newborn photographer Kansas City - EASY elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers

I know Elf on the Shelf isn't everyone's jam– so for those of you who are less than excited, fresh out of ideas, or just looking for new and EASY ideas, this is for you!

Here was my criteria when brainstorming this list:

  • Easy- everything can be done in 5 minutes or less
  • Accessible- MOST of these items we always have at our house. The only thing I had to buy were the streamers and eventually the helium balloon.

Shopping List:

Streamers, TP, regular balloons, helium balloon, popcorn, red paper or pompoms for elf hats or Rudolph noses, candy canes, yarn/ribbon/twine, oatmeal and glitter.


  • Set a reminder to get in the routine of moving your Elf as soon as your child goes to bed.
  • Remember that the only true goal is to move the Elf, so give yourself some grace if you don't feel like doing something creative with it every single night!

  1. Streamers on bedroom door
  2. Elf paints/draws a picture
  3. Stuck to the mirror/wall with bandaids/tape
  4. Elf makes a snowman out of 3 rolls of TP
  5. Elf swings from the ceiling fan/door frame on an empty TP roll
  6. Elf draws faces on bananas/eggs with Sharpie
  7. Elf rides a horse/car/train/toy/etc.
  8. On bath night, Elf fills the bathtub with balloons
  9. sELFie on Polaroid camera/parent's phone/tablet
  10. Elf is stuck in a whisk (this will be for our cookie making day!)
  11. Elf lays out pencil/paper for child to write letter to Santa
  12. Elf TPs the tree
  13. Hangs upside down from blinds
  14. Tied to a helium balloon
  15. Elf sits in popcorn bowl (this will be for our family movie night)
  16. Elf makes a snow angel out of sprinkles/sugar/etc.
  17. Elf tapes Elf hats on our family picture or could use red pompoms on noses
  18. Elf adventure day in container
  19. Elf ziplines to Christmas tree
  20. Elf hides a certain number of something (candy canes) and child has to find them.
  21. Elf takes a bath in marshmallows
  22. Elf leaves a message on the mirror
  23. Elf hangs from linked candy canes
  24. Elf leaves supplies for reindeer food (oatmeal and glitter)

Other easy ideas: Elf plays with child's toy(s), snow ball fight with cotton balls/marshmallows, tea party, hanging on Christmas tree/house plants/light/cupboards/stockings/etc., reading a book, goes fishing with goldfish crackers, makes paper snowflakes.

I hope this list makes your holiday season a bit easier and brings some joy back to this fun tradition!



newborn photographer Kansas City - EASY elf on the shelf ideas for toddlers

Meredith Maag Photography specializes in newborn, maternity, motherhood, family, and baby sessions in the Kansas City area, including Mission, Westwood, Brookside, Waldo, Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, Westport, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Prairie Village, Leawood, Independence, Lenexa, Olathe, and The Northland.

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