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101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

Is Elf on the Shelf more fun for children or parents?

I am not sure that I can answer that, but I do know as soon as Sprinkles returns to our house the kids are suddenly on their best behavior and they happily giggle as they find out what Sprinkles has gotten himself into this time. As a parent, I eagerly await the arrival of Sprinkles, he brings out the kid in me and always adds an extra little bit of magic to our Christmas. To keep the magic alive, I had to share a list of adventures or as I like to call them Elfcapades for our friendly little elf to get into.

Jersey Family Fun has shared Elf ideas for years and this year we have combined them into one mega 101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas for easier reading! Keep reading if you feel strapped for ideas for the 2018 Elf season. And if your elf only sits on the shelf, no shame in that either!

Elf on the Shelf ideas

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101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas

  • Build a snowman out of marshmallows. Glue mini marshmallows to a piece of paper. You can even leave a note on the paper.
  • Elves need to eat also. Find your elf snacking in the cereal box. Or use the lid to a bottle as a bowl for your elf.
  • Silly messages on the mirror. With a package of window markers you can leave silly messages on the bathroom mirror.
  • Set up a tic tac toe game with your elf and another stuffed friend. Write x’s and o’s on marshmallows and make the board out of candy canes.
  • Been caught texting. Place your cell phone in your elf’s hands. Be sure to add Santa to your contact list, so your elf can text him about how much fun they are having with your family.
  • Deliver donuts from the North Pole, be sure to make elf sized doughnuts out of Cheerios. You can spread some icing on top and add a few sprinkles for a fun mini doughnut.
Grinch Elf on the Shelf ideas
Our Elf brought a new friend to town | Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun
  • Building a snowman in the freezer. Place a plate in the freezer and set your elf up on a box of frozen veggies. You can use cotton or pick up some instant snow from your local dollar store and build a small snowman on the plate. Don’t forget to put mittens and scarf on your elf.
  • Make a small bowl of blue jello, place goldfish crackers or gummy fish in the bowl. Make a fishing pole for your elf out of a pencil, string and a paperclip and send your elf and some of his best pals on a late night fishing excursion.
  • Off roading elf- Place your elf in a monster truck and have him drive over some potato ramps, or line up a group of matchbox cars for the Monster Elf Truck to “Smash”.
  • Do you have a girl elf? She needs a sleepover party. Setup your elf and a couple of her closest barbie and princess friends on the couch. Make sure to have their favorite princess movie on the TV, some makeup and nail polish nearby, and a yummy treat like a few mini Hershey bars.
  • Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar? Put the elf in a cookie jar or near a cookie package, make sure to take a bite out of a cookie or two and have some crumbs around the jar.
101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Our elf always finds an ornament from one of our most recent trips!
  • Elves have good hygiene, place your elf in the bathroom holding a toothbrush getting ready to give brighten up those pearly whites.
  • Your elf wanted to do a little holiday decorating of his/her own. Spread crepe paper all over the floor of your living room, have the elf sitting in the middle of it with tape and some paper snowflakes ready to hang up.
  • Could your elf be the next Picasso? Lay a few crayons next to the elf and draw a picture of your family. You can even personalize the page and have your elf sign their name to it.
  • You’re a mean one Mr. Grinch, have your elf have an indoor snowball fight with the Grinch.
  • If you have a tween or teen in the house then you are probably familiar with the latest teen heartthrobs. Get a copy of one of their posters, and have your elf posing with it and a microphone. If you really want to have some fun have your iTunes open playing their new single. This will be sure to bring a smile to your teenagers face when they see the elf loves to have fun with the whole family.
  • Elves tend to miss the North Pole, why not recreate it for them in your house. Make a nice salt mound sledding hill, put up a candy cane fence and build a cotton snowman. Your elf will have so much fun sledding down the hill all night.
Elf on the shelf challenge image of elf in tree
This year participate in our Elf on the Shelf Challenge
  • Rudolph the red-nosed children. If your child isn’t a light sleeper you could paint a red dot on their noses while sleeping. Leave a note and arrows pointing to the bathroom mirror. Sit your elf on the sink with the paint and the brush.
