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Fun & Clever Elf On The Shelf Ideas For Toddlers

Get inspired with this awesome collection of over 600 super simple but fun Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers! You’ll never run out of elf ideas with this MEGA list of easy Elf on the Shelf hiding spots that any tired mom can pull off!

Elf On The Shelf Ideas For Busy Moms

The Elf on the Shelf craze started several years ago and explodes every December. Parents work hard to come up with creative Elf on the Shelf Ideas each night, so that the kids can delight in the creativity each morning.

To say that this is a difficult task is an understatement, and I’m the first to admit I have forgotten to move our elfin friend. 

We have hosted an annual elf visitor in our home since 2012. The first year, we had a 5 year old, a 3 year old and a 2 year old. It was so cute…the kids would talk to him and share messages that they wanted him to pass along to Santa. Oh I WISH I had video of that (Parent ProTip: capture ALL you can on video because those precious moments go so quickly) 

Seriously, every year I struggle with ideas for where to put our elf and how to place him. I am the first to admit that I am NOT creative when it comes to our Elf on the Shelf. That’s why I need to take inspiration from other amazing moms who are far more creative than I am!

Our Elf is named Beezy (is that one of the good Elf on the Shelf names? I think it’s probably more unique ). I have no idea how that name came to be – one of the kids made some similar sound when we were introducing the elf and somehow I proclaimed that as his name! Seriously – not creative!

And seriously tired.

I don’t have the energy to come up with fun, creative Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers – and curse the thought of forgetting to move that thing one night. 

Oh it’s happened. And I’ve woken up in the middle of the night with a mild panic attack over it. And I’ve also COMPLETELY forgotten before and had to tell my kids some lame excuse of why he didn’t move – usually something like Beezy was just too tired to go back to the North Pole that night.


So here’s what I’ve done. I just move Beezy around a little each night. Instead of being naughty and doing clever antics, he hides. Then the kids get to find him each morning…and let me tell you, they are THRILLED to search for him every morning.

Even still to this day (except now I have my 12-year-old to help me hide him and surprise the younger two)

Cries of “where’s Beezy” can be heard upstairs and down the hall each morning…

But for you moms who WANT to be more creative than hiding your elf in the Christmas tree or in a light fixture, I thought it would be fun to come up with a gigantic list of Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers that you can use to copy or inspire you to come up with your own (and I might throw in a couple here and there for fun)!

There are OVER 600 ideas on this list…enough to keep you busy for YEARS – even with multiple elves!

Use these clever ideas…or you can totally just hide him around the house each night

Oh! Before I forget…In addition to these ideas for elf on the shelf for toddlers, I do have a few pearls of wisdom that I recommend you read…BEFORE you stress out over moving the elfin.

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How to Enjoy the Elf on the Shelf Tradition

Here’s the real secret to enjoying the Elf on the Shelf: don’t try to keep up with the crazy moms on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

 Just move the elf to a new (SIMPLE) hiding spot without doing anything crazy to it. Your kids will still love it, and you will still have hair at the end of this holiday season.,

I PROMISE you that my kids still love finding our elf in different places every morning.  Just because I don’t go all out every day for our elf doesn’t mean I can’t have some fun. 

Don’t Tell Your Kids When (Your) Beezy is Coming

I made the serious mistake of telling my kids the first year that Beezy would be showing up the day after Thanksgiving. I DID NOT realize how many nights of work I signed up for by doing that.

Beezy makes his grand entrance and surprises my kids when I’m pumped up and ready to tackle elf duty, but it’s usually around December 1st.

Can You Touch Elf On The Shelf?

No! Touching the elf can rob him of his magic so that he returns to the North Pole but doesn’t come back. 

I even went so far as to compare Beezy to the characters in Toy Story that would talk and move around when no one was around or watching but turned into stuffed animals whenever somebody could see them.

Even if the darn elf falls from his hiding or resting spot – that’s where he stays until his nightly trip to the North Pole.

