101 Elf on the Shelf Ideas for When Your Brain Is Completely Elfed Out

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The Elf on the Shelf is a new family tradition that has become well loved by all. Kids love the fun surprises that await them each day, and parents love Santa's spy reminding kids to stay on their best behavior. If you're looking for some elvish inspiration, then look no further. We've scoured the internet and collected the very best Elf on the Shelf ideas!

1. Baking Fiasco: If you don't have plans for your elf to roll around in a bunch of flour, you might want to rethink your plans. The kids will love waking up and seeing their elf concocting some fun Christmas treats! Plus, it's an awesome excuse to make some cookies or cupcakes. Try our Skinny Sugar Cookies or Skinny Eggnog Cupcakes!

elf on the shelf cupcakes and cookies

2. Sprinkle Overload: There's no such thing as too much sugar for elves! Tonight's mischievous act involves sprinkle angels!

elf on the shelf sprinkles

3. Disconnecting to Reconnect: This is a great setup before a nice family brunch! Get the whole family to participate and reconnect over a a delicious and skinny breakfast. (via Elf on the Shelf)

Disconnect To Reconnect elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

4. Eating Cookies: Your elf ate all of the cookies! Set him up for this silly scenario and then surprise your kids with a batch of these Skinny Sugar Cookies to replace the ones the elf ate. (via Elf on the Shelf)

cookies elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

>> Whip up these Banana Pudding Cookies for you and the family to enjoy!

5. Being Part of The Family: Your elf wants to be considered one of the family! He put a little self-portrait into your family photos. (via Elf on the Shelf)

Part Of The Family elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

6. In a Secret Club House: This requires a little bit of crafting! Put your elves in a Santa-scout only clubhouse to observe the naughty and nice behavior. (via Elf on the Shelf)

clubhouse elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

7. Making a Toilet Paper Snowman: Your elf wants to make a snowman! This is a fun and simple way to set up your elf and decorate your bathroom for the season. (via Elf on the Shelf)

Toilet Paper Snowman elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on the Shelf)

8. Doing Laundry: Use some doll clothes and string to set this scene! Your kids will think it's hilarious, and you may even convince them to help you do some folding later. (via I Heart Nap Time)

laundry elf on the shelf
(Photo: I Heart Nap Time)

9. Interrupting Breakfast: Do your kids have a favorite breakfast cereal? Think of how surprised they'll be when they see their elf poking his head out! (via Huffington Post)

cereal elf on the shelf
(Photo: Huffington Post)

10. Making Coffee: Your elf has decided he doesn't love the taste of coffee... but you can get delicious hot chocolate K-Cups! Treat your kids (and yourself) to a morning mug of hot cocoa. (via Huffington Post)

kcup elf on the shelf
(Photo: Huffington Post)

11. Having a Movie Night: Your elf stayed up waaay past his bed time watching movies! Set him up with the remote and some popcorn for some silly fun. (via I Heart Nap Time)

movie night
(Photo: I Heart Nap Time)

12. Funny Family Photo: How long will it take your kids to notice your elf has turned the family into Rudolph? They'll spend a while searching for this one! (via I Heart Nap Time)

funny family photo elf on the shelf
(Photo: I Heart Nap Time)

13. Doing Chores: Do your kids need a little reminder to clean up after themselves? Maybe their elf can show them how it's done! (via 505 Design)

(Photo: 505 Design)

14. Elf Yoga: We love to encourage kids to get active, so have your elf show them some yoga poses! Now the kids, your elf and Mommy can all follow along with a nice yoga flow! (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed) Not sure where to start? Try this beginner's yoga flow.

elf yoga
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

15. Eating Dog Treats: It looks likes your elf has a bigger sweet tooth than the kids! He couldn't kick his craving and tried to eat dog cookies! (via BuzzFeed)

dog treats elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

>> Check out these homemade dog treat recipes.

