I'm sure any mum or dad who chooses to partake in the Elf tradition has been there.

You head to bed, weary after a long day. As you hit the soft pillow, you close your tired eyes and wait for a peaceful slumber to overcome you.

All of a sudden your eyes shoot open in a panic as you realised you've forgotten to move the bl**dy Elf on the Shelf.


Will the kids even notice?’ you ask yourself.


This happened to me on more than one occasion last year. By the time it got to the 8th December, I wished I had never started the Elfing tradition.

Then came the quick late night Google session, trying frantically to find an easy, fun idea that would only take seconds to put together with minimal (or no) props.

That situation was the inspiration for this article.

I have put together 40 super easy Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers.

So easy that you might even be able to stay in bed and set them up in the morning before the kids wake up. But not if you have my kids, who insist on waking up at the crack of dawn each day. I haven’t had to set an alarm in 4 years.

Here we go!

Or, if you prefer to watch rather than read, take a look at the video below.

Lets Get Cereal

How cool is this? You could use any cereal box, or any box in the pantry really. Take any cereal box, cut a hole, and shove the elves head through. Hey presto.

easy elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers 


All Aboard the Shoe Shoe Train

I had great fun with this one last year. Luckily for us, we always have random shoes and toys laying around our house so this one was easy.

easy elf on the shelf toddler


The Miley

You'll never look at your Elf the same way again.



He Shoots, He Scores

Have a basketball ring in your home? Pretend Mr Elf has been playing basketball while the kiddies sleep. You could use a candy cane instead of a Bon Bon for this.

elf on shelf toddler basketball


Being an Elf is Thirsty Work

Even Elves get thirsty – orange juice anyone?!

orange juice elf on shelf


It's a Wrap

Wrap some toilet paper and pretend the Elf has decorated the Christmas tree.

elf on shelf decorates tree


White Christmas

If you have kids it should be easy to find a dirty tea towel to wrap Mr Elf in between 2 empty milk cartons.

elf on shelf in the fridge


The Snowflake

Some cotton buds are all you need for this one. If you wanted an idea for another day he could also make a Christmas Tree!

elf makes snowflake with cotton buds


Save Mr Elf!

You can use any soft toy and a glass tumbler to create this scene, we love it!

elf on the shelf trapped in jar


Bed Time Elf

Our Elves and toys enjoy bedtime stories too.

 bedtime story elf on the shelf


Crafty Elves

Mr and Mrs Elf have some fun with stickers. This would work with pencils or paint too, depending on how messy you want to get.

elves have fun with stickers


Helplful Elf

Yum yum, it’s breakfast time. I wish an Elf actually did appear to make the kids breakfast. It's my most dreaded meal of the day.

elf on the shelf makes breakfast


Late Night Elf

Naughty Elf on the Shelf, looking up pictures of his Barbie girlfriend

elf on he shelf being naughty


TINsel with a Twist

We all have surplus cans in the pantry and some tinsel at Christmas time. Use it to put together a makeshift tree.

elves make tree with cans 


Whats the time Mr Elf?

It's almost Christmas time!

whats the time mr elf


Sweet Tooth Elves

Have any sweets in the fridge or cupboard? It’s time for Elf to have a feast.

elf steals cupcakes


Game On

Use any board game to make this idea come to life.

elf on the shelf plays chess


Spat the Dummy!

Ok you’ll need a baby as a prop for this one, so this might not go in the ‘easy section’.

elf on shelf steals baby dummy


Elf Geography

Elf makes sure Santa knows exactly where you live!

elf on the shelf geography


If you are a little more prepared than me, below are some ideas for those of us who are more organised and have some extra props. 

The Bank Robber

Hopefully he's taking the money to buy Christmas presents for Mummy and Daddy.

elf on the shelf robs piggy bank


The Sunbather

Some sand and a few beach accessories and you have a fun day out in the sun.

elves sun baking on the shelf


The Dinosaur Safari

If you have horses, dinosaurs or any other animal this set up will work for you.

dinosaur safari elves


Minion Bananas

Who else loves Minions?! My Elf had great fun with some bananas and a permanent marker last year!

elf draws minions on bananas


Caught in a Web

For the Spiderman fans out there – how cool is this?!

You could also use the cotton balls to create a snowball fight.

Spiderman takes elves hostage


On a Roll

All you need is some loo papers, a black marker  and googly eyes and you are set.

toilet roll snowman elf


What The Duck

We’d suggest setting this one up right before the kids see it, we wouldn’t want that bread stewing away in the bath water for too long.

Christmas elves feed the ducks 


Toasted Elf

Once again, not one to set up the night before, nobody likes an open flame. You could also pair this with some hot cocoa.

toasting marshmallow elf on shelf


The Helper

Look at Elf, trying his best to change babies nappy. We thinks he’s done a great job.

elf changes baby nappy


Dog of a Day

Poor Mr Elf has eaten the dogs biscuits by accident!

elves eat dog biscuits by mistake


A Close Shave

Elf wants to be just like Daddy.

elf on the shelf shaving


Something's Fishy

It’s time for Mr Elf to earn his keep and catch dinner.

elves can fish too


Even Elves Can be Romantic

Just look at his little costume! If you are looking for Elf clothing, you could steal them off your childrens dolls, or there are places out there who make them.

barbie elf get married romance



Uh oh - the tractor has broken down! Don’t worry, it will be fixed by the time the kiddies wake up.

DIY elf fixes tractor


I’d like to thank all the lovely Mums who contributed their fantastic ideas to this article - you certainly are more creative than me!

Which ones have we forgotten?

Feel free to send them to me at natalie@shelves.com.au and I’ll add them to the article.

Have a wonderful Christmas, and I hope these easy elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers bring you lots of fun and joy.

Merry Christmas!