How To Prepare Your Students For Elf On The Shelf
You need to plan the best way to introduce your students to your classroom elf. It can be a fun surprise, but the students will enjoy it more if they understand what is going on.
Prepare the classroom by adding some elf themed decorations. You can also read your students a book about elves to set the scene for the upcoming festive fun.
You could also tie in some festive games throughout the month of December.
You could wrap up the elf and make it look like you have received a special delivery from Santa. Open the elf package in front of the children and read out the letter that Santa included with the elf.
Within the letter will be an explanation that Santa has sent the elf to keep an eye on the students in the run up to Christmas and report back to him.
He can warn the students that elves are known for their mischief and can themselves into some interesting scrapes! But the elf only moves at night, or when nobody is watching.
The letter from Santa might include a name, or Santa might tell the students that they can come up with their own name for the elf. This would create the opportunity for a fun activity as a class.
Naming Your Classroom Elf
If you want your students to name the elf, you can turn this into a fun activity. You could come up with several suggestions and hold a vote. ‘
You could split the class into teams and ask each team to agree on a suggested name, then put the names into a hat and pick one.
You could also play a festive game, like pin the tail on the reindeer, and let the winner choose the name of the elf.
Here are some great ideas for fun elf names for your classroom elf:
You can also use elf names from movies, like Buddy the elf.
Elf On The Shelf Rules
Included with the letter will be a set of rules that you can also read out to the class, and maybe pin up in the classroom so students can read them again whenever they want to.
You can adjust these rules to suit your students and how you want to to organize your elf on the shelf activities.
It could include not touching the elf (you don’t want the students to disturb your arrangements before everyone has had a chance to see it). Make sure you include good behavior – the elf is always watching.
Top Tips For Elf On The Shelf
Before you start your elf on the shelf, here are some top tips that you should remember to make the process easier for you.
Buy Multiple Elves
Prepare yourself with multiple elves that look identical. You never know when your elf will get damaged or dirty.
If you don’t have a replacement elf then your students will wonder where the elf went, and it might take several days for you to find a replacement.
Stick To A Schedule
You don’t want the elf to become too big of a distraction in the classroom. Make sure you keep clear boundaries between the festive fun and the lessons, so that your students can still learn and excel during the holiday season.
It is best to let the students know what days the elf will be there, so they know when to expect fun and when to focus on studying.
Explain The Behaviour
Sometimes the elf will do something naughty or dangerous. Perhaps they touch something they shouldn’t have, or climb up somewhere unsafe.
Make sure you take the time to explain why this is wrong to discourage the students from copying this behavior. You want to use the elf to improve behavior, not make it worse.
Make sure you plan ahead and come up with a list of things that you can do with your elf. This will make it less stressful and take the pressure off, so you can balance the festive fun with your teaching responsibilities.
Try to alternate between hiding places, activities and trouble (more on this later!). You will also be able to buy any props or extra bits and bobs that you might need,
Take a photograph of the elf before your students come so that you can keep a log of your elf adventure.
You should also take some photographs of the students reacting to the elf as these will make lovely memories. You could also send some copies to the parents so they can see how much fun their children are having.
The Best Hiding Places For Your Classroom Elf
There are lots of different places that your classroom elf might hide. The trend is called ‘Elf On The Shelf’, but they end up all over the classroom. The elf might be in plain sight, or somewhere more difficult to spot.
Here are some great ideas that you can try out in your classroom.
Elf On The Shelf
This elf is quite easy to spot. At least once during the month you should leave your elf on the shelf so that the hiding place fits with the name.
You could leave the elf just poking out from behind one of the objects on the shelf so that it makes it slightly more tricky.
Elf On The Globe
If you have a globe in your classroom then this is a great spot for your elf to hide. Make sure that the elf is pointing to the North Pole, showing the students where he comes from.
You could also add some tinsel or glitter to the globe to show that the elf has been tinkering!
Elf On The Flag
If you have a flag in your classroom then why don’t you try perching the elf next to it? The red and white of the elf costume will blend in with the red and white on the flag, making it much harder to spot the elf.
Elf On The Door
If you want to create a bit of a trickier challenge for your students you can put your elf in an elevated position. This will make the elf harder to spot and will cause a lot of laughs. You could even make the elf dangle upside down for even more comedic effect.
Elf On The light
There are lots of ways that you can hide your elf up by the light. You need to make sure that you don’t cause a fire hazard.
If it’s not safe to suspend the elf from the light fitting you can hang a paper lantern and put the elf inside, leaving his head and shoulders poking out of the top. Alternatively, you could let the legs dangle from the bottom.
