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45 Creative Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Are you looking for some new elf on the shelf classroom ideas for this holiday season? If so, this post is for you. It’s packed with everything you need to know including how to start, benefits of a classroom elf, learning activities, classroom management ideas and tips to make it easy for your elf.

Plus, there’s tons of examples of class pranks, and funny ideas that elves have done in other classrooms.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase using my link, I make a small commission –at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.

Benefits of a Classroom Elf

  • Brings joy and excitement to students
  • Increases engagement in classroom activities
  • Can help with classroom management strategies
  • Motivates students to be on their best behavior

How Do You Start Elf on the Shelf in the Classroom?

First, you need to contact Santa and let him know you’re interested in a classroom elf or two. Next, you’ll need a clever way to introduce your elf to the classroom. Then you and your students need to come up with a name for your elf.

Prepare Your Classroom for an Elf on the Shelf

Here are some things to get your class ready for a classroom elf that you can find on Amazon including a mini door to help him travel back to the north pole every night and school supplies that’ll make your new elf feel welcome in the classroom.

Elf on the Shelf book and accessories

ELF ON THE SHELF | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | ELF ON THE SHELF WITH BOOK

TWO | ELF SCHOOL ACCESSORIES

THREE | DOOR TO THE NORTH POLE

FOUR | ELF PETS

Introducing Your Elf to the Classroom

Here are a few ideas to introduce your new classroom elf

  • Santa will often wrap a new classroom elf in a box and ship it to your class.
  • Usually, Santa will include a letter to introduce the classroom elf.
  • Make sure to go over elf rules with the classroom.
  • Make a fun activity out of choosing a name.
  • Read an Elf book with the class.
  • Add some elf themed class décor to increase the excitement even more.

Check out these ideas and more below.

A Present from Santa

classroom present from Santa
Image Source | FESTIVEFIRSTIES

In this first-grade class Santa special delivered this Elf on the Shelf book with an introduction letter. The students were very excited for the arrival of their classroom elf.

Introduction Letter from Santa

Classroom elf on the shelf introduction letter from Santa
Image Source | LIFESIZE_02

This class elf came with an official letter from Santa that explains why the elf came and rules. The class elf also brought a book, How to Catch and Elf, for the class to read.

Introduction Letter from Santa Free Template

 

Introduction classroom elf letter free template
Free Template | Download Here

I created this free template for you with Canva.  Click here if you would like to download the template.  You can edit it to add your name and make any other changes that you would like.

Elf Rules

When you introduce your class elf be sure to go over the elf rules. You could download a printable all about elf rules or Santa can include the rules in a letter.

Elf Rules & Packaging

Check out some printable elf rules from Etsy as well as some fun packaging.

Classroom elf rules

ELF RULES AND PACKAGING | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | CERTIFIED MAIL BOX LABEL PRINTABLE

TWO | RULES DIGITAL DOWNLOAD

THREE | SPECIAL DELIVERY ENVELOPE

FOUR | INSTANT DOWNLOAD RULES

How Can an Elf Be Used in the Classroom?

Here are some things a classroom elf can do:

  • Hide in different spots everyday
  • Encourage positive behavior with rewards and notes
  • Bring classroom gifts like candy, books or school supplies
  • Tell Elf Jokes
  • Introduce a new classroom management idea
  • Play elf games like pin the nose on the reindeer
  • Get into a little bit of elf mischief like playing pranks
  • Introduce the class to fun learning activities
  • Remind students to be on their best behavior

Read on to find examples of all of these ideas and more.

Naming The Classroom Elf

One of the first classroom activities is naming your new elf. This could be a fun brainstorming session for the class followed by a class vote.

Classroom Elf Name Ideas

  • Blinky
  • Blizzard
  • Buddy (from Elf)
  • Chip
  • Dash
  • Dobby (from Harry Potter)
  • Elfie
  • Glitter
  • Jingles
  • Lucky
  • Peppermint
  • Smarty
  • Snowflake
  • Sparkles
  • Twinkle
  • Winky (from Harry Potter)

Graph Your Elf Names

graph of elf names
IMAGE SOURCE | FESTIVEFIRSTIES

After a class name vote you can graph the names with different graph types. That is what this teacher from Florida did to introduce her math graph and data unit.

