We’ve all been there, the last-minute elf panic, wondering what simple but exciting mischief they will get up to that night.
This year, Science Sparks makes the elf antics easy with 24 super simple science based elf ideas and a sprinkle of festive fun to delight elves and children alike.
There’s an elf activity card for each day with full instructions and a list of materials. The ideas include tidying up with static electricity, making an elf zip line and making candy triple in size!!
I’ve tried to make each day as simple as possible with templates for some activities and by only using very basic materials that hopefully you already have at home.
You can print off the whole pack or just a selection of 4 days.
24 days of ideas for the elf
Elf ideas days 1-4
Tidy up time
Leave out a balloon and tissue paper chopped into small bits. These could be cut into candy cane shapes if you want to be extra fancy.
Boiled or not
For this one, boil one egg and leave the other uncooked. The boiled egg will spin more smoothly than the raw one.
What’s inside an elf?
One of my favourite science activities to do with young children is to ask them to draw around themselves and add in organs, skeletons or even muscles. For this activity, draw around your elf on a piece of paper and leave it next to the elf with some pens. The challenge is for children to draw what they think is inside an elf. Will it be human-type organs or bones made from candy canes?
Build a snowman
This activity involves building a snowman from marshmallows, liquid glucose and icing! It’s a fun activity, STEM challenge and snack in one.
Elf Ideas Days 5-8
All you need for this festive optical illusion is a straw or pencil, tape and the template from the downloadable pack.
Reverse the Signs
Use the template to create North Pole signs and leave them out with a glass of water. This is a fun, festive demonstration of refraction.
This is a super simple science activity that shows how gummy sweets seem to grow magically if left in the water! Simply pop the sweets in water and watch what happens.
Set up a science investigation to discover what happens to marshmallows in hot chocolate.
Elf ideas days 9-12
Save the Presents
For this activity, you’ll need some boxes from the recycle bin, bubble wrap and tape. The idea is to create packaging to protect a potato chip/crisp or another delicate object.
Testing this one is the best part. Throw the packaging around with the crisp inside and see if it stays in one piece. Post the package to a friend to take it to the next level.
Festive Food Chains
Cut the arrows and boxes from the template and leave them out with the elf to be put back together!
Imaginary festive food chains are fun, too.
Secret Elf Messages
Backwards messages can be written and read using a mirror. For an extra challenge, ask children to write the message with their non-writing hand.
Sink or Float
This one is easy! Set up a bowl of water and some festive items to test. Use the table in the pack to record results.
Elf ideas days 13-16
Super Snow Angels
For this activity, the elf needs to make snow angels with different items. It’s a bit messy, but worth it!
Super Strong Candy Canes
This activity aims to test how strong a candy cane is by hanging different items from the end. Keep adding until the candy cane snaps.
Elf Zip Line
Set up an elf zip line by tying a string to two points inside or outside. You might need to construct a pipe cleaner harness to hold the elf in place.
Build a simple marshmallow launcher with a cup and a balloon, and leave it with some marshmallows or pom poms for children to experiment with.
Elf Ideas 17-20
Elf Club House
Use materials from the recycle bin to design and build an elf clubhouse. As an additional test, try different materials to find one that makes a roof waterproof.
This colourful skittles display is super easy to set up and looks great too. Experiment with warm and cold water to see which is faster.
What’s that Shadow?
Shadow puppets are a great way to learn that light only travels in straight lines. Use the template or draw your own!
Let the elf build the first tower and challenge the children to make a taller one.
Elf ideas days 21-24
A basic parachute can be made from a square of paper with a section of string tied from each corner. This is also a fun way for the elf to arrive if you want to use this idea for day 1.
Flying Santa Hats
Create a cone Santa hat using red paper. Place the cone on top of an empty milk jug and squeeze hard. The hat will fly up into the air.
This simple flying Santa hat activity is a great way to learn about forces.
Reach the Cookies
For this activity, you need a pack of biscuits or cookies placed somewhere too high for the elf to reach.
Leave some materials around the elf for the children to make a climbing wall, ladder or step to help the elf reach the cookies!
Fly the Elf Plane
Attach the elf to a wall inside a pair of pants ( completely optional ) and leave some paper underneath for children to make the elf a paper plane so he can get down.
Get the full pack of 24 ELF Ideas!
Whether you’re forward planning or looking for last-minute elf ideas, hopefully, you’ve found at least one activity to use!
Last Updated on November 17, 2023 by Emma Vanstone