If you’re looking for cute and easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, we’ve got tons for you. Your Elf can be funny and mischievous with one of these quick Elf on the Shelf ideas or printables!
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Do you have an Elf on the Shelf?
We LOVE our Elf on the Shelf, and our kids love looking for him each morning. It actually doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do as much or as little as you want with your family Elf.
What is Elf on the Shelf?
If you don’t know what Elf on the Shelf is all about, here’s the basic explanation: you buy an Elf on the Shelf kit that comes with an Elf and a book. The book is a fun story that explains that the Elf is visiting for the Christmas season. We also have a movie called An Elf’s Story that our kids love watching.
So, the book outlines the rules he or she follows, and how their magic allows them to visit Santa each night. The Elf then returns to your house, and sits in a new spot, in time for your kid to see them when they wake up!
Elves are often found doing funny or mischievous things – which is why this has become such a fun family tradition. As you can imagine, kids love to go looking for the Elf each morning to see what their Elf has gotten into!
Cute and Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas
There are SO many ways to make the cute Elf tradition even more fun, with outfits, printables, and props. I have taken pictures of a bunch of the things we’ve found our Elf doing, and I decided to round up a bunch of other cute Elf ideas to share with all of you too! There are so many good ideas here.
Check out all of our fun ideas and watch the video we have made!
Cute Elf on the Shelf ideas with Props:
Elf writes their name with Lego: For kids who love lego, have your Elf spell their name with legos!
Elf wears reindeer antlers: this is so simple and fun. My kids have little reindeer antler headbands they like to wear during December so our elf decided to match them!
Elf wears a Christmas Sweater: Our Elf has to wear a tacky sweater at some point during the season! It is a family tradition, after all. I think she even made her very own sweater!
Elf on the Shelf Bingo printable – We love printable elf on the shelf props and our cute Elf, Holly loves to play Bingo! She also brought people-sized Christmas Bingo we could play as a family.
Harry Potter Elf on the Shelf: I couldn’t resist! I used Harry Potter ornaments from my Harry Potter Christmas tree and then just made a wand with a toothpick, hot glue, and acrylic paint.
This Secret Message from Santa with a decoder key is a fun and EASY thing for the Elf to show up with one day!
Our Elf on the Shelf makes cookies for breakfast! Cookie cereal is the perfect size for her!
The Elf in her tissue box bed. Elves need to sleep too, even if it is only for 40 minutes.
Holly the Elf watches a movie with her gingerbread man friend! This is a fun way to say you’ll have a Christmas movie night! Maybe with some caramel popcorn or cornflake wreath treats!
Holly the Elf drinks Yoohoo. I think Yoohoo is part of their official food pyramid! You could also find your scout elf with a bottle of maple syrup! Just like Buddy would do…
Elf on the Shelf Swing
Funny Elf on the Shelf swings: Fun and too high to reach! Win, win.
After seeing that idea, we had to try it for ourselves. I made a swing out of a toilet paper roll, twine, fishing line, and safety pins. At first, I did have trouble keeping the elf upright since she is top-heavy. I added weight to the swing by putting the roll of twine inside the toilet paper roll. It worked great! I used the fishing line to keep her hands up so they appear to be holding onto the string. If you want more detailed instructions, there is a tutorial at the bottom of this page!
Our Elf sometimes has a tea party with Barbies. Use whatever little doll dishes you have around and a mini cake stand as a table!
Elf on the Shelf Playing Music
This is another super easy idea if you have a guitar ornament already! If you don’t, but you want one, you can grab a guitar ornament on Amazon.
The Elf plays the drums, with toothpicks for drumsticks. I hear Elves are very talented musicians. These bass drum and snare drum ornaments on Amazon are similar to the ones Holly is playing here.
Piano playing Elf on the shelf: My kiddos love banging on the piano together, so this would be a real hit. It totally looks like something they would do to get up there, haha.
Funny Elf Setting a Good Example
The Elf brushes her teeth: dental hygiene is so important, especially when you eat as much sugar as Elves do!
Elf helps out with a project: Are you doing anything around the house? Have your Elf help out a bit!