Elf Classroom Décor

To get your class extra excited about their new friend you can add a little elf themed décor like a classroom door or a bulletin board, or even an elf surveillance cam. Check out my top finds below.

elf Class Decorations

ELF CLASSROOM DÉCOR | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | ELF SURVEILLANCE BULLETIN BOARD KIT

TWO | ELF SELFIES BULLETIN BOARD OR DOOR DECOR

THREE | SURVEILLANCE DIGITAL PRINT

FOUR | PERSONALIZED CLASSROOM ELF CAM

Where Do Elves Hide in the Classroom?

Here are some of the hilarious places that I’ve seen elves hide in the classroom:

  • In the class library, reading a book upside down.
  • In the class headphone storage area wearing headphones.
  • On the dry erase board hanging upside down.
  • Hiding in the alphabet letters and spelling funny things for the kids.
  • Hanging on clothes pins with student work.
  • Hiding in students’ pencil boxes or under desks.
  • In the toy section, making new friends.
  • Hiding in the class awards box.
  • Ziplining on a candy cane above the classroom.
  • Taking a nap on a box of Tissues.
  • Trying to disguise themselves as Santa with a cotton ball beard.

Elf Hiding Spots

Classroom elves love to find a great place to hide in the classroom that the kids think are hilarious. Check out some of the best elf hiding spots that I’ve seen below.

Headphone Storage Hiding Spot

classroom elf hiding in headphone storage
Image Source | MISSMULLINSCLASSROOM

Not only is this little guy hiding in the headphone storage area, but he brought his own mini headphones.

Library Hiding Spot

elf reading book upside down in classroom library
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHINGLITTLEFISHIES

This class elf, Tinsel was found reading a book upside down in the class library.

Elf Nap Time

elf napping on tissue box
Image Source | MISSCARINAB

Sometimes classroom elves are tired and need a nap and a box of Kleenex with at tissue blanket is a great place in a classroom.

Hide and Seek

elf playing hide and seek in letters
IMAGE SOURCE | _TEACHERPOLLY

Rudi, this clever fella, left the students a note on the dry erase board with a clue to where he was hiding.

Astronaut Elf Disguise

classroom elf disguised as astronaut
IMAGE SOURCE | LITTLEMISSBRIGHT

This funny guy thought he could disguise himself as an astronaut.

Just Hanging Around

elf hanging upside down on clothesline in classroom
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHINGLITTLEFISHIES

This cheeky elf was caught hanging upside down next to student work.

Elf on the Shelf Learning Activities

Here are some easy learning activities that your students will be excited about because they involve the classroom elf.

  • Elf Journal Writing Activity- Have students write about what the elf is doing every day. They could also include a drawing.
  • Elf Adjectives-Work with the class on all the adjectives that you could use to describe the class elf.
  • Elf Book- Read an elf themed book with the class.
  • Letter to Santa- Students can write a letter to Santa that the elf will deliver.
  • North Pole Word Hunt- They can work on a Christmas themed word hunt that the elf brings.
  • Correct Grammar- Kids can fix Christmas poems for your class elf.

Elf Notes

Another fun thing that classroom elves are known to do is leave notes for the students in the classroom. They often write notes on the chalkboard, the dry erase board, on post it notes or on cute printables.

elf chalkboard notes
PRINTABLE ELF NOTES | FIND THEM HERE

These cute notes can be downloaded and printed, and they look like little letter boards.

What are the Best Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas?

Everyone knows that little classroom elves love to get into mischief! What type of mischief you wonder? Well, here are some sneaky things that I’ve seen classroom elves do:

  • TP the Teacher’s chair or anywhere in the class.
  • Steal treats, they especially like Christmas candies.
  • Draw Rudolph noses on students’ pictures.
  • Draw snowman on places they shouldn’t.
  • Take photocopies of themselves and plaster them all over the class.
  • Get into the class stickers and decorate themselves.
  • Getting into the class paper supply to make paper snowflakes.
  • Make snow angels with glitter in the class.
  • Put sticky notes all over the class with notes on them.
  • Take an elfie and put it on the teacher’s computer screen saver, or the class iPad.
  • Plan silly pranks on the students or the teacher.

