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35 BRAND NEW Creative & Funny Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Dollar Tree props!

Oct 24, 2017Dawn

We LOVE Christmas and our Elf on the Self, but we thought it was time for some NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas! The old ones floating around Pinterest are great, but surely he’s gotten tired of them.

So we set out to create some new shenanigans for your Elf on the Shelf for 2017. Our goal was to keep them fairly quick and easy with a few items that you can grab from your local Dollar Tree. (And maybe you already have some of these things anyway!)

 PLEASE NOTE: This post ended up being two pages long! Look for the link at the bottom to go to page 2 for ideas 21-35

We should also add that we made our Elf on the Shelf “bendy” for these pranks. It is simple to do, basically cut open the seams at the ends of his limbs and insert wire. If you would like to see a more detailed tutorial you can google it! There are no shortage of instructions :)

And could I ask a quick favor? If you share on Pinterest, would you mind using this collage image right here? It helps more people find our site. Thank you!!! We greatly appreciate it!! :)

ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! The best NEW creative (EASY & funny) DIY Elf on the Shelf ideas for toddlers through teens each with a Dollar Tree prop! Many with FREE Christmas printable, too! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddlers #DIY #DollarStore

(**Also, if you’re a publisher or content curator we’ll gladly grant permission to use the above image as long as a link back is included, but do not give permission to use any of the individual images below—THANK YOU!!! :)

Free Printable Elf on the Shelf Planning Calendar for 2017

And don’t forget to grab our Free 2017 Printable Planning Calendar for your Elf on the Shelf. A little planning goes a LONG way with this guy ;)

Oh! And if you don’t have an Elf on the Shelf yet, you can find the complete Elf on the Shelf set HERE!

Without further ado, here are 35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for 2017, enjoy!

Elf on the Shelf Idea #1: “I’m BACK!! (But can you help me out?)”

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

 

The Idea: Its fun when Elf on the Shelf comes in with a BANG (literally!). The kids will have fun trying to figure out how he managed to get INSIDE the balloon!
Dollar Store prop: Large Balloons (the ones that come 14 to a pack so it is big enough for him to get inside!)
Instructions: Find Instructions HERE!
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #2: Silly String War

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: This one is quick to set up! Build a couple of walls and place your characters behind them. This one is fun for the adults, too, getting to spray the silly string! Tip: Leave a little silly string left in the cans so that the kids can spray it, too.
Dollar Store prop: Silly String
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #3: Shark Attack!

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: This looks a little more complicated than it was. I laid out the two strings and then taped the popsicle sticks in place to create the bridge. If you have boys at home you probably have a shark, snake or something else “scary” to put in the water. Our shark is a bath tub toy from Amazon, you can see it here–the kids have a lot of fun with it.
Dollar Store prop: Popsicle Sticks
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #4: Garage Sale with Printable Sign

 

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore #Printable

The Idea: We took a bunch of our children’s toys (especially their most prized ones!) and set up like Elf was having a garage sale. It was complete with sale stickers and a sign that says that he needs to make room for new toys- you can imagine their horror!
Dollar Store prop: Garage sale stickers
Free Printable: Click here for the printable garage sale sign!
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #5: I Mustache Have You Been Good?

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

 

The Idea: These mustaches from the Dollar Tree are really fun. They have sticky backs so this is really quick to set up. Round up some dolls or stuffed animals and stick them on!
Dollar Store prop: Sticky Mustaches (in the toy aisle)
Free Printable: Click here for the printable mustache sign!
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #6: Post-It Note Game

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Our kids thought this was the greatest! We assigned each of our four kids a color by writing their first initial on a post it. We placed those with Elf and the sign and distributed the rest around the kitchen. We put the younger kids’ lower and made the older kids’ higher and harder. It was fun watching them try and figure out how to get them down!
Dollar Store prop: Post-Its (one package has 400, that was plenty!)
Free Printable: Click here for the printable directions sign (and more pictures, this one was really fun!)
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #7: Elf Coffee House

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Well it should be no surprise that elves need coffee to get their day going, too! This was one of our kids’ favorites! Probably because they’ve never seen the coffee pot WITHOUT real coffee in it in the morning, so they were SURE that elf was in trouble!