16. Using Dad's Shaving Cream: A little boy wants to be just like his dad... and so does your elf! Your little ones will wake up to see him starting his day off the way Dad does. (via BuzzFeed)

(Photo: BuzzFeed)

17. James Bond Elf: Looks like the other toys have gotten jealous of all the attention your elf is getting and tied him up! Can your kids rescue their elf? (via BuzzFeed)

hostage elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

18. Performing on The Voice: Who knew your elf had such a talent for singing? All of the judges will want him to be on their team! (via BuzzFeed)

the voice elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

19. Harry Potter Elf: Have you been reading these beloved books to your kids? Encourage them to read and have some fun with your high-flying elf! (via BuzzFeed)

harry potter elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

20. Connecting Four: This is a simple elf idea! Grab another toy and your set of Connect Four for a last minute, easy cleanup elf setup! (via BuzzFeed)

connect 4 elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

21. Swinging: You can easily make this swing with some string and a toilet paper roll. Hang it right in front of your kids' bedrooms or above the kitchen table! (via BuzzFeed)

swinging elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

22. Fishing: This is a silly surprise for your kids when they go to brush their teeth in the morning. Plus, they'll be extra happy when they see the Goldfish packed in their lunch that day! (via BuzzFeed)

fishing elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

23. Snowball Fight: Use little balls of paper and Legos to set the scene of an epic snowball fight! If you don't mind the mess, you could even sprinkle some flour on the ground for effect! (via BuzzFeed)

snow ball elf on the shelf
(Photo: BuzzFeed)

24. Writing a Letter to Santa: This is a great one because it doesn't require a lot of work! Just open up your laptop or iPad and you'll be ready for the kids. (via Lil Blue Boo)

letter writing elf on the shelf
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

25. Packing the Kids Lunch: We always encourage moms to pack wholesome and nutritious lunches for themselves and the kids. You elf however, seems to have a different idea! (via Lil Blue Boo)

packing lunch
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

26. Doll Clothing Shopping: Put all of those extra doll accessories to use! Your elf wants to go on a shopping spree in Barbie's closet. (via Lil Blue Boo)

doll clothes elf on the shelf
(Photo: Lil Blue Boo)

27. Having a Sack Race: Your elf has challenged the other toys to a friendly race! Who do you think will win? (via Pickle Head Soup)

sack race
(Photo: Pickle Head Soup)

28. Downhill Skiing: Fun and easy, your elf decides to take a little ski trip... down the stairs! You can even use some toilet paper to create a trail of snow. (via Picklehead Soup)

(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

29. Hiding in the Freezer: Where has the elf gone today? He's pigging out on ice cream in the freezer! Maybe if the kids are good today, they'll get some for dessert. (via Picklehead Soup)

freezer elf on the shelf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

>> Speaking of ice cream, this 4-Ingredient Strawberry Banana Ice Cream is a Skinny Mom reader favorite!

30. Taking a Bath: If you have Barbie furniture and some bubble wrap, you can make a great bubble bath for your elf! Who knows, it may even convince your kids that bath time is fun. (via Picklehead Soup)

bath time
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

31. Having a Game Night: Your elf and the other toys stayed up late last night playing some board games. Maybe your kids will want to play too! (via Picklehead Soup)

game night elf on the shelf
(Photo: Picklehead Soup)

32. Swapping Stockings: Your elf played a little trick on the family! He replaced your Christmas stockings with your family's underwear. (via Pop Sugar)

stocking swap elf on the shelf
(Photo: Pop Sugar)

33. Being Foxy: What does the fox say? Your kids were most likely entranced by the very popular viral video "What Does the Fox Say?". Well, so was your elf! (via Pop Sugar)

What Does Elf Say elf on the shelf
(Photo: Pop Sugar)

34. On a Romantic Sleigh Ride: Your elf had a fun night out with Barbie! The two enjoyed a lovely sleigh ride around the living room. If you've got toy horses, (or reindeer) hook them up too! (via Pop Sugar)

Sleigh Ride Elf on the shelf
(Photo: Pop Sugar)

35. Making a List: Mom's grocery list didn't have the sugary goodies your elf wanted! Take a second and jot down a funny list of groceries for your elf to request. (via Pop Sugar)

Making List
(Photo: Pop Sugar)

36. Pulling a Heist: Your elf pulled another prank and got into the jewelry box last night! Luckily, the kids woke up in time to make sure he didn't get away with the goods. (via Pop Sugar)

Jewelry Heist
(Photo: Pop Sugar)

