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30 Easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas (Keep It Simple!)

Over the years I have learned the importance of having quick access to easy and high impact Elf on the Shelf ideas for kids <——- This post will provide you with everything you need this holiday season including letters from the elf, more ideas and elf name suggestions.

The easy Elf on the Shelf ideas that you see here should all take 5 minutes or less to implement.

Having an Elf on the Shelf doesn’t have to be a lot of work!

So when you’re done, you can pour yourself a glass of wine and revel in your mom awesomeness.

Pssst- Save even more time posing your elf by making him bendable!

We can thank Pinterest for the fact that the Elf on the Shelf has strayed so much from its original purpose (you know, an Elf. On a SHELF).

Now we can see awesomely elaborate and way-too-time consuming ideas like the elf wrapping the entire toilet.

I just don’t have that much time.

And I’m guessing you don’t either.

Busy parents shouldn’t feel like they can’t do this fun Christmas tradition just because of all the elaborate ideas you see on Pinterest.

Quick elf ideas will be just as fun for your kids.

Believe me.

My kid’s grandmother has three elves and they move the next morning, as well as MULTIPLE times a day.

They also do much more elaborate things than our elves.

But my kids still love waking up every morning in the month of December to find their elves in a new position.

They love the quick ideas just as much as the over the top ones.

So before we get started with some awesomely easy Elf on the Shelf ideas, check out my Elf on The Shelf Planner.

It’s 16 printable pages of amazing organization and fun, including an Elf on the Shelf arrival and goodbye letter, letter to and from Santa, nice list certificate, lunch box jokes, elf name suggestions and more!

Okay, here we go! I would love to see your elf in action. Make sure to snap a pic and leave a comment on this pin!

This post contains affiliate links.

Quick And Easy Elf On The Shelf Ideas

I hope you love these easy, simple ideas!

  1. Taco Time

2. Wrapped Up

Whether you have more than one elf or not, this is still a really cute idea, possibly for your elf’s arrival or any day.

Just make sure to do this one on a night when you’re already doing some Christmas wrapping to save on time!

This mischievous Elf on the Shelf is wrapping her elf friend up. I wonder what he did?

3. Elf Scavenger Hunt

How about having an Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt?

This takes a tiny bit more time, but it’s “easy” because I’ve done all the thinking for you!

All you have to do it print, cut and place the clues where I tell you to place them.

And it will pay off in the morning, because it will take your kids a while to find all the clues.

You know, while you take five on the couch with your coffee cup!

Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt riddles- free printable

4. Hiding Among Stuffed Animals

The Squishmallow obsession is going strong in our house.

Your kids would love it if your elf became buddies with their favorite stuffed animals.

Yeah, I'm just an Elf on the Shelf hangin' with some Beanie Boos.

5. Elf On The Shelf Printer Mischief

Everyone of all ages will find humor in a silly elf scanning and printing his body!

Silly Elf on the Shelf is trying to scan and print himself!

6. Promoting Acts of Kindness

I love using our elf not so much to threaten them with reminders that “Santa’s watching”, but rather to remind them to love and be kind. My Elf on the Shelf letter for arrival and Elf on the Shelf leaving gift are based around the same idea.

And what better medium to share this message than some TP.

This Elf on the Shelf is all about promoting kindness.

7. Receiving Communication From Santa Claus

Did you know that your kids can get personalized texts, phone calls and videos from Santa himself?

Let your elf show them how (and check out my post of 10 Ways To Communicate With Santa Through Text, Video And Phone Calls.)

The Elf on the Shelf showing your kids how to get texts from Santa.

8. Playing With Your Kid’s Toys

Kids love playing dress up, and apparently so do elves!

Our elf dressed up with Rapunzel in the Barbie pool of our dollhouse.

If you have an actual Barbie bathing suit that would be better, but eh, our elf forgot to bring her suit from the North Pole.

Elf clothes are boring. This Elf on the Shelf took some fashion pointers from Rapunzel.

9. Writing On A Mirror Or Window

Any kid would love waking up in the morning, going to brush their teeth and finding a message from their Scout Elf.

I used our Crayola bath markers for this, but shaving cream, lipstick or dry-erase markers would work too!

A message from the Elf on the Shelf that Santa Claus is soon coming to town.

10. Making A Snow Angel Out Of Sprinkles

Your elf knows that making a sprinkle angel is much more fun than making a snow angel.

This Elf on the Shelf has the right idea. Making a sprinkle angel is much more fun!

11. Heading For The Door In Snow Boots

This is the idea last year that my kids loves the most by far.

It makes it so much fun when you use your kid’s snow boots to show your elves heading out the door.

Could be perfect for Christmas Eve!

