An Elf on the Shelf Art Project- and a Round Up of Holiday Freebies!

Elf on the Shelf Art Project Freebie From HeidiSongs
 

I love the Elf on the Shelf book, and my students always LOVE the fun of running into the room and searching for the little stuffed elf each morning when they enter the classroom.  So this year, I decided to create a special Elf on the Shelf art project that the children could each take home and use in the same way!  My inspiration for the project was an old toilet tube Santa project that I used to make with our fifth grade book buddies many years ago called the “Shelf Sitter Santa.”  Unfortunately, it was my fifth grade teacher friend’s project, and I did not have a sample, the patterns, or even a picture, and my memories are dim!!  So I had to start from scratch and make it up myself.

Don’t you love the ears on the elf third from the left? LOL
 

I loved the way my sample came out so much that I sent the picture to one of my Kindergarten teacher friends at my former school and asked her if she would like to make one with her students, and she was excited to give it a try!  I was excited, too, so I arranged to go down and help out for the day.  Ah, it was so much fun to be in a REAL Kindergarten classroom again!  (Remember, I am on a leave of absence this year.)  I have to say that it really felt so natural, like I was “home” again!  I had a BLAST!  Yippee!!!!!

5.5 Elves on Shelf
 

I do miss the little kinders!  Halfway through the morning, one little girl came across the room, wrapped her arms around me and out of the blue said, “I LOVE you!!!!”  (I still don’t know the child’s name!)  Another time, one little boy asked me if I can hear all of the children singing when I am up on the screen (on the DVD.)  I tried to explain that I could not- and why- but he just kept saying, “But WHY NOT????”  He never did “get it!”

To make the elf, the children put it together flat, and then paper clip the legs to the body. An adult needs to glue it to a toilet tube, and then tape the legs inside the tube later.
To make the elf, the children put it together flat, and then paper clip the legs to the body. An adult needs to glue it to a toilet tube, and then tape the legs inside the tube later.
 

I loved seeing the classroom all decorated with many of the kindergarten projects that I helped create, too!  One of my favorites is the reindeer on the wall in the picture below.  To make the elf stay on the reindeer’s back, I put a tongue depressor sized craft stick up the back of the elf inside the toilet tube, and then slipped the stick behind the reindeer.  As long as the reindeer is stapled or pinned down well, the elf stays put!  🙂

Kid's Elf Riding Reindeer
 

To make the elf stay on the wall and ride the reindeer's back, just place a craft stick up inside the tube and slip it behind the reindeer. Make sure the reindeer is stapled down on both sides of the stick.
To make the elf stay on the wall and ride the reindeer’s back, just place a craft stick up inside the tube and slip it behind the reindeer. Make sure the reindeer is stapled down on both sides of the stick.
 

Here is the download for the elf.  I hope that you enjoy it!  If you cannot get enough toilet paper tubes, remember that wrapping paper tubes or paper towel tubes cut down to about four inches each will also work!  The tube that I used for my sample was just slightly over four inches long- it was four and one-sixteenth inches!  So when I cut my paper for the body, I had to cut it just over four inches.

Elf on the Shelf Project Freebie from HeidiSongs!
 

*  By the way, if you use HeidiSongs in your classroom and you feel comfortable suggesting that parents purchase some of our products as educational holiday gifts, I have created a note that you can fill out with your gift suggestions and send home.  Each year, I have given my students HeidiSongs DVD’s as holiday gifts, and I can’t even begin to describe how much more quickly students learn when they are getting their lessons reinforced at home in a fun, easy way!  You can download the note here.

Holiday Letter
 

And here is a round up of all of my best holiday freebies that I can possibly fit into one post!

1.  The Reindeer and the Elf-  These are two of my all time favorite holiday art projects!  I just LOVE them!  You can download them here.

Rudolph and Elves
 

SantaRudolph&Elves1
 

2.  Hanukkah Candle-  I know that it’s too late for this year’s celebration, but you could still save it for next year, right?  I like teaching the children to make patterns on it, too.  You can download it here.

Hanukkah Candle Free Download from HeidiSongs
 

3.  Christmas Guided Drawing-  I just LOVE doing guided drawing with children!  And they are always so pleased to see that, yes- they CAN draw recognizable objects.  Plus, it is great for the development of their visual perception and fine motor skills, plus it fits right into the Common Core State Standards, since they are drawing and composing shapes.  What more could you ask for?  Download it here.