This Funny Elf on the Shelf takes a shower. Fun and easy!
Elf Exercises: this is just too cute.
Helpful Elf: Our friend Pam’s Helpful Elf cards are an amazing idea. Instead of your scout Elf being mischievous, he or she can be a helper and maybe encourage the kids to help around the house too!
Good Deed Elf: We also love to use these Elf ‘good deed’ cards from Over the Big Moon!
Elf Having Fun
The Elf reads a Christmas book: We LOVE reading over here, so this one is a must. Some of our favorite Christmas books for this are: Olive the Other Reindeer and this beautiful Story of Christmas board book!
Elf on the Shelf on a light fixture: I thought this would be a good first day since it will be fun and exciting to find him, but up out of the way so that I don’t have to distract Luke all day long! Haha.
The Elf on the Shelf warns us to be good: We all know there will be a day when everybody needs a “be good” reminder.
Elf makes party hats: This is so perfect if anyone in your family has a December birthday. The elf would definitely remember an important thing like that!
Elf has his own Christmas tree: I love trees of all shapes and sizes.
Elf on the Shelf goes ziplining: I love how this is up high and out of the way!
The Elf tangled in the toilet paper: I know Luke will think the toilet paper thing is funny, so I like this one because there is minimal time and mess involved!
Our Elf makes a Paper Airplane: I couldn’t find a picture of this either, but we’re pretty airplane-obsessed over here, so I thought it would be fun to have some airplanes we could play with all day.
Elf on the Shelf with Food:
The Elf on the Shelf brings candy canes.Who doesn’t love a little sweet surprise?
Funny Elf goes fishing. Fishing for whatever we have on hand, of course!
The Elf eats treats: Of course, we’d all share the treats.
Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas
The Elf on the Shelf has become known for being mischievous. Here are some of our favorite things we’ve seen scout elves doing…
The Elf on the Shelf dyes the milk green – that’s a funny elf!
The Elf on the Shelf makes a Snow Angel with flour. Simple and sweet.
In a similar vein, if you’re looking for mischievous ideas, he or she can make a mess with flour, just like your toddler might have done once or twice! (To do this Elf on the Shelf flour idea without getting *too messy* the elf had scotch tape on her back! )
The Elf on the Shelf Marshmallow Bath: I love how this is in a bowl so you don’t need *too* many marshmallows to make it work!
- Elf on the Shelf gets tangled up: Ah.. I already can’t wait to be doing all these! I can just hear Luke saying, “Mom, he’s stuck!”
- Elf on the Shelf makes snowflakes: Kids aren’t supposed to touch the elf, so, I love the idea of having the elf bring things the kids can play with, like some pretty snowflakes.
The Elf on the Shelf goodbye printable: I like the concept of having a letter prepping the kids for the excitement of Christmas and the departure of the elf. I’d also like the letter to include a paragraph about the real meaning of Christmas and some of my favorite things about my kids.
So, what is your opinion? Do you love Elf on the Shelf or think it is ridiculous? Super fun, or too commercial? If you decide you want to buy one, I haven’t found it any cheaper than here!
Like this post? You will love our friend Pam’s Elf on the Shelf ideas too.
If you use this tutorial, please leave us a comment and positive review! They mean a lot to us!
Elf on the Shelf Swing
- Sewing needle optional
- Fishing line
- Safety pin
- Toilet paper roll
- Spools of thread or twine
How to make a swing for your Elf on the Shelf
- Make a little hole about ½ inch away from the edge of the toilet paper roll. Do the same thing on the opposite end.
- Push a length of twine through each side of the toilet paper roll. Tie a knot on the twine that is inside the roll so the twine stays put.
- Hang the swing from a doorway or light fixture. I like using a light fixture because it is easy to tie the twine onto the rods.
How to get an elf to stay on the swing
- Push safety pin up from the inside of the toilet paper roll so it is poking out the top, and pin elf's bottom to the toilet paper roll.
- Place the spool of extra twine inside the toilet paper roll.*
- Put the elf's hands on the twine where you want them to be.
