Posted in Christmas Activites

How to Elf on the Shelf like a Master!

When my son was 4 years old I came across this wonderful Christmas idea where in December an elf arrives at your house to watch your children for the month… I don’t need to fully explain elf on the shelf here… if you are reading this post chances are you are looking for inspiration and thinking why the hell did I start this?!!

I consider myself as an elf master. What gives me that right? Well… I was elf on the shelving much before it became a mainstream thing in the UK. When I started nobody on my Facebook knew what it was. Sure enough though people loved the posts about our elf Alfie causing mayhem in the run up to Christmas. My son was literally bursting with excitement every December morning.

Now I can be a bit of perfectionist with things so no half hearted elf effort was going on in my house! In total I completed 5 years of elf magic – that’s some serious planning! However when my son this year uttered the words I know about Santa my heart broke a little as much for the end of Alfie as it did for this. Out the other side of this I thought I would tell you guys some of my favourite ideas and what I consider the best way to elf on the shelf without loosing your mind!!

My son was Five when I first heard about this so we only started it then (silently breathing a sigh of relief). I know many who are starting at three! That’s seven years planning guys… but I get that you want in and are excited! At three your kid has no idea or concept of time. Do yourself a favour and have him arrive on the 15th – that applies to until they start school and of course then you won’t get away with this as others in the class will be chatting about theirs.

Only move him the first year… make it a game of ‘find the elf’. Don’t over complicate things when at such a young age they can’t fully appreciate your efforts.

Year two… have him move but only do good things. This is where my confusion came in with elf on the shelf… this little dude comes to watch your behaviour and report back to Santa yet the little s*** is causing absolute carnage! Ha ha! Talk about double standards!

Year three onwards (age five) I think then is the time to up your game. Your child is older and will appreciate the naughty behaviour and be shocked by it. But again don’t max out your ideas… save the best ones until a few years in.

Now I know some people have like a full on calendar planned but sometimes life gets in the way and the idea you had for a particular night is no longer practical. So I kept a list of ideas in my phone instead. I did ‘elf’ shopping towards the end of November and picked up any bits I then needed along the way.

Now I will share 30 of my favourite elf ideas I did along the way. I also asked my son which he remembers best and of course it’s the ones where he was extra naughty, ha ha!

1. Think about your elf’s arrival! I think the year we did North Pole breakfast was a favourite.

2. Simple ideas like this with photos are great! Also you could use a white board marker or simply turn pictures upside down.

3. Feeding the ducks… definitely one younger children will like.

3. Did you know elves only drink green elf milk?! Food colouring is obviously your friend here. My son looked for ages to find him this morning!

4. I took too long getting the decorations out so Alfie did it for us creating a right mess! (I must be mad!)

5. Have your elf make breakfast… if you don’t mind cleaning the mess ha ha! My son loved this one!

6. When your elf wants to be on top of the tree and takes the fairy hostage!

7. Elf olympics – bringing snow from the North Pole and check out his knitted scarf!

8. Elves only bath in marshmallows ha ha!

9. I’m sure school loved me this day… I swapped my sons whole lunch for chocolate stuff and marshmallows! When I arrived at school to collect him that day practically the whole class ran at me to tell me about this ha ha!

10. I have hair extensions so I cut the old ones and when I heard my son stirring that morning quickly arranged myself like this. Let me tell you he was shocked!! I think he was scared for Alfie but he also found it hilarious… I threatened to send the elf home! Ha ha!

11. With I’m a celeb always on at this time of year and my son liking to watch it I had to take advantage of this!

12. Curtesy of Halloween stuff stored in the loft, Alfie finds himself in a spin!

13. One for every year – something baking related. This was my sons favourite I think, decorating a gingerbread house. But we also did mince pies, cookies etc.

14. When your elf gets into your make up and draws you a picture! (Old make up used of course!)

15. Could this be the ultimate elf trick? Changing the bed to Christmas bedding whilst they are sleeping!

16. My son adored this one! It took him ages to find him hidden in the Christmas tree!

17. Would only recommend if your going to decorate anyway! However I had the intention but it stayed like this almost a year! Ha ha!

18. Caught by the Lego superhero’s one night!

19. Face painting whilst asleep always raised laughs in the morning!

20. Quite a simple one but one he loved non the less! The sign said ‘I flew your mums car to Lapland last night to show all your toys where I live, we didn’t make it back in time before the magic ran out!’ I also parked the car erratically on the drive/half on the grass!

