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Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt With Free Printable Clues

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Looking for a fun Christmas activity for your kids? Why not try setting up an Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt! These free printable scavenger hunt clues will keep your kids entertained, plus it’s super easy to set up!

If you are anything like us, Elf On The Shelf has become one of your family’s holiday traditions. Every year our elf, Bo, comes to visit us for the month of December and gets into all kinds of mischief!

One of my girls’ all-time favourite things he does is send them on an Elf scavenger hunt around the house. That’s why I’ve put together this printable Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt!

Free elf on the shelf scavenger hunt printables

What Is An Elf On The Shelf?

If you are new to the Christmas Elf tradition, each family gets their very own scout elf who watches over them during the day and reports back to Santa Claus every night. Some families have one elf per child too.

While each family gets to set up their own rules, often the biggest rule is that no one can touch the Elf, otherwise they will lose their magic and won’t be able to return back to the North Pole.

Luckily there are plenty of ways to get the magic back if this happens. But mostly, your elf is a silent observer who gets up to so much fun around the house at night, after his human friends are all in bed asleep!

Every elf parent knows that coming up with new and fun Elf ideas each night can be exhausting during an already busy holiday season, but seeing the joy on your kids’ faces in the morning makes it all worth it!

An Elf scavenger hunt can be a fun idea for an Elf on the Shelf arrival or for Christmas Eve before he or she prepares to head back to the North Pole for another year. But really, you can do scavenger hunts anytime during December!

And I’ve made this extra easy for you with my free printable Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt clues!

Make sure you come and join our Elfing Around Facebook group for even more ideas and inspiration!

How To Set Up An Elf On The Shelf Scavenger Hunt

I have put together two different types of Christmas scavenger hunts for you, included in my free Elf on the Shelf printables.

The first is a more traditional style scavenger hunt with rhyming clues.

You can use your clues to lead to little treats at each hiding spot, such as candy canes, chocolates, small toys such as these advent calendar fillers or perhaps even a cheeky prank left by your elf.

Or you can have one treat at the final clue instead, having your kids work their way through all the clues to get to the end.

The second type of Elf hunt in this printable set is an Elf Candy Cane scavenger hunt, which is quick and easy, with no clues required! If you don’t have a printer at home, you can easily set this fun activity up by writing on a piece of paper or a chalkboard instead and hiding candy canes around your house or yard.

Now, on to setting up the scavenger hunt!

Printable elf on the shelf scavenger hunt clues

There are a few key things you need in order to set up an Elf On The Shelf scavenger hunt:

  • An elf (of course!)
  • The printable clue cards (which you can download at the end of this post)
  • A few small treats or prizes for finding each clue or a bigger treat at the end

Print off the clues and place them around your home based on the previous clue. At each hiding spot, you can leave a little treat or just have a treat at the end.

Leave the first clue with your Elf so that when the kids find him (or her) in the morning, they can begin their exciting treasure hunt!

The kids can work their way to the next clue until they reach the last clue and find a big surprise.

Some fun surprises might be ingredients for Christmas baking, a small toy or book, or Christmas pyjamas.

Scavenger hunts are a lot of fun! Check out these Easter scavenger hunt ideas and give them a Christmas twist if you want to try something different. There are even ideas for adults!

If you are doing your treasure hunt on Christmas Eve, you could have your kids find your Christmas Eve box, which is another beautiful family Christmas tradition.

How To Do An Elf Candy Cane Hunt

Elf on the shelf candy cane scavenger hunt printable

If hiding clues seems like far too much work during your already busy December, or if you have younger kids who can’t yet read, the Elf candy cane hunt is definitely an easier alternative!

Set up your elf with the candy cane hunt printable or write it on a chalkboard or piece of paper instead for the kids to find.

Hide 12 candy canes around your house or yard ready for the kids to find in the morning.

Free Printable Elf Scavenger Hunt Clues

Free printable elf scavenger hunt

You can print off the elf scavenger hunt clues by clicking on the image or the button below. The printable clues are in PDF format which you can print at home on any home printer, even if you have no coloured ink.

If you would prefer not to print them or if you do not have a printer at home, simply write out the clues on some pieces of paper and follow the same instructions as above.

More Elf On The Shelf Printables

Elf on the shelf planner

If you want to take the stress out of this fun but time-consuming holiday tradition, my Elf tool kit is sure to be your new best friend every December!

In this kit, you will find arrival and goodbye letters, a letter to introduce your new elf, blank letterhead, behaviour report cards, printable elf ideas, excuses why the elf did not move, printable lunch box notes, Christmas jokes and much more.

An Elf scavenger hunt is a fun way to add a little extra excitement to your December and get your kids thinking as they work to solve each of the clues. Make sure you grab the free printable clues to save you time! Merry Christmas!

Find more Elf on the Shelf ideas & Christmas fun: