Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Elf on the Shelf Book Study-Ages 3-5 Years

on December 9, 2015

My daughter and son-in-law have been doing The Elf on the Shelf tradition for several years with their three boys, and my older grandsons named their elf Graham Cracker. So my youngest grandson,  3 1/2 years, is already familiar with looking for the elf’s location each morning. However, this Christmas he is ready to understand more fully The Elf on the Shelf story.

That is why I created this Multiple Intelligence Book Study just for my youngest grandson, Tahoe. I have read the book aloud to him several times, and additionally planned at least one activity for him in each intelligence. I thought I would share this with others to show how I turned this book study into an enriching educational experience for Tahoe. I used at least one activity for each intelligence, but often we did more than one.

1202150823-1~2Linguistic Intelligence/Word Smart

  • I read the book, The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, aloud to Tahoe each day of the study unit.
  • In subsequent readings, I focused on the letter “L” which was one of the letters I am currently teaching Tahoe. I gave him a letter “L” from one of his puzzles, and he easily found two letter Ls in the title of the book.
  • Since this is a rhyming book, I pointed out the rhyming words as we read the book.

Musical Intelligence/Music Smart

  • I found a video online of musical selections from Elf, the Musical, and showed them to Tahoe. 
  • I played a recording of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which has a similar theme to The Elf on the Shelf and we sang it together.

Interpersonal Intelligence/People Smart

  • Elf-Friendly Wassail: I love to cook with the grands, so Tahoe and I made a simple recipe of wassail for our elf. This recipe made enough for Tahoe and me to have some too. Here is the recipe we followed: Put 2 cups apple cider, 1 cup orange juice, a stick of cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves in a pot and stir. With adult supervision, let the mixture simmer on the stove for 20-45 minutes. Let it cool a bit so the elf doesn’t burn his tongue. Great for a cold winter night! (For older children, this could be a mathematical and linguistic activity too.)
  • Dramatic Play: With another person, I had Tahoe reenact some of the pages in the story. (For example, Tahoe would be the elf, and I would be the child looking for the elf in the house.) 
  • Hide and Seek: This is similar to the dramatic play activity, however, in this game, Tahoe got to choose where to hide, and didn’t have to rely on the book for ideas. This game could be played with his brothers and parents as well. Whoever was the elf got to wear an “elf cap” my daughter had at the house.


 Spatial Intelligence/Picture Smart

  • Play Dough Mat-I created a Play Dough mat by drawing the elf on white paper, adding a title, and slipping the paper into a plastic sheet protector. I thought Tahoe could use the Play Dough to create a place for the elf to hide. However, Tahoe decided he wanted to dress up the elf instead of creating a hiding place for him.  I also had him make “snakes” of Play Dough to fill in the letters “e-l-f” on the mat. 


  • I used geometric shapes to design an “elf” for Tahoe to put together. He cut out most of the shapes, drew a face on the elf, and glued all the parts together. 

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence/Body Smart

  • I found motions for “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on the Internet which I used to teach Tahoe some cute moves to use as we sang the song together, but you could also create your own moves to teach the children in your care.
  • We danced to the music in Elf, the Musical.

Logical/mathematical Intelligence/Number Smart

We discussed which number was "more" and he circled that number.

We discussed which number was “more” and he circled that number.

I had Tahoe glue paper circles to each elf cap to match the number I had written under each hat.

I had Tahoe glue paper circles to each elf cap to match the number I had written under each hat.

  • I had Tahoe count the elves on each page of the book. 
  • As we worked on the art activity (see Spatial section), I had him identify the shapes we were using to make the elf.
  • Using an “elf cap” cut-out, I had Tahoe glue paper “pom poms” to each hat to match the number I had written under them. Then we discussed which cap had more “pom poms” and he circled that number.



Intrapersonal Intelligence/Self Smart

  • After Tahoe found the elf one day, I had him tell the elf his wishes.
  • I gave Tahoe the opportunity to “read” the book to himself.1202151012a-1~2

Naturalist Intelligence/Nature Smart

  • Neighborhood Walk-We took a walk in our neighborhood and looked for good places for the elf to hide in order to watch Tahoe and his brothers at play outdoors (such as inside the slide at the local playground).


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:mommy-monday-blog-hop-image



5 responses to “Elf on the Shelf Book Study-Ages 3-5 Years

  1. Great idea to use Elf on the Shelf as a learning tool! Thanks for sharing at the Thoughtful Spot!


  2. Love all the learning activities you did that incorporated the elf. I need to remember these as well do the elf each year. Love the tongue with the scissors. I have a little one that does the same. Thanks for sharing at #made4kids!


    • I’m glad you like these learning activities. (I took lots of pictures of Tahoe making the elf, but I just had to include the one of him with his tongue sticking out. Apparently his father did the same as a young boy. Such concentration!)


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