With that in mind, I don’t put our elfin on or around things that I need to use during the day. For example, he doesn’t hang off the microwave handle because I’m constantly using that thing. I don’t want to risk touching him!

Cut Yourself Some Slack

No matter how much or how little you do, your kiddos will believe in their little friendly elfin will absolutely LOVE whatever the elf does. 

Instead of stressing to create the perfect elf scene, sit back and enjoy your child(ren). It ends FAR too quickly.

Where to Find Your Own Visitor and Accessories

Please, please, whatever you do, start simple. Then add on more exciting stuff later if you want.

The benefit of that is that your kids won’t expect something super amazing EVERY SINGLE DAY. Plus, if you fall asleep watching tv and forget to create some elaborate scene, it’s not a big deal.


The one accessory I would say BUY NOW is Elf Flex to make positioning your elf so much easier! Trust me…it’s worth it and will make your nightly job faster.

Other optional accessories:



600+ Elf On The Shelf Ideas for Toddlers That Any Tired Mom Can Do!

From Nerdy Mamma

Here are 11 brilliantly simple and fun ideas for any Star Wars fan!

From Play Party Plan

Throw a party! These ideas will have you throwing the ultimate kids' Christmas party.

From Simplify, Create, Inspire

11 creative ideas that won’t eat up your time trying to pull off!

From Mommyhoood Life

I love these 24 simple but creative ideas that any busy parent can pull off!

From Mom Wife Busy Life

A treasure trove of great, easy ideas! I do #11 at least once a year!

From Spaceships and Laserbeams

Stephanie over at Spaceships and Laserbeams is a go-to creative genius in my book when it comes to the Elf on the Shelf. Grab these Elf letter templates for any occasion!

27 From Troubleshooting Motherhood

This Lazy Moms guide to Elf on the Shelf is a hoot, and I love the ideas – quick and easy – my kind of ideas!

50 From Natural Beach Living

So many great ideas…so little time! I love these clever and fun ideas.

From Elle Marie Home

Some of these I’ve done myself. Others…not. This list is great – and practical!

From Crystal and Comp

I love this idea! The point of the Elf on the Shelf is to report to Santa about your child’s behavior…with these naughty and nice notes, the job is easy!

From The Soccer Mom Blog

This MEGA list of Elf on the Shelf ideas pretty much covers everything you could think of – you’ll never get bored with this list!

From Get Your Holidays On

This list had some ideas that I’ve never seen before – winner!


From Spend With Pennies

This list even includes some reader suggestions for Elf on the Shelf!

From Kids Crafts

Elf Slime? Oh my boys will be ALL OVER that one!

From Paper Heart Family

Are you a busy mom? That’s a silly question…of course you are! This list is FOR YOU.

From Mama Cheaps

My kids love scavenger hunts! I’m TOTALLY doing this idea!!

From Natural Beach Living

Where does a mom spend almost half her time? In the kitchen! These Elf on the Shelf kitchen ideas are great!

From Kids Are A Trip

By now, I think you probably know how much I love EASY elf ideas – here ya go!

From California Unpublished

I love the ideas here! 45 adorable ideas that truly are quick and easy to do.

From Artsy Fartsy Mama

One of the most stressful things about Elf on the Shelf for me is that I’m always “winging it” and trying to come up with ideas. I love this planner to help me get my act together and eliminate my stress.

There ya go! 600+ ideas for elf on the shelf for toddlers – enough to keep you busy for YEARS without even doing every single idea! I hope this post helped make this fun holiday tradition a little easier!

Share YOUR Elf on the Shelf Ideas!

Has your elf done something that deserves to be on the list? Tell me in the comments or send a photo to [email protected]


The post Fun & Clever Elf On The Shelf Ideas For Toddlers appeared first on Made In A Pinch.

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Fun & Clever Elf On The Shelf Ideas For Toddlers


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