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6 Fun Academic Ideas for Your Elf on the Shelf Adventures

Kids love Elf on the Shelf and let’s face it, it is a fun extra classroom management tool during the festive season.


We have shared loads of ways you can have fun with your Elf on the Shelf in your classroom here. But we wanted to dedicate today’s blog post on ways you can use Elf as a tool to introduce or get kids excited about an academic learning activity.

Keep reading to get your free ‘This classroom is under Elf Surveillance’ poster and Elf on the Shelf Checklist at the end.


The ideas are endless when writing about or with your class Elf on the Shelf. Maybe it is a Santa’s workshop job application, a description of your elf, a story where the hero is the class elf or even a persuasive text such as, “Should Santa send his Elves out to watch children or keep them in the workshop to help him prepare for Christmas.”


We even like the idea of setting up a writing workshop during reading groups and have elf host the centre and activity.

We have some free Christmas Creative Writing prompts here. All you need to do is print and go!Free Christmas Writing task - Elf on the Shelf ideas

Click here for FREE writing task


Number of the day is great for a warmup, maths centre or a lesson entirely on its own.

Set up your Elf on the Shelf so they are holding a number that the students need to use to complete their number of the day activity. You can grab a free template here or a Christmas version of Number of the Day here.

Christmas Number of the Day with Elf on the Shelf


What better time is there to remind our students of the power of kindness? Using your Elf on the Shelf is a great way to get started by him/her leaving kind notes for your students. We often use ‘Elf’s kind messages’ to lead into our Class Kindness Kris Kringle.Elf with a Kindness Campaign

Grab this free template (pictured above) to help your students to start writing kind notes to each other.


You could also set up your Elf so they can challenge your class to undertaking more kind acts (big and small). It could be through a Kindness Advent calendar (like the photo below) or by Elf setting up some Christmas themed Kindness flyers (find free ones here).

Elf with Kindness Advent Calendar


If you are looking for more Kindness at Christmas inspo, we have dedicated an entire blog post to ideas here.


Kids love stem challenges and Christmas is such a fun time of year to keep them in theme. We always look to the experts when it comes to great STEM resources and one of our fav’s is Jewel from Jewel’s School Gems.

This 12 Days of Christmas resource has Christmas STEM challenges, a scavenger hunt, and quiz! Find it here.

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Build a Christmas tree challenge


A crack the code mystery is a series of codes that need to be worked out using knowledge and skills to solve a problem. It is always a lot of fun because students have a purpose for completing the tasks and therefore solving the mystery. Our students have always said it was so much fun that it doesn’t even feel like learning!

Have your class Elf on the Shelf bring the code cracker as an exciting Christmas lesson.

We have a code cracker that needs solving to find out ‘Who is the Christmas Present Thief?’ Included in the set are 5 codes for students to crack. Each code contains a clue which helps the students eliminate the suspects, leaving only one. Grab your free copy of our Christmas Code Cracker here.
Christmas code cracker task - FREE


Every Elf comes with the ‘Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition’ storybook. Make the most of the book by reading it to your class, using it as a text during reading groups or having it as part of our class library for students to borrow and read.

You could also ask students to complete a book report about the story too (if you teach younger students). We have a free Christmas book report template here.

Elf on the shelf at schoolPhoto credit @learn.with.laura


Having Elf as another member of your class community during the festive season is always lots of fun. We love including Elf on the Shelf in the academic parts of the day to encourage and motivate students. Let us know if you try any of these ideas out in your classroom!


Before you go, grab your free Elf Checklist, classroom poster and student activity. Class Elf Freebie

To save these ideas for later, pin the image below.

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What to read next:

Christmas Gift Guide for Teachers

Inexpensive Gift Ideas for Students

Ways to give your Reading Groups a festive twist

25 Ideas for Elf on the Shelf

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