20 Nice {Not Naughty} Elf on the Shelf Ideas

We have so much fun with our Elf on the Shelf.  It has become a great source of magic and excitement in our house during the holidays.  I have seen a lot of naughty elves on the web... but our "Elfie" is a nice elf.  I think he knows I have enough to do without cleaning up his messes.  lol

Here are 20 things our "Elfie" has done:
{Click on the titles for more info...where available.}

1)  Letter from Santa in November... "Elfie is coming soon!".  

2)  Elfie brings a special advent calendar.  {Click the link for more info.}

3)  Magic Elf Seeds.  {Click the link for more info.}

4)  Magic Elf Key {with free printable key tag}.  {Click the link for more info... and a free download.}

5)  Elfie draws a picture.

6)  Elfie spends some with Santa and his Reindeer.

7)  Elfie hides in the light fixture... not touching the lightbulb.  :-)

8)  Elfie hides in the shower.

9)  Elfie takes a nap... in a kleenex box.

10)  Elfie spells his name with blocks.

11)  Elfie hides among the Christmas tree ornamements.

12)  Elfie brings a Christmas movie {on family movie night}... and brings his own popcorn.

13)  Elfie builds a snowman out of marshmallows... and brings a tiny elf note answering questions about "Elf life".

14)  Elfie brings a special treat... marshmallow pops.

15)  Elfie brings a chocolate elf.

16)  Elfie gets his own Christmas stocking.

17)  Elfie brings a letter from Santa letting us know that we have a video from Santa in our email.

18)  Elf Kiss... with free printable.  {Click the link for more info, and a free download.}

19)  Elfie says "Happy Birthday!".  Elfie gets special permission from Santa for an early "birthday" visit.  {Click the link for more info.}

20)  Elfie says "goodbye"... leaving us the "Elf on the Shelf" movie and a tiny goodbye note.

Is your Elf on the Shelf naughty or nice... or maybe a little bit of both? 

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Elf on the Shelf Christmas Countdown

Do you do a countdown to Christmas?  Well... this year, our Elf on the Shelf saved us the trouble of making an advent calendar... he made one for us.

While we were sleeping, "Elfie" dug out our Christmas books and movies, wrapped each one, and created a Christmas countdown for us.  He even numbered them 1-24 so that we would know when to open each one.  I have a feeling that the one for Christmas Eve might be "The Night Before Christmas".  {wink!} 

Isn't this a fun Elf on the Shelf idea?  What is your favorite way to count down to the big day?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

And you can find MORE Elf on the Shelf ideas here.

Santa Beard - Preschooler Craft

When crafting with a group of preschoolers, I like to keep things simple.  If small children have to wait around for a lot of help, they will lose interest and move on to something else.  I also love a craft that turns into something kids can play with after they have made it. This Santa beard craft is definitely a simple and fun craft, and kids love it!

Isn't it adorable? Can't you just hear my little guy say, "ho ho ho"?

To make a Santa beard, it is best to do a little "prep work" before involving the little ones.  First, print out the beard template, which you can find here*, and cut it out if the kids are too young to do it themselves. The hole for the mouth can be tricky for little ones.

*If you have trouble with the download: click on the photo of the beard below, right-click, save it to your computer, size it so that you can fit two beards on a regular-sized piece of cardstock, and print it.

Then, tape a popsicle stick to the back of the beard. (White duct tape works best.)

Now it is time to involve the preschooler.  Just let him/her glue cotton balls all over the beard.  What preschooler doesn't love a craft that involves lots of glue?

This Santa beard craft is a definitely a crowd pleaser. It's an easy craft to make, and it is fun for little ones to "play Santa" over the holidays.  Do you have a favorite holiday craft to make with Preschoolers?

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

PS - You can find more Christmas crafts and activities here.

Letter Writing to Santa Party/Fundraiser

Last weekend, the boys hosted their 2nd Annual "Letter Writing to Santa" party/fundraiser.  This year, they were able to donate $187.55 to a local children's hospital.  I am so proud of them! 

Want to throw a similar party with your little ones?  Here's what we did...

As guests arrived, they were given the supplies needed to write a letter to Santa and a fun paper Santa beard.

As the children were writing their letters, they were given some juice and a cookie baked with love by Mrs. Claus.  :-)

Then, each guest made a little craft and some magic reindeer food.

Isn't this a fun way to teach children about "giving back" during the holiday season?  I can't wait to do it again next year!
Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

* You can find me on facebook here.

Elfie Arrives... a little early

Our Elf on the Shelf {aka "Elfie"} arrives every year on December 1st.  It is always a very exciting event for my boys.  But... this year, Elfie arrived early.  :-)

This year, our sweet little elf got special permission from Santa to come early to wish my son a very Happy 7th Birthday.  It was all explained in the letter he brought with him. 

I got the stationary here.

Isn't he a great elf?  I can't wait to see what other surprises Elfie has in store for us this year. 

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Check out a fun idea for an Elf on the Shelf arrival breakfast here.

DIY Star Wars Party

All three of my boys are huge Star Wars fans, so it isn't surprising that my oldest son requested a Star Wars theme for his 7th birthday party. Today, I am sharing all the fun DIY details of the super-fun "Jedi Training Academy" I hosted for my son and his little Jedi friends.

Here's what we did....

1)  We set the mood with a fun invitation. {You can get the full tutorial for it here.}

2)  As guests arrived, they colored their own Jedi Academy Security Badge {which I made by scanning a page out of one of their coloring books}.

3)  We played a little "Freeze Dance" to Star Wars music, and then we took a break for dinner, cake and cookies.

4)  After everyone finished eating, it was time for some lightsaber training. The kids balanced balloons on their lightsabers, my husband gave them some "formal" instruction, and they took a final "test" by fighting Darth Vader... who was actually my five year old.  {You can find the tutorial for the pool noodle lightsabers here.}

5)  The final activity was to "Destroy the Death Star" aka break open the pinata.  {You can find the full tutorial for the pinata here.}

Finally, it was time for the new Jedi to:

...receive their Graduation Certificates

...have a quick "photo op"

...and collect their treat bags.

My son loved his party, and all the kids had a great time.  Isn't Star Wars a great theme for a party?  

Gina Bell (aka East Coast Mommy)

Find more easy and inexpensive DIY party ideas here.

Don't miss any of the fun....