Elf on a Shelf in the Classroom


Some teachers love this time of year in the classroom as they prep for Holidays Around the World Lessons and an Elf on the Shelf! But, this year has been a rough year for so many of us, students included! Am I right? But still, we will plan extra. Teachers will give it their all this holiday season to have some extra fun in their classrooms!

With inclusivity in mind and that this time of year isn’t happy for all families, we looked to our Fearless First Grade Facebook Group to see what they were talking about for this year.  I am glad the magic of the holidays will be felt in classrooms this year through the return of Elf on a Shelf! Our Fearless Firsties are creative as they shared tons of tips on having an Elf on the Shelf! I love their ideas!

Teacher Thoughts on Elf on the Shelf

  • “One of my favorite things all year! We follow up with lots of academic things with him, too!” A. Smith
  • “I hide a snowman in a different spot each day in our digital calendar.” A. Magee
  • “After last year, my students deserve some fun & magic.” P. Lawe
  • “We have fun with our Elf. He has a little mischief each night. The kids love to come in and look for him. I don’t use it in a negative way at all.” J. Boyd

  • “In my classroom, we have a little plush elf, and he moves around and leaves the kids a note of kindness and encouragement each day.” S. Rapp
  • “I do a kindness penguin. Each day he brings an act of kindness for our class to do.” M. Collins
  • “I always do “Grow the Grinches Heart”. Acts of kindness.” G. Reyes

  • “I did a kindness snowman last year. It left kindness challenges.” C. Marie
  • “Mine is a monkey dressed in a Santa outfit, but he arrives every day and gives the kids a kindness challenge.” J. Lutchin
  • “I do an elf because many of the kids talk about their Elf at home. And some are envious, and I think their families cannot afford things like that at home, so I do it to allow them to enjoy the Elf’s antics at school.” M. Faddis
  • “It brings joy to the class. They name it every year and look forward to finding him in a new spot each day. It is just for fun.” J. Tomaszewski

Some Ideas for Elf on the Shelf

  • If you have a Christmas tree in the classroom, hide the Elf in the branches or tangle the Elf in the lights!
  • Have the Elf sneak into a candy jar and get stuck with the candy for the kids scattered on the Shelf!

  • Use your magnetic letters and have the Elf write a message to your students!
  • The Elf can make a snow angel on the desk with white glitter, marshmallows, or tiny snowflakes.
  • One of your stuffed animals or Mr. Potato Head can play a game with your Elf.

  • If Tic-Tac-Toe isn’t popular in your class, here is a link to an Elf Bingo Freebie that your students might love to play!
  • Maybe your Elf loves to build or do STEM? Your Elf can build with Legos or make a tower from paper cups! Check out some cool STEM ideas and resources here!

Additional Ideas for Your Elf on the Shelf

  • The Elf can leave positive and encouraging notes for the students on the whiteboard or special Elf paper!
  • Your Elf can leave notes to challenge the students to do kind acts.
  • Like jokes in your room? My Elf likes to bring new jokes for my class! Click this link for some other jokes your Elf can bring: 180 Jokes for the classroom. Or click for some Funny Elf Jokes.

  • I have heard that some Elves love baths. Your Elf can take a bubble bath in marshmallows, and the class can have cocoa with marshmallows as a treat!
  • Maybe your Elf wants to share a new Holiday book with the class today. Prop the Elf up to read to some stuffed animals!
  • If you have puzzles in the room, let your Elf partially finish a puzzle.

And a Few More Elf Ideas

  • Plant magical Elf seeds. Plant some tic-tacs into a bed of sugar. Overnight, they will grow into candy canes for your students!
  • Have your naughty Elf get into all of your stickers, then share some stickers with the class!

  • Notes from your Elf can be on fun stationery! Don’t make your own; download a freebie here.
  • Have your Elf introduce your writing every day. Or better yet, have your Elf introduce this fantastic Holidays Around the World unit!

If you still are not ready for the extra work of an Elf this year, maybe we have inspired you to try a few of these Elf ideas with your kiddos. I like the idea of an Elf just sharing with the kids, spreading some fun, and encouraging kind acts. But if an Elf is still not your thing or you wish to be inclusive to all of your students that may not celebrate Christian holidays, maybe include a Kindness Penguin, a Kindness Snowman, or give the Grinch a bigger heart this year! May this season bring us all a little rest, a little peace, and a little joy!


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Welcome! I’m Emily, Founder of Education to the Core. We are all about helping K-2 teachers by providing unlimited access to affordable printables for every subject area.