Teachers: Get Ideas to Inspire Your Classroom Scout Elf

At Christmastime, it is not uncommon for some Scout Elves to visit teachers and students at school! Like the elves who visit their family’s homes, they still showcase their most unique elf ideas in the classrooms they visit. Teachers—if an Elf on the Shelf pays your class a visit during the holidays, use the ideas below to inspire their adventures. With 24 ideas, there is one for every day of December, plenty to keep elves active throughout the entire month or at least until students leave for Christmas break!

Click each picture for full instructions for your classroom Scout Elf.

Elf with a candy message

Sweet Message

Elf with a message made of candy

Your classroom Scout Elf will surprise students at the start of the holiday season by showing up next to a sweet message they wrote with candy. Students will be ecstatic to know their favorite seasonal visitor is back to visit after reading their message, “I’m back!” or “Hi friends!”

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

By the Numbers Coloring Fun

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Your classroom Scout Elf will love bringing The Elf on the Shelf® coloring sheet printables with them to inspire the inner artist in each student. Following the color key on each printable, students can create works of art to decorate the bulletin board.

Get Coloring Sheets

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Handy Christmas Tree Card

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Hands down—this Christmas card will be one of your students’ favorite crafts to make! For this idea, your elf will bring all neccessary supplies and instructions with them, telling students how to make a Christmas tree card. After students trace their hand several times on green construction paper, they can cut out the handprints and glue them with the fingers pointing down on white construction paper. Yarn, pom-poms and stickers will add the perfect finishing touches!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Rainbow Ball Pit

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

This elf escapade in a ball bit will bring your classroom loads of laughter!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your classroom elf will grab a glass container and fill it with jelly beans, pom-poms or gumballs to create a ball pit.
  2. Next, your elf will write a note on the Marvelous Message Card and prop it on the stand.
  3. Finally, your elf will jump into the ball pit and strike a pose, eliciting laughs from students when they return to school.
Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Elf Marks the Spot

elves looking at book

Reading is the perfect pastime for classroom elves. They may even pick a book for story time and mark their favorite page!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. To create this scholarly surprise, your Scout Elf will print and cut out the bookmarks.
  2. Then, your elf will punch a hole in the top of each bookmark.
  3. Finally, your elf will tie a piece of Candy Cane Cable through the hole of each bookmark and use them to mark the right page, so your class will know where to pick up during reading time. Helpful hint for classroom elves: Bring enough bookmarks, so every student will have their own!

Get Bookmarks

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Seasonal Snowflake Wreath

elf with paper wreath

This seasonal snowflake wreath is sure to help transform your classroom into a winter wonderland.

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your elf will print and cut out the seasonal snowflake wreath pieces. Helpful hint for classroom elves: Depending on the size of the wreath you make, you made need to print out multiple copies of the wreath pieces.
  2. Next, your elf will lay out the circles so they are overlapping and covering the wreath frame.
  3. Your elf will then tape or glue the pieces to the frame.
  4. Finally, your elf will hang the wreath on your classroom door or somewhere around the room and sit nearby to watch as students find the wintry décor. Helpful hint for classroom elves: Leave out extra snowflake wreath pieces so kids can create their own smaller version of this wreath.

Get Snowflake Wreath Printable

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Crafty Stick Ornaments

elf with homemade ornaments

While they wait for students to return in the morning, your classroom Scout Elf may get busy using craft sticks and other supplies to create fun Christmas inspired ornaments. If students are lucky, their classroom elf may leave out their example ornaments along with enough supplies for everyone to create their own!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Fun Treat Cups

elf with cups of snacks

Your Scout Elf is ready to help you pass out snacks for snack time! Kids will be giddy to receive their snack straight from their favorite visitor.

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. Your classroom elf will first print and cut out the cup wraps.
  2. Then, they will tape the wraps onto 10 oz. cups, one for each student.
  3. Finally, they will fill the cups with a delicious snack for the class to enjoy during snack time.

