8 Actually Easy Elf on The Shelf Ideas For The Busy Family This Christmas

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 12, 2023

December is about to be upon us and to parents of toddlers and young children everywhere which means one thing, it’s time for the elf on the shelf to make a reappearance. Parents everywhere are most likely groaning as they read this article because let’s face it, elf on the shelf can be a huge time sucker during an already busy time of the year.

It can be so much work after our busy days to make sure that we don’t forget to rearrange the elf and that, most importantly, our kids haven’t seen us rearrange the elf. But, if you are someone who is weary of using all your Christmas energy not wrapping presents or baking Christmas cookies but on elf on the shelf, you have come to the right place. We are giving you our favorite simple elf on the shelf ideas to help make your December run a little more smoothly.

Floor Has Turned to Lava


For this easy elf on the shelf idea, take a blank piece of paper, color it red and write the words the floor is lava above it. Then simply sit or if you are feeling practically ambitious and your walls won’t be damaged, tape your elves above the sign. The best part about this is that your kids can easily join in on this game with their favorite elves.

Tied Up Action Figures


For this trick, you just tape together a pair of your kids' favorite action figurines or Barbie dolls and then seat your mischievous elf in front of them. This is sure to delight the children to know that their favorite elf, knows what their favorite toys are and can keep them from getting new toys if they don't behave.

Stuck In The Blinds


If you have blinds on any window in your house, then this easy elf on a shelf idea is perfect for you. Stick your little friend in between the blinds, and then write a cute note like the one included in the picture above. 

Drawing on Bananas


For the more artistic parents of us out there, this elf on the shelf idea is for you. Simply take a sharpie of any color and draw faces on your bananas. Try to be creative and think of some characters your children love. Our elf above chose the minions, but other good ideas include Frozen characters, Disney princesses, and trolls. Simply stick the sharpie in your little friend's hand, place him beside the banana, and watch your children be amazed by what they see. 

Toilet Paper Unrolled


For this easy idea, stick your elf on top of the toilet paper roll and then unroll it a couple of inches until it is touching the ground. If you want to make it a little fancier you can have the toilet paper cut into different shapes or have fun phrases about going to the bathroom written on the toilet paper your elf unrolled.

Riding an Apple Caterpillar 

Take a handful of apples of any size or flavor, and put them together to make a big caterpillar. Then sit your elf on top of the apples like he is riding the caterpillar. For an extra special touch add eyes to the front apple and sticks on the sides to make antennas.

Spilled Toothpaste


Grab a small toothpaste tube or roll up part of the one you have in use, and stick in between the arms of your elf. Make sure that you squeeze a little of the toothpaste out so that it dries on the sink, all without getting it on your elf of course.

Candy Cane Jamboree


If you want an activity that will keep your kids busy in the morning, this candy cane elf on the shelf idea is for you. Buy a box of candy canes from your grocery store and then hide them throughout your house. Sit your elf on the empty candy cane box with a note asking your children to find the candy canes. We are sure that no high jinx will ensue.

We hope that these 8 easy ideas can help you get started with your elf on the shelf activities this Christmas. Have some elf on the shelf ideas that we forgot? Make sure that you let us know in the comments below!

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