These elves on the shelf are ready to make their departure back to the North Pole.

12. Bundled Up In The Refrigerator

Brrrrr! Apparently elves acclimate to the warmer temps south of the North Pole pretty quickly!

Brrrr! Smart elves bundle up when it's cold!

13. Peeking Out Of The Washing Machine

Behind on the laundry?

Take advantage of it and stick your elf in!

Elf on the Shelf in the dryer.

14. Floating In The Sink

I’m sure you have some kind of toy floatation device that your elf can borrow.

She’s got spring fever! (these inflatable drink holders are the CUTEST and come in a pack of 12. That’s almost 2 weeks of ideas!)

It's December but this Elf on the Shelf is thinking sun.

15. Elf Hot Chocolate, Anyone?

The Elf on the Shelf was never cuter!

Would you like some marshmallows with your hot chocolate?

Or maybe an elf instead!

Would you like some marshmallows in your hot chocolate? Or maybe an elf on the shelf?

16. Busting Through A Cereal Box

I guess this cereal was a little TOO delicious!


This elf thinks Chocolate Frosted Flakes are GRRR-EAT!

The Elf on the Shelf thinks that Frosted Flakes are GRRRR-EAT!

17. Bandaid Obsessed

Looks like someone got into the band-aids!

I seem to remember this happening with a certain 2-year old once.

Kids love bandaids, and so does the Elf on the Shelf!

18. Rappelling Down A Rope Of Socks

The elf was trying to get down from her perch so this crafty elf decided to rappel down a rope of socks. (Inspired by a favorite children’s book Lady Pancake And Sir French Toast.)

This elf on the shelf is ready for action and has made a rope out of socks to climb.

19. Telling A Christmas Joke

There are lots of ways that your elf can make your kids laugh, including by telling Christmas jokes for kids.

Have your elf on the shelf type a Christmas joke to your kids.

20. Sitting On A Christmas Tree Made Of Books

I love this idea because it will prompt your kids to want to read a zillion books on the morning that your elf builds a book tree to perch on.

Warning: your kids will OF COURSE want to read all the the books that are occupied by the elf.

Pose your elf on the shelf with a tree made out of books!

21. Ready For Movie Night

This one is “easy” if you plan it for a day when you were going to watch a movie anyway.

It’s super fun to create a movie night bucket.

You can fill it with new Christmas pajamas, movie snacks, cozy blankets, etc.

It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as this example, and it will still be a great idea.

Elf on the Shelf Movie Night

22. Ziplining In On Some Toilet Paper

Potty humor is always a funny elf idea that will amuse all kids.

Just the simple use of toilet paper is FUNNY.

Include candy canes and you’ve got a great last-minute elf idea.

Elf on the Shelf Ziplining On Toilet Paper

23. Create An Elf Refueling Station

If you have a family member who is obsessed with coffee, why not have an elf that is, too!

All you need is a K-Cup and a straw, but if you can throw some Googly eyes into the mix, they really elevate this fun elf idea to the next level.

Elf on the Shelf Coffee

24. Decorating The Mirror

This is such a simple elf idea that is much easier than creating paper snowflakes!

Elf on the Shelf Dry Erase Markers On Mirror

25. Nerf Gun Fun

If you have a Nerf Gun laying around your house, go grab it!

Your naughty elf is ready to play!

The only other thing you need is some red solo cups to create a tower with.

When your child wakes up the next day, you can encourage him to blast the tower that the cute elf made for him.

Elf on the Shelf Nerf Gun Pointed At A Solo Cup Tower

26. Duct Tape Toilet Paper

Oh my!

This is one of the easiest ways to get a big laugh out of your kids tomorrow.

Your hilarious elf found a new use for Duct Tape!

Those elves want your children to be on good behavior, but are they?

Elf on the Shelf Replacing Toilet Paper with Duct Tape

27. Playing One Of Your Child’s Board Games

You might as well incorporate some other toys into this set-up, too!

28. Taking A Bubble Bath In Mini Marshmallows

29. Ice Cream Sundae

Have your elf gather up all of the ice cream sundae ingredients for a special ice cream sundae breakfast!

30. Hanging Christmas Decorations In Your Child’s Room

How fun would it be for your child to wake up in the morning to Christmas lights, balloons, streamers, etc in his room!

And if your child’s room is *ahem* a little messy, check out my Elf on the Shelf notes. One of them has the elf as your child to clean their room!

So repeat after me, the Elf on the Shelf is FUN, it doesn’t have to be stressful.

What will your Elf on the Shelf be doing tonight?

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas time!

Related Posts:

An entire month of easy elf on the shelf ideas for Christmas.


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