Christmas Guided Drawing Freebie from HeidiSongs
 

4.  Christmas Tree Ornaments Ten Frames 0-30 Matching Sets Cards-  In this set, the children just count the number of ornaments on the tree, and match it to the number on the star at the top of the tree.  Sounds simple, right?  It’s actually much harder than it seems!  My students had a bit of a tough time finding and counting up all of the ornaments correctly, and were much more successful doing this activity as a group.  They had no trouble at all just doing 0-10, of course.  Oh, that Common Core…  We could have kept working on this activity well into February!  I guess that means I also need to make some out of snowflakes and hearts.  🙂  You can download them here. 

Christmas Tree Match Sets Freebie From HeidiSongs
 

If you are short on paper and ink, only print out the ones that you think your students can really do successfully in the amount of time that they have, especially if they are working alone.  My top students needed about 30 minutes to put all of them together from 0-30- and quite a bit of floor space as well, because you really have to spread them out.

5.  Count by Tens Christmas Tree Hat- This little hat is fun and easy to make.  We had our kids write the numbers on it from 10 to 100, counting by tens, but you could have them write anything on there, including sight words or whatever!  Download it here.

Tree Hats Freebie from HeidiSongs!
 


6.  Sight Word Santa Game- Here is a fun little game that I made up to help practice sight words.  All you have to do is copy off the Santa cards with the words on them.  (There are blank cards at the end so that you can customize the game.)  Then you hide a little paper present (also included) under one one of the cards.  Then the children all chant, “Santa, Santa, ho, ho, ho!  Santa, Santa, where did it go?”  Each child in turn has to read a word and pick up the card.  If the present is under that word card, he is the winner!  This game is fun because it is simple and easy.  Download it here.

Sight Word Santa Freebie from HeidiSongs
 

7.  Christmas Worksheets- Here are a few Christmas worksheets that I made a few years back.

Christmas Graph Worksheet:  Here is a fun graph with a Santa, elves, reindeer, and a few presents to count.
Christmas Counting Worksheet: This worksheet gives kids practice counting out quantities from 11-20.   The kids are counting bells this time.
Christmas Tree Color Words Worksheet: This color-by-number worksheet helps kids practice the color words and also the numbers 11-17.

Elf Color Word Worksheet 11-30;  This is a color word worksheet with an elf on it.
Gingerbread Man Counting Worksheet  This is a matching sets worksheet using ten frames with Gingerbread Men inside them.

8.  Christmas Countdown Book- Alright, this one is not free, but since it took so long to prepare and there are so many freebies here, maybe you will forgive me for that?  This is a guided drawing book with each holiday object “started.”  All the kids have to do is trace and then finish the pictures.  The point of the book is to teach the children to count out quantities from 11-20, and also get a little practice counting backwards, too!  At this point in the year, you may want to just teach the song, and then do certain pages of it rather than the whole thing.  This book can be purchased here for five bucks, which includes the mp3 file of the music.  🙂

 

This book is usually “do-able” for most of my students, and it is such fun for the holidays!  (And boy, am I sure glad that no one has “banned” this sort of thing from our schools yet!)

 

9.  Gingerbread Man Project- This is a very simple Gingerbread Man project for the children to decorate any way they (or you!) choose!  I always give my kids tempera paint mixed with white to create pastels and invite them to paint it however they like.  Then I save that paint for February projects!  Download the template here.

Gingerbread Man Project Template Freebie
 

10.  Jingle Bell BANG!- Here is a really fun version of Bang! that you can play with your kids, with a holiday twist!  Again, this one is not free because it took me so long to prepare, but I think it is well worth the five bucks that it costs.  The game helps kids practice sight words, alphabet, numbers 0-30, and counting out quantities from 0-30. It also includes blank cards so that you can modify the game to include your own sight words, etc.  The game can be purchased here.

 

11.  Candy Cane Art Project-  This is a fun and relatively simple project to make!  The kids just have to cut out the pre-traced or xeroxed candy cane, glue on some white strips of paper that are cut too long for the candy cane, and then give the whole thing a “hair cut!”  You can download it here.

