If you are looking for some quick Elf on the Shelf ideas, then you’ve come to the right place. Elf on the Shelf can start off so innocently and easily but come mid-month you’re ready for the Elf to disappear already.
***** List updated with new elf on the shelf ideas 2023 *****
We’ve compiled lots of super easy Elf on the Shelf ideas with household items for you to choose from. No longer do you need to spend hours agonizing over what your Elf could do next. We’ve got you covered with more ideas than you’ll need. You can get your Elf ready in minutes.
If you need some last-minute ideas that are quick and easy, then read on. These ideas typically don’t need a lot of time or energy or even expensive props. We’ve also got links to free printable ideas as well.
Save this post to Pinterest now so that you’re ready for December with some easy elf ideas!
The Elf can do fun things at home with what you have, and your kids will love it. All of these ideas are quick to prepare so that you can get to bed too.
(This post probably contains affiliate links. See the disclosure policy for more information. You can find the disclosure policy here.)
Quick Elf on the Shelf Ideas
There are over 100 quick and easy elf on the shelf ideas here so you can find the ones you think will work for your family and write them down.
Jot a few ideas down (stealth-mode) in your diary or phone notepad and you’ll be set for those nights where you need a quick idea super fast.
Don’t miss our free Elf on the Shelf calendar ideas – You’ll love these free Elf antics planners.
Don’t miss our favorite ideas at the end of the article: Elf-sized takeaway bags (‘Elf-eats’), Elf-sized shopping boxes (‘Elf-azon’) and Elf-sized fast food that you can easily print at home and make tonight.
Elf Ideas 2023
- Letters from Elf on the Shelf (download these free Elf on the Shelf letterheads for all of your Elf notes during December).
- Elf ball pitt with M&M’s in a jar
- Elf Airways: flying in on a paper plane into the Christmas tree.
- Riding your pet. Attached to your pet’s collar for a fun ride.
- The magic grater. Grating crayons to become M&M’s. See photo below.
- Reading a book.
- Smartie pants! Adding Smarties to clean underpants as a joke.
- Bringing an Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt game to play. (Check out our 6 free printable games!)
- Scribbling on photo frame with dry-erase marker.
- Find the hidden treat game. Grab a free printable Elf sign for this game.
- Making a gingerbread house from bread and ground ginger (see below).
- Doing a puzzle.
- Making banana bread
- Fun activity sheet – Elf on the Shelf activities – free printables
- Hanging out with Barbie.
- Making a fidget with bread and smarties.
- Elf on the Shelf eating some sneaky take-out (that the kids don’t know about!)
- Floating in a toy boat in bath.
- Ironing the crinkles out of potato chips.
- Elf Twister – Download it for FREE.
- Making a ‘sponge cake’ from a sponge and edible sprinkles (see below)
- Hanging from the ceiling fan.
- Elf bringing a fun Christmas tree game. (See below). Find free printable elf on the shelf games.
- Chilling in the freezer – check out these super-cute sweaters.
- Wearing headphones and listening to music.
- Grating upset potatoes to make potato chips.
- With an elf-size phone ringing Santa.
- Drawing a Christmas picture.
- Pretending to be a Pokemon card. See the fun printable right here.
- Bringing an elf-themed Christmas decoration as a new family tradition.
- Taped to the wall playing: The Floor is Lava. (See below). Find free printable elf sign: the floor is lava right here.
- Hiding in the Christmas tree.
- Elf’s legs have grown with wrapping paper. (See below)
- Bringing a permission letter from Santa to open one present early. See permission letter: Elf on the Shelf free printables.
- Elf hiding in a Christmas decoration (see photo) – find elf Christmas tree accessory here.
- Taking all the decorations off the Christmas tree. (If you need to re-do the decorations, this is a good one!)
- Unwrapping a present to take a peek (naughty Elf!)
- Playing a board game – Print this free invitation to play a game with your Elf in this Elf on the Shelf printables guide.
- Joking around with googly eyes. He’s watching them!
- Disguised as a hot dog.
- Pretending to fish from your family fish tank. (Use a straw and string for fishing rod).
- Hiding in a jar with a ‘help’ sign.