Get Cup Wraps

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Festive Faux Lights

Elf with paper garland

Bringing the Christmas lights indoors to brighten up your classroom will be one of your elf’s favorite tricks.

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your classroom elf will print the gray and colored strips on card stock and cut them out.
  2. Then, they will fold each colored strip along the dotted lines.
  3. Next, your elf will tape the gray strips end-to-end to form five separate rings.
  4. After, they will take one colored strip and tape one end to the inner wall of one gray ring.
  5. They will tape the remaining end of the colored strip to the other side of the gray ring.
  6. Your elf will repeat steps 4 and 5 until all faux lights have been completed.
  7. Using a hole punch, your elf will create two holes on the gray rings in the same spot where they taped the colored ends of each strip. They will repeat this process until all lights have holes.
  8. Lastly, your elf will thread string through each faux light.
  9. They will hang the lights around the classroom for a piece of décor that lights up the whole room!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Holiday Party Placemats

elf with paper placemat

Your Scout Elf has come prepared to help students create their own holiday inspired placemats, perfect for snack time or to take home to show parents.

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. Your classroom Scout Elf will first print and cut out the holiday party placemats, making sure they have one for each student.
  2. Then, they will leave out crayons, colored pencils or markers on desks, so students can design their own unique placemats.
  3. They will be sure to watch and scope out the colorful creations!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Christmas Code Cracker

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Your classroom Scout Elf wants to see if the class is smart enough to crack a super-secret code in order to reveal the message they left!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. Your Scout Elf will love to leave a secret message for the class to uncover. They will print and cut out the elf decoder and symbols.
  2. Then, they will write a funny message or joke on the board in elf code by cutting out and assembling the symbols, so they spell the correct word(s).
  3. Helpful hint for classroom elves: You could write a question for the class and provide a coded answer instead.
  4. Once they have finished creating their message, they will sit by their work and wait to see if the class can crack the code.

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Nice-O-Meter

elves with naughty or nice meter

Are your students destined to make Santa's nice list this year? Find out now with the help of your Scout Elf!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your classroom elf will print and cut out the Nice-O-Meter template.
  2. Then, they will cut out a small arrow that will fit on top of the Nice-O-Meter.
  3. Next, they will glue the meter template to a small box. Using a brass fastener, they will attach the arrow to the template and box. The fastener will pierce through the base of the arrow and box exactly where the black dot appears on the template.
  4. They will sit next to the box, after moving the arrow based on Santa’s feedback. Make sure the class is checking back to see if they will stay on Santa’s nice list.

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Blackboard Blast Off

elf with chalk drawing

Classroom Scout Elves have stellar imaginations! Using chalk or dry-erase markers, your elf will give you a glimpse into their own fantasy world by drawing a picture on either a chalkboard or whiteboard. To finish their surprise, they will jump into their own picture to immerse themselves and students into their imagination!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Streamer Surprise

kids with streamer christmas tree

Your classroom elf will leave the ultimate streamer surprise for students to find when they return to school the next day!

Materials:

  • Green crepe paper (in two shades)
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Decorative spheres (available at craft stores)

Instructions:

  1. First, your Scout Elf will pick out a wall in the classroom to create this festive tree.
  2. Using scissors, your elf will cut approximately 50 strands of green paper (in two different shades) that are a foot or two longer than the distance from the floor to the ceiling.
  3. With tape, your elf will secure the crepe paper to the wall or ceiling at one central point.
  4. Once secure, your elf will arrange the dangling ends of the crepe paper in a circle on the floor, securing each end with tape so that it looks like a paper Christmas tree.
  5. For a final festive touch, your elf will arrange the decorative spheres on the ground, and sit above the creation to watch as students are mesmerized by their elaborate display!
Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Fun Cut Out

Elf with snowman cutout

Students will get a good laugh when they find their classroom’s elf disguised as another winter pal!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your classroom elf will print out the photo prop and cut out the face hole.
  2. Then, they will use wooden craft sticks or skewers to prop up the page so they can step behind the piece of paper and stick their face through the open hole for a fun photo op that will leave kids giggling!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Spelling Lesson

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Your classroom Scout Elf is ready to take over as teacher! Using alphabet blocks, they will spell a word or message for students to find just in time for the day’s language lesson to begin.