They loved getting to taste his coffee and were delighted to see that his coffee grounds were so colorful (and tasted a lot like nerds ;). Just add fruit punch to the pot and nerds to the coffee filter and you’re set! (And I’m often asked if we like our Ninja Coffee Bar (I bought it from Amazon HERE)–YES! Especially if you like stronger coffee or making iced coffee. It would also make a great gift for a coffee lover in your life!)
Dollar Store prop: Nerds and fruit punch
Free Printable: Click here for the printable elf coffee package!
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #8: Snowman Family-ature

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year!! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Making the shaving cream snowmen was really fun. I can’t remember the last time I touched shaving cream, but it was softer and thicker than I remembered. We made a snowman for each member of our family. Then we added faces made out of fuse beads and the picture was done!
Dollar Store prop: Shaving Cream (and fuse beads if you don’t have them at home)
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #9: Want to Grow Some Friends?

BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: This was another of the kids’ favorites. Basically, anytime Elf was inviting them to do something they couldn’t get enough of it! These little grow capsules are fun. We used shot glasses from the Dollar Store to grow them in but you could use any dish. If you haven’t used them before, they take a few minutes to “grow,” so wait to put them in the water until near show time.
Dollar Store prop: Grow capsules (optional: plastic shot glasses)
Free Printable: Click here for the printable grow friends sign!
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #10: Ouch!!

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Oh no! Elf took a tumble down the steps! Good thing he has lots of fun band aids for his bumps and bruises. Another easy one when time (and energy!) is limited.
Dollar Store prop: Character Band Aids
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #11: Nanny Elf to Lego Men

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStoreThe Idea: Elf is showing his sensitive side here! The kids went CRAZY over this one…what is it about tiny things that appeal to them? Even the boys liked pushing the lego men in the little strollers! For the baby blankets I just cut up some little scraps of fabric…nothing special!
Dollar Store prop: Baby Shower Decorations: Mini Strollers & Baby Bottles
Set-up Time: Less than 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #12: Shrinking Machine

35 ALL NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: Whoa! Big cookies are going in and LITTLE cookies are coming out!!! I don’t know what the fascination is with tiny things, but the kids were AMAZED at this one and had fun hypothesizing how the machine “works”.
Dollar Store prop: Large fudge stripe cookies & mini fudge stripe cookies (would work with Oreos/mini oreos or large and small candy canes, too!)
Free Printable: You can find the Shrinking Machine sign HERE & more pictures of creating it!
Set-up Time: About 15 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #13: Elf’s Book Club

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: Pipe cleaners have to be one of the best inventions ever! We shaped them into glasses so that everyone could see well. And we were so glad to see that our elf on the shelf has a value for reading! ;) The kids had fun afterward putting on the “glasses” and reading the books.
Dollar Store prop: Pipe Cleaners (I also got the red pair of glasses that the polar bear is wearing there)
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #14: Toilet Paper Fun

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Can you believe this is less than two rolls of toilet paper!?! When you’re inside it doesn’t take much T.P. to make a big impact. My husband had a ton of fun this one (I think he was having flashbacks to his teen years) and it took very little time to clean up.
Dollar Store prop: Toilet Paper
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #15: Bubble Party

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: Oh elf, what will you think of next!?! I was trying to figure out a setting to make bubbles in the dishwasher, but then decided it would probably be easier to make them in the sink. So I put some hot water and bubble bath in the sink and used the sprayer to make a bunch of bubbles. Then I transported them to the dishwasher for the bubble party. (Afterward I put the breakfast dishes in and ran a normal cycle- they came out fine!). 

Oh, and if the kids really want to blow bubbles afterward I usually let them blow them into the bath tub. It doesn’t seem to harm anything!
Dollar Store prop: Bubbles (they come in a three pack)
Set-up Time: About 10 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #16: North Pole Santa Cam

 

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #PrintableThe Idea: Are you ever amazed by what they carry at the Dollar Store!?! Like this little lens that is meant to clip onto your cell phone but works PERFECTLY for a North Pole Cam! It even has a clip on it which makes attaching it to the tree a breeze, and I added the red USB chord to look like a power cord…VERY convincing!!!
Dollar Store prop:
Cell phone camera lens & USB cord
Free Printable:
Click here for the printable North Pole Cam lens surround & more pictures!
Set-up Time:
About 5 minutes

 