Candy Cane Trim
 

Candy Cane Kids
 

12.  Candy Cane Printable Easy Reader-  This is fun little book to read, fill in the missing words, and color for the holidays.  You may want to read the full description on how I made it work, though.  It was trickier than I thought it was going to be!  Download it here.

Candy Cane Book Chart
 

Candy Cane Book Kids
 

13.  Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Freebies- AND one more thing- if you click on this link here, you will find a blog post with three more really great Pete the Cat Christmas themed freebies that my kids really loved.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas Freebie pin
 

I hope you enjoyed this post!  I know that there are MORE holiday freebies on this blog, but frankly, my fingers, back, and neck are TIRED!  LOL!   Please consider signing up for our email updates!  You can also follow this blog on Bloglovin’, and keep in touch with me on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube, too!

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Heidi Butkus

About Heidi Butkus

Heidi Butkus has been teaching in California public schools since 1985. She has somehow managed to stay in Kindergarten all of those years, with the exception of five years in first grade, and also taught a parent participation preschool for a short while! Combining a strong knowledge of brain research with practical experience, Heidi has created a wealth of fun and engaging teaching techniques that work well with diverse populations. She has presented at conferences nationwide, and is the owner and founder of HeidiSongs.com. Heidi has also created fourteen original CD's and DVD's for teaching beginning reading and math skills, three musical plays designed especially for young performers, and has written some picture books and many other teaching resources. Heidi's multimedia workshops are filled with fun and motivational educational activities that have been classroom tested and revised for effectiveness with all types of learners.
  1. Omg, Heidi
    I love you. The Elf on the Shelf project is EXACTLY what I needed. We love our classroom Elf and reading the book each year, however more and more children are beginning to have their own Elf at home which of course leaves those little ones who don’t a little sad. I was planning to search the net today to find a cute one the kids could make and take home. THANK YOU!

  2. Heidi– You are AMAZING! I love you soooo much!
    For so many reasons: your wisdom,experience, talent,generosity, creative ideas. I feel a very strong connection with you…. I began teaching in ’83 when there were NO Kdg report cards… if the kinders could ID 80% of letters, they could go on to 1st Grade. Now look where we are. I’ve had my heals down because ALL my training was against the K we have today. BUT, your posts have guided me thru this transition, & even tho I still feel like we are pushing these babies YOU are a TREMENDOUS help in keeping K as childlike & a wonderland as possible. Bless you. Hang in there! You work hard & are helping so many of us.
    In one of your shipments you handwrote something & your handwriting looked EXACTLY like my dear departed mil whose encouragement & financial support made my teaching degree possible. I felt like I’d been touched by heaven. Sorry for the long post, but you just must know how tremendous you are to me. Love, love, love!! PS: making pastel paint & keeping for valentines day is brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that?

  3. Thank you for sharing your Elf on the Shelf. I’ve already got too many projects ready to complete this week, but will for sure have the kiddos make him next year! I’ve been following you for quite awhile now and have purchased many of your helpful products. Your creativity and sharing of so many projects is appreciated. Happy Hoidays!

  4. I am totally doing the Elf of the Shelf and inserting a photo of the face of each of the office staff! Won’t that be cute sitting in the office? Especially because they are the “elves” of our school. 🙂 Thank you for this great post, Heidi! 🙂
    Palma

  5. I love the elves!!! So cute! Thanks for sharing and all you do for teachers and kids. I was wondering if a Christmas cupcake liner would work for a skirt for a girl elf? I think I’ll try it! Thanks again!!

  6. Love these ideas!!!!!! We have been working on the Christmas countdown book!!! My kiddos love it!!!! I am going to squeeze in the elf project this week!!!!!

  7. I so miss doing these kinds of “craftivities” with my Second Graders! But am determined to bring some of the fun with me to the Fourth Grade! This is perfect to go with our mentor sentence book for next week, “Memoirs of an Elf”! They can put together their own elf to inspire their writing response to the story! Thanks so much for all you share!

    • Hi!
      Well that sounds like a good idea! I know how it feels to miss your preferred grade level. I sure miss my kindergartners! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I will get to go back to K next year!
      See you,
      Heidi

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