occasionally since he knows it makes the kids sooooo happy, but he doesn’t make it an everyday occurrence. That way the kids can be really surprised when he does something even remotely different than just moving from place to place.
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If you’re getting an elf for the first time this year, (you can get one here on Amazon) my biggest piece of advice would be to NOT start with a bang! Start off with something simple and then work up to something more exciting. That way, your kids won’t expect something super fun from your elf EVERY SINGLE DAY.
Plus, if your elf accidentally falls asleep while watching The Real Housewives, and forgets to move, or maybe just moves back onto the mantle, nobody will be disappointed because they weren’t expecting too much anyway:)
PRO TIP: SET AN ALARM ON YOUR PHONE TO REMIND YOU TO MOVE THE ELF BEFORE YOU FALL ASLEEP.
My second bit of advice – DO NOT tell your kids that the elf arrives the day after Thanksgiving! Do you know how many nights of work you’ll be putting in if you do that?
Bobby comes out and surprises my kids when I’m good and ready for him to make an appearance. I usually wait until the beginning of December when my kiddos start asking about him.
If it’s always a surprise to your kids when he comes, you can bring him out whenever you like and save yourself some of the nightly hassles.
Related: Free Printable Letter to Santa
Free Printable Letter from Santa
Update: I just picked up this Elf Flex to use this year! It’s a DIY kit that transforms your elf by making him bendable and flexible. I can’t wait to see all the different poses I can do this year!
27 simple and quick ideas for your elf on the shelf
- Welcome your elf for the season with this WELCOME printable. Nothing fancy here…just prop this on your kitchen table and you’re done. If you don’t want to print something out, it’s also fun to spell out “I’m Back” with M&M’s.
- Put the elf inside an upside-down cup and pretend he’s stuck inside. Want to get fancier? Write “HELP” on a piece of paper and stick it inside with the elf.
- Grab a coloring book and scribble all over a page. Sit elf on top of the book with a crayon in his lap.
- Sprinkle some flour on your kitchen counter and make a snow angel.
- Have your elf build a lego tower. I like the mega blocks for this because it’s super quick.
- Elf reads a book.
- Elf brushes his teeth. The kids love this one! It’s super simple and fast and it makes my kids so happy.
- Elf and Barbie are held hostage. Just tape them up to the wall and watch your kids explode with laughter. I use blue painter’s tape for this to keep them stuck all night and to protect my walls.
- Elf rides on a stuffed animal.
- Elf creates a small maze with a game of Dominoes.
- Elf plays in the kitchen cabinet pulls.
- Move elf to the Christmas tree. No need to be fancy every day. If you do that, they will expect fanciness daily!
- Elf plays a board game with an action figure or Barbie.
- Elf is stuck in a stocking.
- Elf gets stuck in a roll of toilet paper and rolls down the stairs or across the room.
- The elf watches TV. Prop the elf on a few pillows on the couch, put the remote next to him and call it a night.
- Elf shaves – dab some shaving cream on his face and put the razor across his lap. This one is my kids’ favorite.
- Elf plays a card game with another toy.
- Elf takes a bath in a bowl of mini marshmallows or cotton balls.
- Elf drives a toy car…the Barbie car works really well for this one.
- Elf takes a nap in a tissue box and uses a tissue as a blanket.
- Elf drinks a can of soda or a box of juice. Plop a straw in an empty can/box and put elf back on the couch with the remote.
- Elf leads a parade of toys.
- Elf hangs out in a shoe. I love to use my husband’s work boots for this one.
- Elf dumps out a piggy bank.
- Elf takes a ride on Thomas the Train.
- Elf uses the computer to look up toys.
On the last night, you can include this Goodbye letter with your elf…which means no extra work for you:)
Good luck! Have a wonderful holiday season!
I don’t have kids but I still love hiding the Elf around the house… What can I say I’m a big kid!
Some great tips here, especially starting small and working your way upto the bigger ideas as I always run out after a week or so!
It’s like you read my mind!! The Elf can be so much work, but with your tips it will make it easier for me this year. Thank you!!
Christina Mott says
Thanks! I love how happy it makes my kids, but by day 5 I’m usually already over it lol! So for me, the easier, the better!