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Free Printable Elf Scavenger Hunt

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We had an exciting addition to our holiday season this year – an Elf on the Shelf (affiliate).

I know.  I hear the groans and squeals of glee.

But our kids have begged us to adopt an elf friend for years.  And with 2020 being what it’s been, we thought it was a good opportunity to open our homes to a magical friend.

His name is Fritz.  I actually think he’s kind of cute.  Although, I’m convinced his eyes follow me everywhere.

The problem with having an elf for the holidays is the expectation that he will move around the house each night.  This seems logical. The legend goes that each evening he reports to Santa about the behavior from that day.

When he returns, he probably wouldn’t choose the same spot to sit in again.  And the movement demonstrates that he’s gone to the North Pole and back.  An important part of keeping his magic alive.

On top of moving around, some elves get into more trouble.  I found a mixed review on elf trouble making, mostly based on how long you’ve had the tradition.  Newbies like us were very enthusiastic and creative.  Parents who are onto their sixth, seventh, tenth years of hosting an elf – not so much.

I completely understand.  After a week of moving the elf, it can get tiring.  I can’t imagine years of doing this.

The most important part to me about having an elf in the house is keeping it easy.  I don’t have time each night during the Christmas season to brainstorm places to move the elf too and how he can get into trouble.

So far, he’s mostly moved around the house each night.  Following his name, he’s loves to sit on shelves.  Also he has spied on the hermit crab, dangled from the peppermint trees and played Monopoly.

There’s something about waking up in the morning and searching all over for a small elf that brings joy to young ones.  The squeals of glee when he’s located is deafening.

But now that he’s been here for a week, it’s time for some more troublesome mischief.


When thinking about the fun the elf can get into, scavenger hunts came to mind.  As you know, our family loves scavenger hunts.  Any opportunity to search for something hidden is fun.

We enjoy hunting for all kinds of things.  From pumpkins around the neighborhood to Christmas lights during the holidays, there are lots of things to look for.  We even enjoy setting up a treasure hunt to make birthdays even more special.


And now you can have your elf set up a scavenger hunt as well.

I created four different free printable elf scavenger hunt cards.  You can hide the traditional candy canes or go a little more noisy with jingle bells.  There’s also the natural approach with pine cones or dazzle them with gold stars.

Download your free printable elf scavenger hunt cards here.  I made the design very open ended so you can use with any number of objects and in any room of the house.  This way you can create multiple scavenger hunts during your elf’s visit if desired.

Next, print your elf scavenger hunt cards on heavy white cardstock (affiliate).  Then, cut out the card that you want to use.  If your elf loves scavenger hunts, he may set up multiple hunts during the holiday season.


Once you choose the type of elf scavenger hunt to have, select a room and hide the objects there.  For older kids, you might want to hide objects throughout the downstairs or the entire house to make it harder.

Fill in the note with the number of objects to find and the room where they are hidden.  Leave the note with your elf for the kids to discover in the morning.  Then, let the scavenger hunt begin.  The kids can search for the objects and see if they can find them all.

Need some other elf shenanigans to fill your December?  Check out our Christmas Elf Ideas board here.  This is where I share all of the wonderful elf ideas – both simple and creative – that I collect.

And if your family hasn’t adopted an elf yet and you’d like to add this tradition to your holiday season, you can find your own Elf on the Shelf here (affiliate).  Or try a sweet Kindness Elf (affiliate), which is a little better for all year round visits, or these adorable little joyful elves that despite their name may get into just as much trouble as the one that sits on the shelf..

Not time for your elf to visit yet?  Be sure to pin for later to help with planning your elf’s stay this holiday season.


Happy Celebrating,


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