Elf on the Shelf Idea #17: Music Lessons

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: Elf is showing his musical side this morning! This was really fun to set up. I should note that anytime Elf’s hands need to be stuck to something I just used a small loop of packing tape and it seems to work well.
Dollar Store prop: Mini Recorders (with the party favors–the guitar is from the Dollar Tree as well)
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes 

Elf on the Shelf Idea #18: Elf Goes Postal

 

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! # Printable #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore
The Idea: Oh no, where is elf now? The note on the door says that he found a new way to get to the North Pole??? And it has stamps and post office markings on it? That silly elf is in the mail box!!
Dollar Store prop: Padded Mailing Envelope
Free Printable: Click here for the printable sign!
Set-up Time: Less than 10 minutess 

Elf on the Shelf Idea #19: Balloon Ride to the North Pole

 

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #Printables

The Idea: What!?! It looks like Elf took ALL of the ornaments off of the big tree and put them on HIS tree!! Tip: We couldn’t fit all of our ornaments on the little tree so I stuck those in a box and set them aside so it LOOKED like he stole them all! The best part: the kids LOVE decorating the tree and had SO much fun putting them back on the big tree :)
Dollar Store prop: Mini Christmas Tree
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes

Elf on the Shelf Idea #20:

35 BRAND NEW Elf on the Shelf ideas for this year! These fun, creative & EASY Elf on the Shelf ideas all include an item from the Dollar Tree! #Christmas #ElfOnTheShelf #Ideas #Easy #Funny #Toddler #DIY #DollarStore

The Idea: I guess even elves have accidents! Tip: Use school glue to make an invisible ring to contain the “pee” otherwise it may run off all sides of the toilet…ewww!
Dollar Store prop: Yellow Gatorade
Set-up Time: About 5 minutes 

Elf on the Shelf Idea #21: Gum Ball Games

3d Brand new Elf on the Shelf ideas! Click here to see ideas 21-35!

 — Continued on next page! –> 

Related Posts: MORE NEW Elf on the Shelf Ideas!

If you’re Elf on the Shelf gets stuck in a poor place where he can’t stay all day (like an ice block in the middle of the bathtub!), you’ll definitely need one of these! The Magic Elf on the Shelf Moving Glove:

DIY Magic Elf Moving Glove, how to move your Elf on the Shelf if he gets stuck in a poor place! Make this glove in under 5 minutes! Includes printable package, too! #ElfontheShelf #Christmas #Ideas #Easy #Quick #Toddler

Plus, if you’re running short on time, you’ll love these ideas! Free printable hiding clues:

SUPER EASY Elf on the Shelf Ideas! These are ALL NEW printable clues, quick to do each night but FUN for your kids to decipher! #Elf #Shelf #ElfontheShelf #New #Funny #Quick #Easy #Ideas #Christmas

And it seems that my husband got in the spirit of Elf on the Shelf as well, here is his take on it! 5 New Redneck Elf on the Shelf ideas (and yes, he really put minnows in our bath tub!) See it here:

New! 5 Redneck Elf on the Shelf Ideas--these are REALLY FUNNY! #ElfontheShelf #Ideas #New #Redneck #Boys #Easy #Qucik

And check out this really FUN spin on Christmas Gingerbread Houses: Emoji Houses! Your older kids will LOVE making these!:This is a SUPER FUN twist on Christmas Gingerbread Houses! Perfect for older kids, includes directions to make the graham cracker gingerbread houses, plus decorations & ideas! #Emoji #Birthday #Party #Ideas #Decorations #Gingerbread #Houses #Easy #DIY

And while this has nothing to do with your Elf on the Shelf, it is one of our most popular posts right now and super fun! DIY Gingerbread House Kits, includes a free printable topper with instructions and ideas!

DIY Gingerbread House Decorating Kit with instructions & Ideas!

 — Or, continue to ideas 21-35 on the next page! –> 

Comments (28)

  • Molly

    Dec 15, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Great ideas, but what do you do when the elf is in a position where he/she can’t stay all day (toilet paper, stairs, dishwasher, etc)? I thought the rule was “don’t touch the elf or the magic will go away.” What’s your workaround?

  • Jen Klassen

    Nov 29, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Looking for the printable for #12? I’m “winning a prize” when I click the link…

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:52 pm

      I’m having to check this out, I was experiencing the same thing when I tested the link on my phone, BUT it does seem to work ok on desktop computers. I hope to have this resolved SOON!

