These Are the 53 Best Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Parents
We asked our readers to share their best Elf on the Shelf ideas, and they served up mischievous, funny, and simple ideas you can easily recreate!
Get can’t-miss family activities sent to you!
Get the Best Kid-Friendly Activities
Sent to You Weekly!
5. Elf on the Shelf Hiding in Candy Canes
Since elves love sugar so much, it only makes sense that they’d hide with candy canes! So grab a glass jar, fill it with the wrapped candy of your choice (don’t want Elf to get sticky!), and let your child find it. Bonus: Your kids get to enjoy the candy the next day.
6. Elf on the Shelf Hiding in Cereal Box
Another clever hiding tactic! Cut the face out of the mascot on your kids’ favorite cereal box and have your Elf peek through. Then sit back and see how long it takes your kids to notice the Elf watching them at breakfast.
Elf on the Shelf Mischievous Ideas
1. Elf on the Shelf with Bad Milk Idea
We love a good pun, and this is one of the best we’ve seen when it comes to Elf on the Shelf ideas! Simply draw a menacing face on your jug of milk and make it look like your Elf was taken hostage.
2. Elf on the Shelf Candy Raid Idea
These little guys can’t seem to get enough sugar! This Elf on the Shelf found the candy stash in the upper cupboard and used cans of veggies to get him high enough to reach the sweet treats.
3. Elf on the Shelf Googly Eye Idea
Add googly eyes to all the framed pictures in your house as a fun prank the Elf plays on the whole family!
4. Elf on the Shelf Photocopier Fun Idea
Who doesn’t love having fun with the copier? We’re sure you did this as a kid (and maybe even as an adult?), so you know what to do!
5. Elf on the Shelf Drawing on Fruit Idea
These mischievous elves love drawing on things, and I guess drawing on a banana isn’t the worst thing they could do. Fingers crossed it doesn’t evolve into drawing on the walls!
6. Elf on the Shelf Grating Carrot Idea
Poor carrot! Sure this Elf might be being helpful by grading a carrot for you, but adding a face to the veggie takes this vignette to a whole other level.
7. Elf on the Shelf Playing Prank on Dad Idea
Kids sure do love pulling pranks on their parents, and as long as it’s an innocent prank, we can totally get behind it! And painting Dad’s toenails is as innocent as it gets. Write up a cute rhyme to help the kids figure out what the prank is and see how long it takes them to solve it.
8. Elf on the Shelf Play-Doh Fun Idea
Hide the Play-Doh from your Elf, otherwise your kids might wake up to this scene!
9. Elf on the Shelf Snow Angel Idea
This is a great idea for when there’s a fresh coating of snow on the ground! Sprinkle some flour on the counter and have your Elf make a snow angel.
10. Elf on the Shelf Snowball Fight Idea
We love a good snowball fight, and mini marshmallows make the perfect snowballs for your Elf. This is a great idea if your family has 2 elves, or use another season figure instead. Bonus: Using holiday themed snack cakes as snowball forts make for a sweet treat for your kiddos!
11. Elf on the Shelf Don’t Swallow Gum Idea
Now this really made us laugh out loud! While we know this doesn’t happen if you swallow gum, the look on your kids’ faces will be priceless when they see this.
12. Elf on the Shelf Trapping Each Other Idea
Another idea if you have more than one Elf? Make it look like one is taping the other to the wall, inside the door of a cabinet, or somewhere else. It’s almost like the elves are acting out your kids fantasy of dealing with their siblings…
Elf on the Shelf Bathroom Ideas
1. Elf on the Shelf Spa Idea
After a few weeks of scouting for Santa, your Elf on the Shelf might need a spa day to relax, rest, and recharge for a few more weeks of
spying keeping an eye on your kids.
2. Elf on the Shelf Toothpaste Message Idea
Now this is a good way to make sure your kids brush their teeth in the morning! Just make sure you have an extra tube of toothpaste for your little ones to use since they can’t touch the Elf.
3. Elf on the Shelf Reindeer Poop Idea
Okay, so this technically isn’t in the bathroom, but it is bathroom related…and it’ll show your kids that everyone has to clean up after their pets! Scatter a few chocolate chips around as your Elf’s pet’s poop and make your Elf clean it up. Wanna gross your kids out? Eat one of the chocolate chips in front of your kiddos. Ha!
4. Elf on the Shelf Pea’d Idea
Another good pun! Spell out the message in peas and see if your kids have the same sense of humor that you have.
5. Elf on the Shelf Potty Humor Idea
What kid doesn’t think potty humor is hilarious?! These fun rhymes are perfect for an Elf on the Shelf bathroom idea.
Elf on the Shelf Ideas for Bringing Gifts and Playing Games with Kids
1. Elf on the Shelf Baking Cookies Idea
Homemade cookies are a delicious treat! And it’s even better if the cookies are freshly baked in the morning before your kids get up. That way, they wake up to the smell of cookies in the oven. And there’s no better way to wake up than that!
2. Elf on the Shelf Playing the Floor is Lava Idea
Okay, we can seriously get behind this game! Playing the floor is lava in the morning is a great way to wake up and get energized for the day. Or maybe there’s only one room in the house where the floor is lava all day and the whole family can’t step on the floor in that room all day. That’ll really catch Mom and Dad off guard and the last one standing is the winner.
3. Elf on the Shelf Gifting Hot Cocoa Idea
Who doesn’t love hot cocoa during the holidays? Make a cute cocoa kit for your kids, with a holiday mug, a gourmet cocoa powder or a hot chocolate bomb, and some marshmallows. You can also add in some chocolate covered pretzels to stir the cocoa with.
4. Elf on the Shelf Giving Kids PJs Idea
If your kids get new Christmas pajamas each year, let your Elf bring them for a change.
5. Elf on the Shelf Hitting Piñata Idea
This tiny piñata is adorable—where do you even find one that small?! Give your Elf a tiny blindfold and stick, and make it look like they broke open the piñata, spilling sweet treats out on the counter for your kids.
6. Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt Idea
There are a few ways you could set this up. You can hide candy canes or other items around the house. Or you can write a series of clues your kids need to solve leading them to a bigger gift from your Elf.
7. Elf on the Shelf Tic Tac Toe Idea
This idea is good for a few days of Elf on the Shelf fun! Have your Elf start the game, then have your kid make a move. Each night, your Elf will make another move for your child to match until the game is over. All you need is bows in two colors, and tape some ribbon in the shape of a tic tac toe board.
8. Elf on the Shelf Toilet Paper Snowman Idea
Stack a few rolls of toilet paper. Cut out some black dots for the eyes, mouth, and buttons and an orange triangle out of construction paper. Attach them and some ribbon for a scarf on the TP. You’ve got yourself an un-meltable snowman!
9. Elf on the Shelf Playing Twister Idea
This Elf on the Shelf idea is perfect for a weekend! If your family already owns Twister, have your Elf set up to help spin. And if you don’t already have the game, let your Elf gift it to your kids. It’s the perfect family activity without leaving the house.
Main image by PhotosByMegann/shutterstock.com