Check out some of these ideas below.

TP Snowman

TP Snowman Elf on the Shelf prank
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSCLINESJOURNEY

This sneaky little elf started off by throwing toilet paper all over the room and made a big mess. He then drew a snowman on the TP that was left over.

Elves love Stickers

classroom elf with stickers on him
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSCARINAB

Peppermint the elf, apparently loves stickers and has gotten into the class sticker supply.

Elfie Photocopies

classroom elf idea funny
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSHENNINGSCLASSROOM

Imagine the class's surprise when it appeared the classroom elf snuck into the photocopy room and plastered his work on the class bulletin board.

Elf Photo Shoot

Elf on the Shelf having a photo shoot
IMAGE SOURCE | DOLLFACEHUSTLER

This teacher asked her class elf to help with making photocopies and he ended up creating his very own photo shoot.

Giant Elfie

classroom elf prank
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSCARINAB

This classroom prankster has taken over the class screen with a message that says, help I’m trapped in here!

Elf Pranks

Many classroom elves love to play pranks on students and teachers. Check out below some funny pranks that elves have done in classrooms.

TP the Class Christmas Tree

elf tping classroom tree
IMAGE SOURCE | LITTLEMISSBRIGHTT

This mischievous elf helped “decorate” the class Christmas tree with toilet paper while the students were out.

Toothpaste Oreo Prank

elf on the shelf toothpaste oreo prank
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHERSTARTER

These naughty elves were caught replacing the Oreo stuffing with toothpaste!

Funny Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Most Elves from the North Pole have a great sense of humor. I love to see the funny ideas that they come up with. Check out some of the best funny classroom elf ideas below.

Elf Ball Pit

classroom elf in ball pit
IMAGE SOURCE | CHRISTMASELF2019

The bowl of pom poms looked like the perfect ball pit for this silly boy.

Huge Bubble

elf blowing a huge bubble
IMAGE SOURCE | CHRISTMASELF2019

This cheeky elf is pretending to blow a huge bubble, but it’s actually a pink balloon.

Melted Snowman

melted snowman from North Pole
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHERSTARTER

He tried to bring back a snowman from the North Pole, but it melted. It’s the thought that counts I guess.

Stuck Elf

stuck elf
Image Source | miss.laurensclassroom

This classroom elf was trying to decorate the classroom and accidentally got stuck with some washi-tape!

Classroom Elf on the Shelf Games

Classroom elves love to play games. Some of their favorites are twister, pin the nose on the reindeer, tic tac toe and the floor is lava. Check out all these game ideas below.

The Floor is Lava

elf playing the floor is lava game
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHINGWITHMISS.W

The floor is lava is a favorite of many elves.

Tic Tac Toe Elf Style

elves playing tic tac toe
IMAGE SOURCE | CHRISTMASELF2019

Who knew you could play tic tac toe with Christmas bows and tape?

Elf Twister

elf twister
IMAGE SOURCE | FESTIVEFIRSTIES

It’s well known that elves love to play Twister, especially with friends!

Top Elf Picks for Games

If you want to encourage your elf to have a little fun in your class you can download and print off games for them to play. Check out the top picks from classroom elves below.

elf on the shelf games

PRINTABLE ELF GAMES | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | PRINTABLE NORTH POLE MEMORY GAME

TWO | ELF TWISTER DOWNLOAD

THREE | NORTH POLE TIC TAC TOE

FOUR | PRINTABLE PIN THE NOSE ON THE REINDEER

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Activities

Classroom elves help to encourage students to try new activities. Check out some ideas below.

Rainbow Magic

rainbow magic classroom activity
Image Source | LITTLEMISSBRIGHTT

This elf shows the kids how to make rainbow magic by adding hot water to the center of the Skittle rainbow.

Elf Yourself Activity

Elf yourself Classroom activity
Image Source | TEACHERSTARTER

Here’s a fun craft idea for your students that also would make cute classroom décor to go with the elf theme. They can craft an elf body and you can add their picture so they can elf themselves.