  • Debra

    Nov 23, 2017 at 4:19 am

    Where are the instructions for getting the elf in the balloon?

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      The instructions are up! I’ve heard that the link hasn’t been working great on mobile devices, but it definitely works on desktop computers!

  • Your Complete Guide to Elf on the Shelf – Crazy Happy Mom Life

    Nov 22, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    […] 35 Elf on the Shelf Ideas with Dollar Tree Props from I think we could be friends http://www.ithinkwecouldbefriends.com/2017/10/24/brand-new-creative-easy-elf-shelf-ideas/ […]

  • Bethany

    Nov 20, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    I do not see a link to idea #1 to place the elf in the balloon. Am I missing something? Awesome ideas – can’t wait to try these this year!

    1. Nana

      Nov 21, 2017 at 11:57 pm

      I haven’t tried it yet but It says to buy the large balloons (16 in a pack) so that it’s big enough to have him fit inside!?

      1. Dawn

        Dawn

        Nov 30, 2017 at 12:57 pm

        Yes! That should be plenty big enough for him to fit inside. Its easiest if you have a second set of hands to help hold him, but I’ve done it by myself just fine, too, balloons are surprisingly stretchy!!

    2. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      The instructions are up! I’ve heard that the link hasn’t been working great on mobile devices, but it definitely works on desktop computers!

    3. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:54 pm

      The instructions are up! I’ve heard that the link hasn’t been working great on mobile devices, but it definitely works on desktop computers!

  • Buffy Moore

    Nov 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    For idea #1 it says there are instructions inside. I can’t find a clickable link nor do I see instructions for inside the balloon. Maybe I just haven’t had enough caffeine yet??

    1. Tracey

      Nov 21, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      I was wondering the same thing?!?

      1. Dawn

        Dawn

        Nov 30, 2017 at 12:47 pm

        The instructions are up! I’ve heard that the link hasn’t been working great on mobile devices, but it definitely works on desktop computers!

    2. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      The instructions are up! I’ve heard that the link hasn’t been working great on mobile devices, but it definitely works on desktop computers!

  • Keitha

    Nov 16, 2017 at 12:36 pm

    Great ideas! Our elf has been visiting since 2011. He is running out of ideas and will be using a few of yours this holiday season. Our elf looks a little different and sometimes like to bring educational activities to our house. https://www.pinterest.com/keithas/cutesy-the-elf/ Thanks for sharing!

  • Annie

    Nov 16, 2017 at 6:44 am

    These are brilliant. This will be my 5th year of elfing. I’ve developed quite an audience, and have been worried about letting them down, having used so many of my best ideas already. You’ve now given me enough fresh ideas to keep everyone happy :D. Thank you!!

  • Kimberly

    Nov 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    These are great, but some of the printable links aren’t working.

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 15, 2017 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks for letting me know! They should be all fixed now :)

  • Tamara Gerber

    Nov 10, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Huge Elf fan… thanks for some cute ideas! It’s going to be the 6th season!

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 15, 2017 at 7:24 pm

      6th season!?! That’s AWESOME!! Have you repeated any ideas from the first couple of years??? :)

      1. Tamara Gerber

        Nov 16, 2017 at 7:14 pm

        I haven’t repeated anything so far, but it’s getting harder every year. That’s why I love posts like yours!

        This year our Elf is having “surgery”: the lady who makes alterations for our clothes, is making our Elf bendable. This will open new and exciting possibilities!

        https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/2016/12/cookie-our-elf-on-shelf-2016-week-1.html

  • keri

    Nov 9, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Need the link to #22! Not working! Thanks, these are great!

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 15, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      It should be working now, thanks for letting me know!!! :)

  • Jessica

    Nov 9, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    How do you get the elf to stay standing or sitting?? Did you to do anything special to make him “flexible”?

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm

      Hi Jessica! I mention it in the beginning, but it’s easy to miss, we did make our elf “bendy”…basically cut open the ends of his limbs and stick wire in. There are a bunch of tutorials out there if you google it…definitely not difficult!!

  • Katie Walsh

    Nov 8, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    Excellent ideas! Can’t wait to see the last 12. Calendar is super cute too!

    1. Dawn

      Dawn

      Nov 30, 2017 at 12:36 pm

      All of the ideas are up now! Note, I did have to spread them out over two pages, so there is a link to get to the second page :)

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