  • Candy Cane Trail, follow the candy cane arrows to find a treat from your elf. It could be a new book, board game, or even a nice baked treat.
101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
  • Surprise your family with a new gingerbread house kit from your elf. Have your elf open the kit and set up a few bowls with extra candy, sprinkles, and icing.
  • Take your elf shopping. While the kids are at school take your elf for a trip to the mall. Take a few photos of him on the quarter rides, having a drink in the food court, trying on sunglasses at the Children’s Place etc. Print the photos out and leave them for the kids to find showing what kinds of silly things the elf got into at the mall. Who knows maybe he even decided to bring them home a little something from the mall.
  • Winter cleaning – Empty a kitchen cabinet onto the counter and have your elf sitting on one of the shelves, make sure to leave the door wide open.
  • Elf Olympics – The elves on the north pole loved watching the Olympics. Recreate them at your house by having paper sack races, candy cane long jump, and peppermint parallel bars.
  • Leave out elf kisses for the kids, wrap up chocolate chips in foil with a tiny piece of paper coming out to resemble a Hershey kiss.
101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Our elf got into the kids favorite muffins!
  • Glow Bracelet Garland. Your local dollar store or Five Below should sell tubes of glow sticks. You could buy a tube or two and make a chain of glow sticks to hang on your Christmas tree.
  • At my house, our elf always seems to find something to do in the bathroom. This year he sent me a not asking that I get a roll of wrapping paper because he wants to wrap up the entire toilet bowl, silly elf.
  • Hot air balloon ride. Make a basket out of a plastic cup, attach a few balloons to the basket and send your elf up, up and away to the top of your ceiling.
  • Ninja Elf. Wrap your elf up in some black ribbon. Only have their eyes peeking out. Elves love to play dress up.
  • Make a family Christmas tree farm – Your elf will leave a box of sugar ice cream cones, icing, green food coloring and sprinkles.
  • Knit a new hat or gloves, give your elf a ball of yarn and some knitting needles and watch the magic happen as a new pair of gloves appears next to your elf for each of your kids.
  • Elf Airways, make paper airplanes and fly all over the house.
  • We always hear about our children’s Christmas lists but what does the elf want for Christmas? Have your elf write a letter to Santa.
  • Turn the car into a reindeer, put a red pom pom on the front and some cardboard antlers. The kids will giggle in delight.
  • Remember we told you earlier Elves love to decorate, hang a strand of Christmas lights across the kid’s bedroom.
  • Iron Chef Elf Challenge, the secret ingredient is candy canes, you have to create a meal inspired by candy canes.
  • Swing on in – Make a swing out of a toilet paper roll or candy cane, hang from child’s door or ceiling fan.
101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
When your elf is stuck in the way what do you do? Tongs to the rescue!
  • Crowd Surfer – The little pet shops and green army men have decided they had enough of that elf and are hoisting him over their head and out the door.
  • Sledding Elf – Fill a box with packing peanuts, make a hill with the peanuts. Have your elf go down the hill on a candy cane sled.
  • Rudolph Takeover – Place red paper noses and antlers on family photos.
  • Elves like new friends – Have your elf bring a friend to visit one night, ours brought a Grinch that now lives in our refrigerator.
  • Stinky Stockings- Hang socks and underwear from the mantle or windowsill.
  • Elves like to Make People Smile – Leave crayons and paper out with a note telling the kids to make cards to send to the troops or local senior center.
  • Workout Elf – Make a yoga mat out of felt, weights out of marshmallows or lifesaver and lollipop sticks, and put the elf in a yoga position.
  • Tug o’ War – Looks like Barbie and the gang want to challenge the elf to a tug o war match.
  • Wrap Happy – While the kids are at school wrap up their bed, their dresser or even the Christmas tree.
  • You’ve Got Mail- Create an email account for Santa and have your elf check in.
  • Polar Express Party – Leave a golden ticket and sleigh bells around the house inviting the kids to a special showing of the Polar Express in your living room.
  • Ho Ho Ho, Who’s Gotta Go – Leave a silly note on the toilet lid.
  • Nasa Elf – Send your elf where no elf has gone before in a paper rocket ship.
  • Interior Decorator – Hang bows and snowflakes all over the kitchen.
  • Touchdown! – Make a football jersey and goal post for your elf to practice field goals.
  • Bathtime – Fill the bath tub with pink balloons.
  • Cookie Decorator – Leave sugar cookies and frosting out for the elf to decorate cookies.
  • Super Stack – Make a plastic cup tower.
  • Smarty Pants – Fill a bowl with smarties and have the elf hold a sign that says “It’s Smart to be Good All Year”.