21. Pick and mix shop… luckily he did listen to Alfie and only took a few to school!

22. Banister sledging on candy canes!

23. When your elf doesn’t make it back in time!

24. Elf washing disaster! (I used bubble bath, made them in the sink and then moved to the floor)

25. When your kids not keen on showering your elf comes to the rescue by filling it with balloons (warning – don’t be deceived this took almost 2 hours and approximately 75 balloons)

26. Shrinking the cookies to elf size! Good for younger ones.

27. When your elf cuts up your mums top in the laundry!

28. Alfie plays Star Wars and bring cinema tickets to the movie! Your elf can do good too if your little one is behaving!

29. The year Alfie took Lex home to see Santa! Look at his face! A surprise trip to Santa is always a winner… we were lucky to be able to do Lapland that year.

30. When you want a night off! Ha ha! Seriously though this one is great of behaviour isn’t good. The getting up rule was not before 6am… he got up at 5am!!

So there we have it… I hope this has inspired you! Our elf Alfie had his own page on Facebook too… I will post the link below if you want to check out what else he did. I’m no longer posting to the page as sadly the magic is over for us but the page is live for ideas. I’m going to follow this post up with another one on the perfect end to elf on the shelf.

Now I’m out the other side do I think it was worth it? Absolutely… yes it’s a commitment but your kids faces each morning… well that’s just priceless! These little elves will make the run up to your Christmas so magical, your kids will love you for it. When my son found out one of the first things he said was ‘oh wow mummy, you did all that? I can’t believe it! Thank you!’ I know he will forever remember our Alfie’s antics with a warm heart and a smile.

Happy elfing guys… remember it doesn’t last forever!

Rachael 🙂 x

Link – https://www.facebook.com/alfieselfantics/

Posted in Winning at Parenting

Harry Potter Potion Class!

When my dance school closes for the summer holidays or any other holidays for that matter… what am I to do with my time?! As much as I love the dance and it is nice to have a break the inner child in me just can’t resist putting on school holiday fun as well. So every time school breaks up I run Legends fun days or summer school and I love it!

Constantly racking my brains for new ways to entertain the children (and myself! ha ha!) I first thought of a Harry Potter potion class whilst lying in bed. I mean as a child myself there was something very satisfying about perfuming making… please tell me you can relate?! This was an activity which consisted of getting water, lots of petals off plants in the garden and stirring them in a bowl, swishing them into the sides and then putting them into jam jars to store. This would create hours of fun trying to create different smells.

So when potion making sprang to mind and was a similar concept I knew this would go down a storm at summer school. A quick google told me actually I wasn’t a genius and indeed other people had done similar before which basically made my job easier. I still thought it worth sharing my tips and experience of the doing it with a big group!

Firstly I realised I needed to collect bottles and jars of different shapes and sizes. Now my intention was to do this myself and ask other people but I kinda forgot and a trip to ikea came to my rescue. In there I managed to get all kinds of potion bottles much to my delight and I only spent around fifteen pounds.

I was ready to create labels when I checked on eBay and saw actually I could just buy those ready done too for a couple of pounds. I also came across a few links to print them yourself but as my printer is not great this was the best option for me. Once they arrived I thought carefully about which bottles to stick them on.

The labels gave little explanations under them so I was careful to put some on jars and others on bottles.

How did I decide what to put in each?! Well I just winged it. But the most important ingredients needed is washing up liquid (I used red as unicorn blood), white vinegar (which I added glitter too) and bicarbonate of soda. These three things react and foam when added together.

I added cut up feathers to one jar, lots of little leaves in one and glitter in another. I put water in all the other jars and added food colouring to change it to different colours.

I gathered a group of five children and started potion class by showing them my potion (that was with the three reactive ingredients I mention above) I did this in a jar so I used less ingredients and it would rise fast, I stood the jar in a bowl to save mess. The children were delighted when it bubbles over.

Then they sat at the table with a mini bowl each (sat in a larger one – again to catch the mess) and were left to mix there own potions. Some had obviously listened as they went straight for the same concoction as me. Some of the younger ones (I have children 3-11 years) relished in pouring in lots of glitter. I had given them all a wooden spoon each to mix their potion as well.

Now this activity was loved by all… a lot hadn’t seen Harry Potter but potion making was exciting none the less. Surprisingly this appealed as much to the older kids as it did to the younger ones. The trickiest part was after each group the bottles and jars needed refilling, table wiping etc and bowls washing and resetting up for the next lot. This was difficult to do quick enough with several children bursting with excitement for their turn!! We had other activities going on along side but none quite as exciting as this! We had to do this for five groups in total. That was a lot of cleaning up! But it was totally worth it… the children loved every second. I would do it again but I did think this would be lovely maybe as part of a smaller party.

Have you ever tried a potion making class? How did it go? I would love to hear!

Rachael 🙂 x