Elf Day

Elf Day is always a fun day right before winter break. Students come to school dressed in their silliest hats, stripes, and slippers ready for a day filled with learning and making memories.

Elf Day classroom theme day

Elf Day Setup

Before this day, I send home a letter to families letting them know how they can prepare.

Elf Day banner and notes home

I also prep a miniature-sized snack. I purchase mini solo cups, mini Oreos, mini holiday M&M’s, mini pretzels, and baby Goldfish. I mix it all together and serve it up in the mini cups. This ends up being a center later on in the afternoon. Students will also find an ”Elf Day” banner hanging on the wall.

Elf Read-Aloud Books

When the students come to school, they are so excited to get started. I begin by sharing an elf read-aloud with them right away. There are so many adorable books to choose from, you can check out my Elf Day list on Amazon. I try to read at least two throughout the day. I usually select Memoirs of an Elf for our first read-aloud of the day. Then we work on a few of the comprehension strategies we have been working on in class using the general templates provided.

Elf read aloud books and elf comprehension printables

We take a few “Elfies” using the headband provided. They always turn out so cute.

elf headband craft

Elf Crafts

After that, we make some adorable little elf crafts to take home for the holidays. This takes a good chunk of time and can be messy, so I like to do it in whole group instruction.

elf crafts

How to Catch an Elf Activities

Then we read “How to Catch and Elf” by Adam Wallace. We brainstorm different ideas and I write them on chart paper for the children. One of the afternoon centers is writing about how to catch an elf. I place the center right by this chart paper so they can refer back to it when writing. I also place a few copies of the book there too, so they can reread it if they have time or want to gather ideas.

Elf Day Centers

Before lunch, we learn about all the fun elf centers that will fill their afternoon. I go over each one with specific directions to avoid lots of questions later and encourage more independence. I put students into groups and pass out their center checklists. There are signs labeling the centers and they can move about at their own pace, they don’t have to go in order. I usually encourage no more than two groups at a station.

Elf centers

The rest of the day is spent independently working on elf centers. There are several phonics and word work activities included in this set. They can sort real vs. nonsense short vowel cvc words, change cvc to long vowel cvce words, complete a digraph and blend scoot, and work on some no prep activities such as a word search, alphabetizing, syllables, punctuation, word scramble, and making words.

For the math centers, we play different games that focus on addition, doubles, and time. There is also an addition and subtraction scoot, and an addition and subtraction war game they can play.

To work on decoding and fluency, there is a poetry center with an original elf poem. After reading the poem, students can sequence, fill in the blank, answer a few questions, illustrate, and work on rhyming.

elf poem

You could add digital centers to your Elf Day as well. I have an entire Digital Elf Day. You can also combine this day with my Memoirs of an Elf, or Pig the Elf literacy packet to make an entire elf week!

We love Elf Day and all my other Christmas Theme Days too.

Christmas Theme Days Bundle

I know some teachers can’t do Christmas-themed activities, so I created some Winter Theme Days as well. Or, combine the two bundles for a fun 12 Days of Christmas classroom theme days celebration!

This is what a few teachers had to say about Elf Day

“So much fun. We did this as one of our theme days the week before winter break. Students had fun and practiced skills. I had fun and this helped make my planning easy.”

“I love all your theme days! The students love the activities. There are so many different activities to pick from. I got smart and started buying your theme bundles.”

Click to read about more fun elf ideas for the classroom and download a freebie.

I hope your holiday season is magical!


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I’m Megan, a first grade teacher and a mother to 7 amazing children. I love to create and collaborate with teachers. When I’m not teaching, I love spending time with my family, baking and playing tennis.

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