101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas
Sprinkles got into the rainbow loom | Photo Credit Jersey Family Fun
  • Rainbow Loom- Have the elf make a tiny bracelet and then throw the looms all over the table.
  • Angel Elves – Put the elf on the top of the tree.
  • Elf Pedicures – When your child is sleeping paint their nails red and green (if they are a sound sleeper).
  • A Christmas tree makeover, one roll of toilet paper can go quite a long way.
  • Elves get lonely too, have your elf go on a playdate with your daughter’s barbie or your son’s transformer collection. I bet they will have a great night.
  • Camping out, place some mini marshmallows around the elf and have him roasting one over a non-lit candle. You could even make him a felt sleeping bag or tent.
  • Caution Tape Elf, put a crepe paper barricade up on the bathroom door that the kids have to break through.
  • Cookies aren’t just for Santa, elves like a cold glass of milk and cookies just as much.
  • Paper Chain Fun, place the scissors, glue, and a small paper chain next to your elf.
Elf on the shelf car
I can just see this Elf in the car bragging to Barbie about his other ride being a sleigh. ;-)
  • Test Drive, place elf on a remote control car and take him out for a spin.
  • Stinky Sleigh Ride, have elf sit inside a shoe holding laces as if he were going on a sleigh ride down sock mountain.
  • Inspiring elf, place a new book or a notepad next to the Elf for child to read or write a list of what they are thankful for.
  • Time to raid the cabinets, hang your elf from a cabinet or place inside the cabinet.
  • Late night tv time, place elf on a chair with remote control, some popcorn and Disney Channel on.
  • Keep the magic alive, write a letter from your elf telling your kids about their behavior whether good or bad.
  • Elves forget to flush sometimes, place elf on the toilet and put a few drops of green food coloring in the water.
  • Plant magic seeds in a pot, leave a note to water for three days. On the third day secretly place lollipops in the pot.
  • Crime Fighting Elf, Make a small cape and mask out of construction paper and dress up your elf as a superhero.
  • One Elf Band, put the elf on the kitchen floor with pots and pans and wooden spoons add some instruments if you have them.
  • Scavenger hunt for snowflakes, make some paper snowflakes and hide them around the house, when you get to the final flake it will be taped to a new snowglobe.
  • Brrrr it’s cold in here, hide the elf in the freezer and draw faces with sharpie on different foods, leave the sharpie next to your elf.
  • Cooking with the elf, Have your elf make magic reindeer food and leave the bowl on the counter you can also make a “snow” angel in the sugar next to the bowl.
  • Elves are gamers, set the elf up in front of your computer and have him playing an online game.
Be sure your pets don’t find the elf before the kids do!
  • Social Media Elf, Create a Facebook page for your elf don’t forget to invite other elves.
  • I’ve been framed, print out a picture of your elf and hang it up with other family photos.
  • Oh Christmas Tree, place your kiddos socks and underwear as ornaments on the tree.
  • Take a snowball bath in the bathroom sink with cotton balls or marshmallows and your child’s favorite tub toy.
  • Lights, Camera, Action have your elf make a video on the kids will get a kick out of it.
  • Hugs & Kisses, hang a mistletoe in the doorway and scatter Hershey Hugs & Kisses on the ground.
Elf on the Shelf Challenge image for twitter
  • If your child is acting up have your elf bring back a letter from Santa warning that if their behavior doesn’t change they will be put on the naughty list.
  • Reading Rainbow, set up a stack of child’s favorite books and have your elf reading them.
  • Nerf Gun Battle, get out kids Nerf guns place some darts around elf and across the room have another toy with darts around him shooting back toward your elf.
  • Walking down candy cane lane, have your elf hold a bunch of candy canes and decorate around your house with a few boxes of candy canes as well.

Need convincing to get an Elf on the Shelf?

Head over to read our 5 Ways to use the Elf on the Shelf to Improve Behavior.

5 Ways to use the Elf on the Shelf to Improve Behavior

Happy Elfing!

What kind of elfcapades does your elf get into?

We want to hear from you and see what your elf is up to. Comment below or tag us in your social media pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

For ways to celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah at home visit these blog posts and listings

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Ideas, Inspiration, & Prizes - 2021 Elf on the Shelf Challenge ~ Jersey Family Fun - New Jersey Digital News

Friday 26th of November 2021

[…] 25 and December 24, 2021, on our Facebook page we will post a scenario or idea from our list of 101 Elf on the Shelf ideas. We’ll show our elf, Frosty putting his twist on that idea. We’ll keep it easy, with challenges […]

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