- Doing some Christmas coloring in.
- Making ‘snow angels’ in sprinkles – use a baking tray so there’s less mess!
- Wrapped up under the tree – peeking out from the wrapping paper.
- Playing Lego – make your child’s name or a Christmas tree with the tiny blocks.
- Arriving a special envelope from the North Pole (see below). See elf envelope costume here.
Quick Elf Ideas
- Elf caught playing Jenga.
- Coloring in Christmas cards – grab some free printable cards.
- Making a snow flake with q tips.
- It’s the busiest time of the year. Elf with phone, laptop and ipad props – find them here – talking to Santa.
- Drinking orange juice with a straw in sticking into the orange.
- Making a play dough Christmas tree.
- Playing noughts and crosses with a teddy bear.
- Hiding in the cutlery drawer.
- Sticky situation: covered in tiny stickers.
- Sleeping in a face mask ‘hammock’.
- Movie night: Watching movies with popcorn.
- Drawing faces on fruit with a sharpie.
- Tied up by Lego minifigures with ribbon.
- Create an Elf matchbox car wash with cars and a sponge.
- Hiding with the fruit bowl in a banana costume. (See below). See elf banana costume right here.
- Elf filling Oreos with white toothpaste.
- Elf legs sticking out from inside the couch. Finding coins and trinkets behind the cushions.
- Elf wars with Nerf gun, and bullets scattered.
The elf could bring a special Elf on the Shelf code breaker activity sheet. Download the free Elf on the Shelf printable for this activity.
- Playing in front loader washing machine taped to the sides with other toys a la amusement park ride.
- Hiding in a gingerbread man cookie (see below) – See elf gingerbread accessory here.
- Snowball fight with crumpled up paper.
- Drawing an elfie self portrait.
- Cooking candy in a frying pan.
- Slumber Party: Sleeping bag ‘socks’ with Barbie and friends or action hero figurines.
- Silly string explosion.
- Hiding in a pizza box (or a pizza costume!) See picture below. – See elf pizza costume right here.
- Astronaut Elf: covered in tin foil next to a toy rocket or hang them from the ceiling.
- With an elf-sized basketball / football / soccer ball or baseball. Find them here.
- Rock climbing on a wall covered with mini post-it notes.
- With a hand-drawn plan of the house with an X marks the spot for a treasure hunt.
- Drinking an Elf-bucks frappuccino – elf-sized. See them here.
Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- An elf sandwich – hiding between two pieces of bread on a plate.
- Even better: Elf hiding in fairy bread. (Bread with butter and colorful sprinkles)
- Hiding in Pringles tin.
- Playing Connect 4.
- Drinking maple syrup or chocolate syrup with a straw.
- Eating cereal and making a big mess.
- Doing karate. See elf outfit right here.
- Writing a Christmas card.
- Covered in loom bands.
- Hanging in wardrobe on a clothes hanger.
- Writing a letter to Santa. Tip: use this free Elf on the Shelf letterhead.
- Delivering a blank template for Elf letters to Santa. Elf delivers wish-list letter to Santa by overnight ‘elf mail’. (See letters below).
- Delivering a letter from Santa. Grab some of our free printable from the desk of Santa Claus letter ideas.
- Giving Barbie a haircut.
- Elf and Barbie wearing a ‘get along’ shirt. (See picture below). Find elf get along shirts right here.
- Typing a letter on the laptop.
- Wearing a mask. Find lots of Elf size masks here.
- Making a car from a tissue box.
- Wearing super hero gear. You can find some tiny super hero capes and accessories here.
- Getting ready to bake cookies.
- Passed out on plate from eating too many cookies / candy.
- Sitting on top of a mountain of candy.
- Going on a roadtrip? Hide elf inside your car with one of our free printable Elf on the Shelf games for roadtrips. (See below)
- Playing golf with upside down candy cane and mini marshmallows.
- Sleeping in a tissue box with tissue as a sheet.
- Sitting in a microwave with exploded popcorn.
- Or writing child’s name in popcorn.
- Elf prank: Covering everyone’s shoes in alfoil.
- Riding around in a remote control car or Barbie car.