37. Playing Twister: The toys had a fun time last night playing some Twister. Maybe after school today you can get your kids to play too! (via She Knows)

(Photo: She Knows)

38. Taking a Shower: Scrub a dub dub! Your elf just took his morning shower. Think he can convince the kids that bath time is fun? (via She Knows)

(Photo: She Knows)

39. Adding to your Photos: Your elf thought it might be fun to create some additions to your favorite photos. Make them as silly as your can — but use a dry erase marker! (via She Knows)

(Photo: She Knows)

40. Playing Scrabble: Your elf wants to improve his vocabulary! Maybe you can use this as a chance to teach your kids some new words as well. (via She Knows)

(Photo: She Knows)

41. Writing a Letter: If your kids have been especially good (or bad), your elf may want to write them a letter and let them know! Santa will want to hear also. (via She Knows)

letter elf on the shelf
(Photo: She Knows)

42. Eating Chocolate Chips: Elves are notorious for their love of sweets — probably not unlike your kids! Last night your elf decided to treat himself to some chocolate chips. (via She Knows)

chocolate chips
(Photo: She Knows)

>> Recipe: Skinny Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Raspberries

43. Sleeping In: Remind the kids that they need to stick to their bedtime or else their elf won't get any sleep either! (via Raining Hot Coupons)

sleeping in
(Photo: Raining Hot Coupons)

44. Hiding Ornaments: Your elf hid some of the ornaments from the Christmas tree! Do you think the kids can find them all? (via Simple as That)

ornaments elf on the shelf
(Photo: Simple as That)

45. Robbing the Piggy Bank: Forget stealing cookies from the cookie jar! Your elf took your kids' change! Maybe he's holding it ransom for good behavior? (Simple as That)

piggy bank
(Photo: Simple as That)

46. Setting a Baby Trap: Your elves are playing a little trick on your little one! Do you think he'll fall for it? (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

baby trap
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

>> Recipe: 11 Baby Food Recipes for Your Baby to Smash All Over His Face

47. Starting a Garden: This is a two-part setup! On day one, your elves will plant a little surprise in a small pot. What will happen tomorrow? (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

garden 1 elf on the shelf
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

48. Finishing a Garden: They've waited all day and their seeds have grown into tasty candy canes that your kids can now enjoy. Patience pays off! (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

garden 2 elf on the shelf
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

49. Rolling up in Ribbon: This is an easy setup for some last-minute elfing! Your elves can have some silly fun with an easy cleanup for you and Dad! (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

ribbon roll elf on the shelf
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

50. Sledding: You may not want to encourage your kids to slide down the bannisters, but your elves can't be stopped! Make your own little sled and tape it to the railings for some fun! (via Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

sledding elf on the shelf
(Photo: Instagram @TheHowardsGotElfed)

51. Hanging with the Ninja Turtles: If your child has action figures they love, you can have some fun by setting your elf up with them! Who doesn't love a crime-fighting elf? (via Your Modern Family)

ninja turtles
(Photo: Your Modern Family)

52. Taking a Trip to Space: With this fun setup, your elf can go on a space adventure! There's a free printable to make it simple, but you could make your own with construction paper. (via Sweet Paper Trail)

(Photo: Sweet Paper Trail)

53. Selling Ice Cream: Your elf opened up shop overnight! Maybe if your kids are good today, they'll get to have some for dessert! You can download it for free to make it easy. (via Sweet Paper Trail)

ice cream stand
(Photo: Sweet Paper Trail)

54. Reminding the Kids of Bathroom Habits: If your kids sometimes forget to flush or wash their hands, your elf can be the one to remind them! (via Living Locurto)

flush wash elf on the shelf
(Photo: Living Locurt)

>> Read more: How to Make Handwashing Fun

55. Trapping the Kids: Your elf thought it'd be funny to trap the kids in their rooms! They'll have fun ripping up the streamers to escape. (via Living Locurto)

trapping kids
(Photo: Living Locurto)