- Use a sewing needle to string fishing line through the elf's hand, then through the twine, and then make a loop around. Tie it off and do the same to the other hand.
This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated with new ideas, photos and information!
Elf is going to leave a letter where Elf is going to allow my toddler to hug and kiss and say good bye on the 24th before he leaves. I must say I hated elf on the shelf but since I got her she sure has brought fun to our life…
We have a pesky penguin just as fun love the ideas!
Jessica @ Pretty Providence
SO funny! I don’t have children but I can’t wait to do this each day for my boyfriend. He will get such a kick out of this!
I made an elf for us using an old doll and some felt to make an elf outfit. It’s original and cute and my kids love him. Even my preteen thinks it’s fun :)
We’ve had our elf Desi for around 3 or 4 yrs now….the kids love it, but it can be one more thing to remember in an already busy season…not to mention the preteen likes to torment the younger siblings that he’s going touch it and kill the magic power! We’ve dealt with some meltdowns over it!! Its funny that now that we’ve started this tradition, it won’t stop. My husband wants to drown him in the fishtank!! LOL
Haha that is hillarious!! I have a feeling my husband will be the same way! Haha awesome!
I decided the Elf on the shelf was way to expensive. I found a cute stuffed Gingerbread man and we called him The Naughty Gingerbread. But I like the ideas you posted as well. The Naughty gingerbread toilet papered my sons whole room while he was sleeping. Sealed off his bedroom door with paper on Christmas eve, took the remote and taped it to the ceiling and the list goes on. My son was excited to get up each morning to see what the gingerbread man had done that night. Needless to say the rest of our house had fun pulling these little pranks as well.
Such a fun idea! Haha. I also like that if he is going to be called naughty he’s not directly tied to Santa!! Such fun ideas!! Thanks for sharing :)
Wish there was some way to send you a picture. We have one of our elf, Dingle, kneeling next to baby Jesus and praying.
Aww really! I love that so much! Do you have a pic of it on Instagram?
Our family has an Elf Magic elf. They are cuter (IMO), don’t have the stipulation of no touching, and the letter they come with mentions spreading the joy of the true meaning of Christmas. My six year old is eagerly awaiting the return of her elf Hazel, to see what sorts of fun she’ll bring to our home this year! She has decorated the tree with toilet paper, had cotton snowball fights with the other stuffed animals, flown on the ceiling fan, done gymnastics on the kitchen chandelier, read the bible, and played with the nativity, in addition to many things you listed.
You can find them at elf-magic.com
No way! That is so much fun! Thanks for sharing, ill for sure have to look those ones up!
Wow! we have never had this tradition but I think I’ll give it a try this year. Thanks for the suggestions! I invite you to link this to my link party and blog hop
http://www.thefamilyfunspot.com/2013/11/bloggers-unidas-1.html Hope to see you there!
We have our elf read the Christmas Story at our Nativity Scene to other animals….we too have also had an elf for years but lady year was the first time he came for a visit and the kids loved it.
Really?! Oh that is so great to know! Thanks for sharing your ideas too! I think I’m doing it
Woow!So funy elfs!!!
What an adorable collection ! I love the one in the shower :-)
Love these :) You’re more than welcome to use my image, where the elf is cradling baby Jesus, if you need.
Yes, I would love to! Will you leave a link?!
Love this post. Thx! I just bought this book for my grandkids and these ideas will add to the fun.
Yay!! What a sweet gift you are giving them! I’m glad you like it :)
I don’t know if I would do Elf on the Shelf for our (future) family, but I love the touches you’ve included to bring in your faith! Especially the kneeling by the manger. My favorite trinket at my mom’s house is a little ceramic Santa kneeling by the Nativity. :)
Thank you Rachel! That made my day. I LOVE Christmas, and love getting into the craze of the season, but I try hard to never lose sight of what it’s really all about, so that means a lot :).
My son is 2 and we’re going to do Elf on the Shelf for the first time this year. I am really excited about it and I think it will be something really fun.
Ah my son is two also! I know he would just love it, I just need to join the club I guess