- Weightlifting with two marshmallows stuck to the ends of a toothpick.
- Spelling out a message with mini marshmallows or candy.
Simple Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Trying on Barbie’s shoes / clothes.
- Wrestling a super hero figurine.
- Rolling around the house in a toilet roll leaving a toilet paper trail.
- Hiding in egg carton (draw silly faces on the eggs with a marker). See below.
- Wrapped in a tortilla for Taco Tuesday.
- Elf sitting in driver seat of car…ready to go!
- Taking a selfie with a phone.
- Giving permission to eat candy for breakfast. See magic letter below. Grab the free printable elf letter for your elf.
- Sleeping in a bra “hammock”.
- Posing with an X-Box controller.
- Driving a ‘shoe’ train with family members shoes as carriages.
- Hiding in a pot plant or swinging from the leaves Tarzan-style.
Quick Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas
- Hiding in a pack of M&M’s head first.
- Making a smily face with toothpaste on the sink.
- Make a bubble bath for elf in the sink with cotton wool balls.
- Hanging from the clothesline.
- Replacing stockings with underwear – hang them on the mantel.
- Wrapping the Christmas tree in toilet paper.
- Replacing the toilet roll with Christmas wrapping paper.
- Covering the outside of the toilet with Christmas lights.
- Oops, the elf hurt himself and is covered in bandaids. Poor Elf!
- Writing their name with tinsel on the floor.
- Drawing snowman faces on toilet paper.
- Fishing for goldfish crackers in a bowl of water.
- Toasting marshmallows over a candle with Barbie.
- Cuddling their child/children and take a photo for evidence. – Great idea for the last night before they leave.
- Photocopying themselves still stuck in the printer.
Elf on a Shelf Ideas
- Getting Elf-Eats – You’ll love these elf-sized food delivery bags you can print at home at make tonight. Find them here.
- Elf with his ‘Elfazon’ boxes. You HAVE to see these super cute elf-sized shopping boxes that you can print at home. Find them here.
- Or make your own life-size ‘Elfazon’ delivery box for Elf to arrive in.
- Eating Elf-size fast food. Check out the cutest miniature fast food meal prop that you can print at home. Find it right here.
Elf on the Shelf Quick Ideas
Bonus quick idea if you forgot to move the elf. Hide them in another room, with a:
- Time out sign in corner and have the elf face the wall.
- Quarantine Elf – a trending idea for 2020/2021/2022.
Here are some more fun ideas for Elf on the Shelf this year. There are so many printables and props available right here to make your Elf super fun and make the whole process SUPER EASY for you.
I hope these fast Elf on the Shelf ideas are helpful for those nights where you need some quick inspiration. Let me know in the comments if you think I should add any other simple and quick Elf on shelf ideas. Enjoy your December!
Don’t miss our other Elf on the Shelf guides below with free printables.
Elf on the Shelf Arrival Ideas – includes FREE PRINTABLES
Elf on the Shelf Printables – 100% FREE
Elf on the Shelf Letter and Letterhead – 100% FREE
Elf on the Shelf Ideas – Full list of Elf on the Shelf FREE PRINTABLES
Elf on the Shelf Printable Notes – 72 Free Printable Notes for your Elf to bring.
Elf on the Shelf Free Printables – Activity Sheets for your elf to leave behind – 100% FREE
Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt – 6 printable games 100% FREE
Elf on the Shelf Jokes – includes free printables for any easy elf prop.
Elf on Strike – Free printables
Elf on the Shelf Games for a Roadtrip. – 100% FREE
Elf on the Shelf Letters to Santa – 100% FREE
Elf Twister – FREE Printable – 100% FREE
Christmas Cards to Color – Free printable cards to color in. – 100% FREE
Free Printable Christmas Games – fun Christmas games for adults and kids
Please pin these quick and easy elf on shelf ideas for later – so that you can find us when you need us!
Old images below as we now have over 100 easy elf ideas last minute for you now!
Looking for a quick Elf on the Shelf idea with some fun props? You won’t be stuck for great ideas for your Elf on the Shelf this year. There are so many printables and props available right here to make your Elf super fun and make the whole process SUPER EASY for you.