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Scout Elf Bingo

Elves with bingo

While students were at home, your classroom elf was testing their luck with a rousing round of bingo! That’s not all—your elf will leave behind bingo cards and a note asking the entire class to enjoy a few fun rounds of this classic game. Good luck, friends!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Domino Effect

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Your classroom elf was busy last night playing with dominos. They even created a fun trail and watched as all the pieces fell. Bonus points for classroom elves—leave a note asking students to use the dominos during a math lesson or play with them during indoor recess.

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Love You to Pieces

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Scout Elves love using their brain power to solve all kinds of puzzles. While waiting for kids to arrive at school, your classroom elf got busy putting together a puzzle!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Ribbon Rock Climb

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Who’s the champ when it comes to scaling surfaces? Your Scout Elf, of course. Students will be amazed to see their athletic classroom elf ribbon “rock” climbing!

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your classroom Scout Elf will attach a variety of colorful bows to cabinets using painter’s tape.
  2. Next, your elf will put on the Holiday Harness from the Scout Elves at Play® kit.
  3. Finally, your elf will ascend the rock climb using the ribbons as toeholds.
Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Time for a Treat

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Your elf will place 12 different cookies in a circle on a flat surface such as snack table, and when your students return to school, they will be surprised to learn that their elf struck a pose in the center of the cookie circle, mimicking the hands of a clock to indicate snack time. Repeat performances are possible—your elf can change the “hands” of the clock day after day!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Oh Christmas Tree

sticky note christmas tree

Kids will be singing, “Oh Christmas Tree” when they walk into their classroom to find this Christmas tree inspired surprise.

Materials:

  • Green paper or sticky notes
  • A piece of brown construction paper
  • Double-sided tape or painter’s tape
  • Tree skirt
  • Christmas decorations
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Your classroom elf will start by gathering green sticky notes or green paper squares cut at least 3 inches by 3 inches.
  2. Then, your Scout Elf will assemble the paper squares in the shape of a Christmas tree, complete with a brown construction paper “trunk,” onto a blank wall or even the whiteboard.
  3. Decorations, like a tree skirt, paper ornaments, a tree topper or presents may be added to the scene by your elf for authenticity!
Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Scout Elf Snowflakes

Elf with paper snowflakes

Snowflakes will be falling from the ceiling of your classroom when your Scout Elf gets busy crafting these elf-inspired snowflakes.

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. First, your elf will cut off the top of the template along the dotted line.
  2. Then, your elf will fold the template diagonally, as shown in diagram A on the folding guide.
  3. Following diagram B, your Scout Elf will fold the template again.
  4. Next, your Scout Elf will place their template on top of diagram C in order to fold the paper into perfect thirds, making sure the picture of the elf shows up on top!
  5. Once folded, your Scout Elf will cut the top area parallel with the elf off for easier handling, as shown in diagram D.
  6. Cutting along the lines of the template, your Scout Elf will cut out the elf. A hole punch will be used to create the eyes.
  7. After the elf shape is cut out, your Scout Elf will unfold the paper to reveal a beautiful snowflake decoration!
  8. Using string, your elf will drape these unique snowflakes around the classroom for a quick Christmas upgrade!

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

So Hard to Say Goodbye

Elf on the Shelf Classroom Ideas

Parting is such sweet sorrow, especially when your students must say goodbye to their fun classroom visitor. As a final goodbye, your classroom elf will be sure to leave a fond farewell note. Then, as a class, think back on your favorite memories and write your own thank you note to your elf.

Find more classroom activities and lesson plans for grades K-5 via the Teacher Resource Center!

Before you or your elf get to work recreating any of these inspirational photos, be sure to read these safety warnings. Santa wants to make sure everyone stays safe!