56. Leading Bible Study: Your elf knows the true meaning of Christmas! He can lead a Bible study to other toys, or have him read any of your kids' favorite Christmas books! (via Nelly Cole)

bible study elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

57. Celebrating a Birthday: If you or any other family member has a December birthday, they know what it's like to get overshadowed by the other holidays! Your elf wants to make sure they have a special day. (via Nelly Cole)

birthday elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

58. Playing in the Christmas Lights: Your elf got bored while everyone was asleep so he decided to play around in the decor! (via Nelly Cole)

christmas lights
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

59. Making a Treehouse: Your elf thought the Christmas tree was the perfect spot for his new fort! He can definitely monitor the kid's behavior form there! (via Nelly Cole)

lego treehouse elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

60. Swapping out the Salt: Your tricky elf thought it'd be funny to swap out your salt with sugar. Hopefully the kids can catch him in time... or else dinner will be interesting! (via Nelly Cole)

salt sugar swap elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

>> OK, so sugar isn't a good option either, but here's why you should cut excess salt from your diet.

61. TPing the Tree: What a prankster! Your elf got rowdy late last night and tried to blame it on the kids! Do you think he'll get away with it? (via Nelly Cole)

TP tree elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

62. Making Green Eggs and Ham: Your elf though he could treat your kids to a Seuss-themed breakfast! Think your kids will eat it? (via Nelly Cole)

green eggs and ham elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

63. Reading His Book: Your elf was bragging to the other toys about how famous he is! This is a great way to remind the kids just why he's visiting this month. (via Nelly Cole)

reading elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

64. Sorting Laundry: Maybe he was trying to help out the parents by sorting laundry... or maybe he was trying to sneak a red into the white load so Dad would have to wear pink to work! (via Nelly Cole)

laundry elf on the shelf
(Photo: Nelly Cole)

>> Read more: Household Hacks: Dryer Sheets

65. Elf on Strike: Your elf is there to monitor the naughty and nice list, so when the kids are bad, he won't be doing anything fun that night! (via Sherri Davis)

elf on strike
(Photo: Sherri Davis)

66. Watching the Family: Don't let your kids forget that your elf is watching! Here's a fun and silly way to remind them. (via Raining Hot Coupons)

(Photo: Raining Hot Coupons)

67. Potty Reminder: This setup uses some bathroom humor — literally! It's a funny way to remind your kids to go potty before you leave the house! (via Vitamin Ha)

potty reminder elf on the shelf
(Photo: Vitamin Ha)

68. Making Donut Snowmen: Your elf loves sugary things so he made snowmen out of some donuts! Maybe he'll even leave a note giving the kids permission to eat them for breakfast. (via Vitamin Ha)

donut snowmen
(Photo: Vitamin Ha)

69. Practicing Christmas Carols: Your elf has Christmas cheer and wants to sing it loud for all to hear! This may be a good way to encourage your kids to practice their piano skills as well. (via Life Buzz)

christmas carols elf on the shelf
(Photo: Life Buzz)

70. Coloring a Picture: Print off a holiday-themed coloring page or start a page in a coloring book you already have and let your kids finish it! (via Life with My Littles)

coloring elf on the shelf
(Photo: Like with My Little)

71. Playing Uno: Your elf got into a game of Uno... but he must have stacked the deck! He's got all the wild cards! (via Snapshots of My Life)

uno elf on the shelf
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

72. Taking a Peek at Gifts: There are some gifts under the tree and your kids aren't the only ones who are excited! Your elf tried to sneak a little peek last night. (via Snapshots of My Life)

opening presents
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

73. Sitting in the Manger: Your elf wanted to spend the evening hanging out with baby Jesus. This is a great way to remind the kids why you celebrate Christmas. (via Snapshots of My Life)

(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

74. Creating a Snowman: Your elf grabbed some leftover icing and drew himself a snowman! Here's a great way to get in the season if you live in a place without real snow! (via Snapshots of My Life)

snowman icing elf on the shelf
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

75. Craving Cookies: Your elf would just love if you and the kids could make him some cookies. We bet the kids would love it too! (via Snapshots of My Life)

cookies please
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

76. Desperate for Cookies: You didn't make any cookies for your elf after his first request and now he's threatening to put both you AND the kids on the naughty list! Better whip up this tasty recipe! (via Snapshots of My Life)

COOKIES elf on the shelf
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

77. Hiding in The Fridge: Your kids will have a hard time finding your elf when they wake up! Make sure to wrap him in a hand towel so he doesn't get cold while he waits. (via Snap Shots of My Life)