Elf On The Clock
If you have a clock in your classroom, you can attach the elf to it. They could be sitting on top, climbing the side of the clock, or even dangling from underneath it.
You could also add a note saying ‘counting down to Christmas’. If the students don’t spot the elf straight away, ask them what the time is to encourage them to look at the clock.
The Best Activities For Your Classroom Elf
You don’t always have to hide your elf. You can leave them in plain sight so the students can see the elf completing an activity.
This will cause a lot of laughs and can be really fun for the students. There are lots of activities that you can try for your elf, and they are easy to do.
Place your elf on the bookshelf and let them read a book. You can choose a book that is a favorite with the students. Lean the elf over the book so that they are clearly enjoying it.
This activity is really easy and you can also use it to encourage the children to read more.
All you need is a rectangle of colored paper or felt to create a small yoga mat for your classroom elf. You can put them in a simple and recognisable yoga position (like upward dog).
Make sure you choose a position that the elf can be balanced in, or it could fall over and ruin the funny scene for the students. You can use some double sided tape if you need to give the elf some support.
You can make some easy Christmas themed items out of play-doh and then pretend that the elf made them.
Leave the elf next to the play-doh with the items and maybe even some scraps of play-doh to make it look like the elf made a bit of a mess. You could lead this into an arts and crafts session where the students also make their own items out of play-doh.
If you have some board games in the classroom you can set up a game with your elf. This works well with two elves, but you could also use the classroom elf and a plushie, or a different type of figurine.
Perhaps the elf has a mysterious play date who has already left by the time the students find the elf.
Hook A Duck Elf
Hook A Duck is a fun fairground activity, and your classroom elf can play it too! If you have a sink in your classroom you can use this, but if not then you can use a bucket or a large bowl of water.
You will need to get hold of some rubber ducks (or plastic ducks). You might also want a few more props like a fishing rod. You could use some food coloring and some glitter to change the color of the water to create a magical pond.
This takes a little bit more time to set up, but it’s worth the effort. You will need a miniature canvas and easel (unless you are able to make them yourself).
You can create a small paintbrush and palette out of cardboard and add the colors, and sit the elf down at the easel. The elf can be painting a self-portrait, or a Christmas scene.
If there are other toys in the classroom, you could make the elf interact with them. Perhaps they brush a doll’s hair, or straighten a teddy bear’s bow tie?
You could set up a picnic with all of the toys and the elf, or make it look like they all had a sleepover, or even a party. You could make an example of the elf playing nicely with the other toys to show the students that they should be kind to each other.
After all of the fun activities, your classroom elf might need a little nap. You can make a hammock between some of the shelves or cupboards in your classroom for the elf to sleep in, and even give them a sleep mask and a blanket.
When the students find the elf, make sure they speak quietly so they disturb naptime!
The Best Ways For Your Elf To Get Into Trouble In The Classroom
Your classroom elf needs to live up to their mischievous reputation by getting into some trouble.
These scenarios are the ones that will make your students laugh the most, so make sure that you take the time to create some fun scenes!
Perhaps your classroom has found their way into your sticker supply? Maybe they want to prove that they are the best behaved elf and award themselves lots of stickers.
Make sure that the stickers are removable, or you will make a mess of your elf and their clothes!
Naughty & Nice List
Your classroom elf has been sent by Santa to keep an eye on everyone and make sure that they have been good enough to get their Christmas presents.
Perhaps the elf makes a naughty and nice list based on what they have seen. It can be funny to put the teacher’s name on the naughty list and the students on the good list.
If you have any students that are misbehaving, you could put them on an ‘undecided’ list to encourage them to improve their behaivour.
Your classroom elf could have a bit of an adventurous streak. Maybe they are swinging on the Christmas lights, or climbing up one of the bulletin boards?
Make sure you tell the students that the elf is being reckless and it’s not a good idea to copy them, or you could end up with some overly adventurous children on your hands!
Maybe your classroom elf found their way into the craft cupboard and made a snow angel out of glitter? Or you can use some colorful sprinkles from the baking section of the grocery store.
There will be a bit of mess to clean up, but it will create a magical scene for the students to find when they arrive at the classroom in the morning.
You can use elf jail to encourage your students to behave better. Trap the elf inside a storage crate or an upside down storage basket and create an elf jail sign.
Tell the students that they can free the elf with good behaivour. You could also use kind deeds, test scores, or whatever else that you think your students need motivation with.
Thank you for reading our article on the most creative ways to use your Elf on the Shelf! Any of these ideas will have your class super excited for the festive period, and it’ll be sure to put a smile on all of your faces.
Now you’ve been inspired with these ideas, the only thing left to do is decide which you’re going to use first!
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