Elf on the Shelf…it started as Santa’s little spy who sat on a shelf to keep an eye on children and report to Santa. But it soon morphed into a playful, naughty and sometimes kind elf. Elves have also been given important spokesperson jobs such as Alfie the Elf who posts on Facebook about life being disabled.
Love it or hate it, the elf craze is upon us again. In our household we do it a little different. I don’t use it as a spy, basically because J is still learning the difference between when he’s ‘naughty’ and when he’s having a meltdown or autistic based difficulties. I don’t want him to feel pressured into hiding when he’s struggling, in fear of Santa’s wrath. So, Elvis is a bit of handful and so Father Christmas asks us to look after him every year in the run up to Christmas.
1. The Arrival
Elvis arrives on 1st December with a magical door, advent calendar and letter from the man in red. He has fun, gets up to mischief and leaves challenges for J to complete.
2. The Departure
Then on 24th December he goes back to the North Pole, ready to help load the sleigh. Father Christmas leaves us a special thank you present – our Christmas Eve box (this is last years box, I’ll share our new one soon).
I know that thinking of ideas everyday can be challenging so here’s more ideas that we have done in past years that were lots of fun…
3. Sensory Play
Elvis made some pretend snow and we had fun filling and pouring the bowl with them, burying and finding the numbers and exploring the texture. You can do this with anything white eg: cornflour, Gelli-snow, cotton wool, white pompoms etc. Add things from your kitchen such a spoons, bowls, fridge magnets etc to explore with.
4. Star Wars battle
Not everyday needs to be an activity. Sometimes the toys have their own adventures and we just see the aftermath in the morning. We caught Elvis in a battle against the dark side.
5. Christmas Crafts
J isn’t a fun of crafts so I thought I’d see if Elvis could persuade him. We made some Christmas cards and pictures to send to family.
6. Christmas Books
I always keep back winter/Christmas books back so that each year it’s exciting to have new books to read. Elvis decided to introduce them to us by building a fort.
7. Fun with toys
Last year J used to get his cars out everyday so Elvis thought he’d be helpful and set them up ready for him. J thought it hilarious that Elvis spelt his name. You could always use this as a starter point for a phonics game and see if there’s other names and words that the children can make up.
8. Cheeky antics
Sometimes we have to sort out the mess that Elvis creates. I try to do simple things such as taking off decorations from the tree. I’ve seen others who have toilet papered the house, thrown flour all over the kitchen (and left Elf size foot prints) and tipped boxes of toys.
9. Hostage Situation
This is another one where there isn’t anything for us to ‘do’ but it’s fun to come down in the morning to see what’s happened. Elvis was held hostage by Loki so the Avengers had to come to rescue him.
10. Include special days
Obviously Father Christmas knows everything. So Elvis knew it was J’s birthday (yep, he’s a December baby). We were off to the arcades to play so Elvis left him a £1 to spend on something fun. Maybe if your child had a great day at school the Elf could leave a special treat like a golden chocolate coin? Or if they did something new at home then Elvis can celebrate with you?
11. More Books
This was a sweet one. Elvis was teaching the teddies about the story behind Christmas (the Christian version anyway). We read the book for our bedtime story that night.
12. Even Elves get Hungry
We came down to find Elvis had made himself breakfast. We used the play food and it actually encourage J to play with the kitchen afterwards. I’ve seen other make ‘Elf doughnuts’ using Cheerios, the elf sets up real breakfast for everyone and elf making treat breakfasts involving lots of chocolate.
13. Letting the Dinosaurs Loose
Much to Andy’s disappointment, Elvis decided to let the dinosaur loose! Set ups like this are great if you have toys your child doesn’t play with that often because it gets them interested in playing with them again.
Don’t forget that some Children’s Centre’s have Toy Libraries so if you want to have fun exploring new toys for free then have a google to see what’s about.
14. Lego Challenge
This is a simple maths based challenge that focus on shape and spatial awareness. It’s great to set up these little activities especially if there’s a skill that you’d like to work on at home.
15. Snowball Fight
Snowballs are easy to make – just use pompoms, scrunched up paper, old white material cut up…or get messier and buy fake snow! Nothing beats an indoor snowball fight.
16. Team Meeting
Are they having a meeting or is it register time? It would be interesting to find out what Elvis has been writing down.
17. Time for an ‘Elfie
I love this book. We brought it from The Works last Christmas. I paired it up with camera. When J turned it on we found a lot of selfies that the elf had taken over night.
18. Maths time
This was another set up aimed to encourage J to then play and explore with the toy afterwards. We had fun looking through the numerals and guessing how many were on each side.
19. Arts and Crafts
The elf can set up fun activities to explore. We used cookie cutters to make prints but you could set up a baking activity, play dough session or use them as stencils. Have a nosey in your cupboards and drawers and you can find lots of stuff to use for Elf on the Shelf without spending extra money.
20. Another hostage situation
Elvis was caught by the dark side again. J did love these set ups and would run down the stairs to try and find where Elvis was that morning. Again, I just used toys we already had in the house.
There are hundreds and hundreds of ideas of Pinterest ranging from spectacular to last minute. I’ve made a board of some of my favourites which I’ll keep adding to over December so feel free to have a nosey and follow the board.
I’m also planning on showing you what we’re up to this year across all my social media accounts so make sure to follow Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (turn notifications on for December so you don’t miss any posts).
Are you doing Elf on a Shelf? How do you do it in your home? I’d love to know more x