Kindness Activity

classroom elf kindness activity
Image Source | mrsmunchsmunchkins

This classroom elf, Merry, brings students a note every day with a kindness challenge for the whole class to complete.  Merry helps the class focus on giving rather than receiving!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Management Ideas

Classroom elves will often help teachers out when they see that the class may need behavior modifications. Elves may send a gentle reminder to the class if behavior is not up to par. Check out how elves have done that below.

For the Noisy Class

Christmas classroom management idea for a noisy class
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSCLINESJOURNEY

Chippy the elf had to remind the students that they were a little too chatty by spelling out “please don’t hurt my ears” while wearing his earmuffs.

Reminder for Behavior with Sub

elf on the shelf sub reminder
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSCARINAB

This sweet classroom elf, Peppermint, left the students a reminder to be good to their sub.

Kindness Reminder

kindness classroom reminder
Image Source | miss.bs.monsters

Sometimes a classroom elf will need to remind the whole class to be kind with their words.  This classroom elf asked students to leave a kind message for the class on the whiteboard.

Elf Reports

Sometimes classroom elves will leave the students with small elf reports to reward positive behavior that they see in the class. These may or may not come with an award or treat.

elf reports
ELF REPORTS | FIND THEM HERE

Fun Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Above all classroom elves just want to have fun! Check out some ideas below of how elves have fun at school.

Santa’s Naughty List

Santa's naughty list
IMAGE SOURCE | LITTLEMISSBRIGHTT

Hopefully your students will all make the nice list.

Marshmallow Bath

marshmallow bath
IMAGE SOURCE | TALESOFACOUNTRYSIDETEACHER

A marshmallow bath would be the perfect way for an elf to relax on his downtime.

Having Fun Around the School

classroom elf taking pictures around school
IMAGE SOURCE | TEACHING_WITH_BUTTERFLYQLD

This second-grade classroom elf had a blast playing around the school and hanging out with friends. He then took pictures to show the class how much fun he had.

Window Scaling

elf climbing window with bows
IMAGE SOURCE | CHRISTMASELF2019

Christmas bows have been found to be useful to help an elf scale a classroom window.

Upside Down Elf

hanging upside down on whiteboard
Image Source | MISSCULLINSCLASSROOM

This class elf could use a little help.

Elves Making Smores

classroom elves making smores
Image Source | _teacherpolly

Most classroom elves love a good smore!  This class was excited to find their two elves roasting marshmallows by the fire.

Artistic Elf

classroom elf painting
Image Source | primarywithpringle

This classroom elf was so inspired by the students’ new classroom artwork that she decided to create her own mini masterpiece.

Accessories for Your Classroom Elf

If you want your elf to have even more fun you can get them some of these fun accessories that I found below.

elf on the shelf accessories

ELF ACCESSORIES | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | 9 PC ELF ACCESSORIES KIT

TWO | ELF SIZED SCHOOL SUPPLIES

THREE | ELF SKOOTER

FOUR | ELF ELECTRONICS & FOOD SET

FIVE | MINI BEACH SET

SIX | INFLATABLE, SCARF & EARMUFFS

Elf Gifts for the Classroom

When a class is being extra good the elf will sometimes bring gifts. Some of the most popular gift ideas are candy canes, books, school supplies, or special treats or awards that star students can earn. Check out some ideas below.

Candy Cane Scavenger Hunt

candy cane scavenger hunt classroom activity
Image Source | CHRISTMASELF2019

Yes, he brought gifts. But the students need to find them first.

Crayons for the Class

gift of crayons for class
Image Source | FESTIVEFIRSTIES

This thoughtful elf noticed that the class crayons were a little old, so he brought them new ones.

Presents for Star Students

elf presents for star students
IMAGE SOURCE | MISSMACDONALD_HASACLASS

This classroom elf is a start student! He also was very thoughtful and brought some presents for other star students to keep the students motivated to show positive behavior in class.

Books for Students

book gifts for students

Your students might be more excited to read new books if they came directly from an elf!