Hiding in the fridge
(Photo: Snap Shots of My Life)

78. Rocking Out: This is a great way to get creative! You can make your own drum set with soup cans and rubber bands! (via Frugal Coupon Living)

drumming elf on the shelf
(Photo: Frugal Coupon Living)

79. Getting Wrapped Up: Your elf got into the wrapping paper! He's made himself a fun little costume to wear for the rest of day. Let's just hope he didn't waste all your tape. (via Frugal Coupon Living)

all wrapped up
(Photo: Frugal Coupon Living)

80. Hiding Candy Canes: For a little morning fun, have your kids find some hidden candy canes! You can make them as difficult or as easy as you'd like. (via I Heart Nap Time)

hidden candy cane elf on the shelf
(Photo: I Heart Nap Time)

81. Getting Pumped for Christmas: See what we did there? Your kids see you working out, and now their elf. It's a great way to encourage a healthy lifestyle. (via Elf On The Shelf)

Pumped for Christmas elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on The Shelf)

>> Here's an awesome workout you can do with your kids:

82. Lounging in the Poinsettias: The only plant that has more Christmas cheer than a poinsettia is a Christmas tree itself. Your elf made himself a cozy spot in these last night! (via Elf on The Shelf)

(Photo: Elf on The Shelf)

83. Getting Minioned: Your elf loves minions just as much as your kids do! And we'd wager that they're much more likely to eat some fruit if they look like this! (via Fancy Shanty)

minion elf on the shelf
(Photo: Fancy Shanty)

84. Swimming with the Fishes: Your pet fish was getting a little jealous of all the attention your elf was getting, so he hung out with him last night! (via WDEA)

fish bowl
(Photo: WDEA)

85. Writing in Flour: It's a bit messy, but it's a lot of fun! Getting a note from the elf is always a great surprise to wake up to. (via Snapshots of My Life)

flour writing
(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

86. Practicing Math: Your elf wants to test the kids' math skills! This is a great way to get their gears turning before they head off to school. (via Elf on The Shelf)

math elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on The Shelf)

87. Riding the Cat: Would your cat tolerate both a santa suit and an elf? Probably not. But if she does, this will make for a great elf setup! (via Sellabit Mum)

riding the cat
(Photo: Sellabit Mum)

>> Here's how your cat can make you and your kids healthier.

88. Building a Fort: Your elf made a fun little fort for the kids to enjoy! Be sure to include a sign allowing entrance only to kids on the nice list! (via Snapshots of My Life)

(Photo: Snapshots of My Life)

89. Playing Hide and Seek: Leave a note and see if your kids can track down the elf! Put him in the toy bin or amongst an array of stuffed animals! (via Elf on the Shelf)

hide and seek elf on the shelf
(Photo: Elf on The Shelf)

90. Sneaking into the Candy Jar: This is a simple one for parents, but great for kids! Your elf's sweet tooth got the best of him and he decided to check out the candy.... but he got stuck! (via Huffington Post)

candy jar elf on the shelf
(Photo: Huffington Post)

91. Making Elf Milk: This is really fun for kids! They'll be shocked when you pour milk over their morning cereal and it's been turned red or green like elf milk. (via Huffington Post)

elf milk
(Photo: Huffington Post)

92. Being Spider-Elf: If your son or daughter loves super heroes, then they'll love seeing their elf pulling a Spider-Man! (via Lemons & Laughs)

(Photo: Lemons & Laughs)

93. Spending a Day at the Pool: Compared to the North Pole, your house is as hot as the beach! Your elf decided to lounge by the pool last night. (via Lemons & Laughs)

pool elf on the shelf
(Photo: Lemons and Laughs)

94. Eating the Gingerbread House: If your gingerbread house collapses on its own, as they tend to do, then take advantage! Your elf would love to snack on it. (via Lemons & Laugh)

eating ginger bread
(Photo: Lemons and Laughs)

95. Roasting Marshmallows: Use leftover candles from your jack-o-lanterns to make an elf-sized campfire! You can even use a Barbie or other toys to join him. (via Lemons & Laughs)

roasting marshmallows elf on the shelf