15 Easy Ideas for Elf on the Shelf in your Classroom

Every year, we have a special visitor in my classroom in December- Elf on the Shelf! December is a crazy month, so I will do any extra incentives that help my student's behavior. I won't go into detail of why I love the Elf so much, but pretty much it, 1. Is always watching and 2. Reports to Santa every night, so that means my students are very intent on making good choices to impress our Elf.
Having an Elf in your classroom is one EXTRA thing you have to do before you leave/arrive in the morning, but if you plan ahead, it does make it so much easier! All these ideas are either FREE and include things in your classroom or have a very minimal cost (like Target Dollar Spot pencils or a box of candy canes) I use this handy Elf calendar to "schedule" my Elf's creative hiding spots or mischievous doings. I even have a sample calendar you can look at for more ideas!

Click the picture to grab your FREE planning calendar. 

Here are 15 easy ideas to use the Elf in your classroom:
1. Put a big bow on the Elf and "camouflage" in a Christmas tree. This is how our Elf arrived to our classroom this year. My students didn't find it for over an hour!

2. Have the Elf put up Christmas lights in your classroom. The Elf gets tangled up in the lights while he's putting them up!

3. The Elf gets into your candy stash! We have a Kiss Your Brain jar and the Elf must've been a little chocolate hungry. I even smeared a little chocolate on his cheeks and my students thought this was the funniest thing ever. 

4. When your students have an awesome day and receive lots of great reports from specials, I always have a little something saved up for them. I leave it on their desk with a "Great job" type of note from Santa or the Elf. I usually find something small at the Target Dollar Spot. One year, they have Elf on the Shelf erasers, which were perfect! You could also do a piece of candy or a fun reward coupon to make it free.

5. The Elf leaves a note using magnetic letters. This is another way to announce a fun reward, or you can write a note from the Elf.

6. The Elf propels down from the ceiling! I made a paper chain, but you could also use ribbon, twine, string, yarn, or even toilet paper. Just be sure to tape him up there or else he might free fall in the middle of your lesson!

7. Uh-oh, someone touched the Elf! He had a rough flight back from the North Pole, hence all the band-aids and "DO NOT DISTURB" sign. This inevitably happens every year, because a curious or handsy student just has to touch the Elf. Usually this happens once and no one else dares to touch the Elf.

Here's two ideas you can do separately or together! 
8. The Elf makes a "snow angel" out of marshmallows. 
9. The Elf brings supplies for hot chocolate! This is usually what I do on our last day with the Elf. We watch The Polar Express and drink our hot chocolate that our Elf so graciously brought my students for their wonderful behavior.

10. Another great "hiding place" for the Elf! Make a big paper snowflake and hide him behind it. I've also seen teachers have the Elf decorate the classroom with paper snowflakes, so if you have time, go for that!

11. Here's a wonderful idea from Kristen at Kissing Our Brains in K. Have the Elf play in the STEM bins! If you don't have STEM bins, you could always have the Elf playing with the math manipulative bins. Follow her on Instagram here for even more Elf on the Shelf ideas!

12. The Elf brings a "new" book to read! It doesn't have to be new or it could even be a book you buy from your Scholastic rewards. I love having the Elf get my students excited about reading new books! (Idea from Raining Hot Coupons)

13. The Elf scales the window, or whiteboard, or wall using stick on bows! This is a new idea that I added to my Elf on the Shelf calendar for this year. (Idea uploaded on Pinterest here)

14. The Elf makes Christmas decorations using Play-Doh. This is another last minute, easy idea for the Elf. (Idea uploaded on Pinterest here)

15. The Elf has a candy cane scavenger hunt! Hide candy canes all around your classroom and have your students find them. Once they find one, they get to eat it or take it home. You could also attach a letter/word to each candy cane and have the students unscramble for a special message! (Idea from Skinny Mom)

Need more ideas?

Follow my Pinterest board: "Elf on the Shelf" for even more fun ideas to try in your classroom!

Follow me on Instagram or using the hashtag #sweetforkindergartenelf for even more ideas!