This year we started Elf on a Shelf with our newly 4 year old daughter! Of course beforehand I ran to Pinterest looking for fun ideas. Unfortunately 75% of the ideas that I found, included some sort of reading to understand the “funny”. I decided that I would document our 1st run of Elf on the Shelf for moms that may need ideas that don’t include, writing or reading.
So we made one big mistake in the beginning. I was in Hobby Lobby with Cassidy the week before Thanksgiving and Cassidy asked me if she could have a small elf ornament. It looked very similar to Elf on the Shelf but was $4.99. I thought – who cares, I’ll save a lot of money, she picked him out, cool. No. I didn’t know the story that went along with Elf on the Shelf, so I let her play with him. She had its head hanging on by a thread before December 1st. Reluctantly, I went to purchase the real deal.
In order to introduce our new Elf to Cassidy, we presented him with the book, some Christmas pajamas and some hot cocoa packets on December 1st. We made sure to read her the book and explain she could not touch him because he would lose his magic. We wove into the story how the new elf had to come help the old one because his head was hurting. Literally hanging on by a thread.
The key to Elf on a Shelf for beginners who cannot read is to make it absolutely obvious what type of mischief he is making. The first night, we opened a dum dum lollipop and propped it up into his hand and dropped some candy wrappers next to him. For an older kid, you frequently see parents spelling words with candy.
Cassidy put an Elf on the Shelf on her Christmas list for Santa this year. We thought it was only fair that Frost put hearts around him and his friends.
On this particular day, Cassidy kept asking what Frost does at night and where he goes to sleep. We decided we would show her what he does when she is sleeping. A hammock out of toilet paper.
Now that Cassidy was starting to realize Frost was nocturnal it was time to step our game up. We brought in reinforcements.
I thought Cassidy would love this but she was so angry that he stole her ducks. She collects them from a local donut shop. It was so funny to me.
Next, we decided to start using different heights to make it harder for her to find him each morning. Above shows Frost hanging from the curtain rod. She found him right away.
This one was cute because Frost went through Cassidys school bag to find this craft she made. She loved it.
After the pantry, I decided to stack some red solo cups like a tower for Frost.
Frost was really enjoying the Rae Dunn home decor.
We started running out of ideas and places to set him, my mom made him a swing and we hung him from the microwave. She really liked this one.
Cassidy still had so much candy leftover from Halloween. Frost said he could take care of it. Only down side to this was that Cassidy now thought the skittles were free game and chowed down before breakfast.
Frost was really missing the cold weather and found refuge in the freezer. Surprisingly, Cassidy found him right away. She’s really good at this game.
One of the best things about starting Elf on a Shelf at this age is that pretend play and role playing is a really big part of play time for kids Cassidys age (4-4.5). A lot of the days when Cassidy finds Frost she comes up with a whole story on what he did during the night. It’s so much fun to hear her creativity. It’s almost like situational story prompts for her to branch off of.
If you are thinking about starting and worried it’s too early, I definitely encourage you to do it. Some days it’s hard because the evenings are hectic and you just want to go to bed, but Darrin and I had so much fun with this.
Each family does Elf departures differently, but Darrin and I decided he would go back to the North Pole with Santa. We wrote a note letting her know he was leaving and would be leaving a present and a selfie he took while she was sleeping.
We took one of her gifts and said it was from Frost – you don’t have to do this but I thought it would be cute.
We used a Santa wrapping paper on this gift only to make it seem real.
I hope everyone enjoys this! I cannot wait to use some of my friend’s guides for next year when Cassidy can read. This has been so much fun. We are going to miss Frost.