Top Elf Books on Amazon

If you’re looking for some fun books to read to the class as part of your elf theme then check out some elf approved titles below.

best elf books on Amazon

ELF BOOKS | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | ELF ON THE SHELF SEARCH & FIND

TWO | THERE’S AN ELF IN YOUR BOOK

THREE | ELF

FOUR | HOW TO CATCH AN ELF

Elf on the Shelf Jokes

Elves love to crack a good Christmas Joke. Sometimes they’ll write their joke on a dry erase board, a letter board or even bring a stack of jokes to class with them. Check out some joke ideas from some funny classroom elves below.

Elf Joke Cards

elf jokes
Image Source | TEACHERSTARTER

This hilarious elf came to class loaded with tons of his favorite jokes.

Elfabet Joke

elpabet joke
Image Source | TEACHINGWITHMISSCROMPTON

Here’s a silly elf joke that your students would love.

Printable Elf Jokes

If you want to get some joke cards that your class elf and your students would love then check them out below. You can order these from Etsy and have them shipped or download and print them yourself depending on which you choose.

printable elf jokes

ELF JOKES | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | ELF JOKE CARDS

TWO | DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ELF JOKE OF THE DAY CARDS

Clothes for the Fashionable Elf

If your classroom elf is stylish you may want to gift them with some fabulous elf clothing. Below check out some of my favorites from Amazon.

elf clothes

ELF CLOTHES | WHERE TO FIND

ONE | 6 PC ELF SKIRTS

TWO | 4 PC ELF ACCESSORIE SET

THREE | DONUT BE NAUGHTY PJS

FOUR | CHRISTMAS SWEATER SET

Easy Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Are you looking for some easy ideas for your classroom elf? Elf kits are packs with fun accessories that your classroom elf would have tons of fun with. They may make it a little easier on your elf if they have a hard time coming up with new creative ideas every day. Check my favorite one below.

Elf on the Shelf Kit

elf on the shelf kit
Elf Activity Kit | Find it Here

You can find this kit on Etsy by clicking the link below the picture.  It has options for 12 or 24 days of activities.  This will ensure that you don't run out of ideas and your students will love it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some fun activities for Elf on the Shelf in a classroom?

You can try incorporating educational games and activities such as elf-themed puzzles or scavenger hunts, letter writing to Santa, and interactive holiday story time sessions. Have the Elf leave a daily task or fun fact for the students to explore throughout the day.

How can I use Elf on the Shelf for high school and elementary students?

For younger students, use Elf on the Shelf as a way to encourage good behavior, incorporating stories and activities to enhance their learning experience. With high school students, you can make your Elf a symbol of holiday spirit or help teach life skills by incorporating them into class projects or group discussions.

What are some creative hiding spots for Elf in the classroom?

Hide your Elf on the Shelf in various spots throughout the classroom, such as inside cubbies, on top of shelves, within books, or hanging from the ceiling. Challenge your students to find the Elf each day as they walk in or during a designated search time.

How can I make an engaging Elf on the Shelf scene?

Create scenes that relate to your lesson plans or current classroom topics. You can also use props that your students have created or bring in elements from their favorite holiday stories. Try to incorporate humor, a touch of mischief, or other elements that will entertain your students and keep them engaged.

How can parents and teachers collaborate using Elf on the Shelf?

You can send a letter home to parents, so they know about the classroom elf and the ways that you plan to use the elf in the classroom.  Encourage parents to share their ideas with elf on the shelf and even help set up some elf scenes.

What are some Elf on the Shelf classroom ideas for back to school?

Have your Elf return to help students stay organized after the holiday break. Create scenes in which your Elf emphasizes the importance of keeping track of assignments, having a clean and organized workspace, and staying on task. Involve the Elf in goal-setting activities or sharing safety tips as the new year begins.

What are some ideas for a classroom elf departure?

Plan a creative and memorable Elf on the Shelf farewell for your students before they head home for the holiday break. You could have your Elf write a goodbye letter, leave a small present for each student, or plan a special activity for your class to enjoy on their last day together. Remember to encourage a sense of closure.

Now you have some new elf on the shelf classroom ideas so you can have fun with your students and your class elf this year. Feel free to save your favorite ideas to your Pinterest boards. If you loved this post share it on your favorite social media.

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