Elf on the Shelf Science Experiments

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Elf on the Shelf Science Experiments

If you have kids in your life that loves Christmas, chances are they’re also a fan of the elf on the shelf. Are you counting down till your Christmas elf arrives from the north pole?

Sure you do me too. Even though I’m quite annoyed when I have to clean up after their daily naughty actions. 😄

Would you like to add something educational to the elf’s daily cheeky actions?

These elf on the shelf science experiments will have the whole family enjoying themselves and the kids will learn something new. 

Elf on the Shelf Science Ideas

I love seeing the joy on my daughter’s face when she sees the elves have been up to mischief. It’s always so exciting to see what they’ve been up to overnight.

If you’ve ever planned a science lesson with your children, you have what it will take to transform your elf into a highly entertaining scientist. Don’t forget to download the instruction cards, which you can find later below.

Check out our list of ideas that we have prepared for you as inspiration.

Elf Skittles Trick

Let’s make a colorful trick with your elf from skittles in the water! Your children will enjoy watching as the colors swirl and create a beautiful rainbow! 

elf on the shelf with skittles

What will you need?

  • Skittles
  • Plate
  • ½ cup of  warm water
  • Printable instruction template

Leave your elf on the shelf with a bag of skittles on a plate, a cup of water, and printable instructions.

Simply put the Skittles on the edge of the plate in a circle, add warm water in the middle, then watch as the colors melt in the water.

It’s amazing to see how quickly the colors change when they come into contact with water. The red Skittle turns pink, the yellow becomes orange, and so on. This experiment is sure to amaze both kids and adults alike!

When you put skittles in water, the coating dissolves and diffuses. This means that the color spreads out through the water.

elf rainbow skittles

Salt Painting Science

This fun snowflake and snowman salt painting experiment is a great way to explore the science of absorption with your kids. Plus, what could be more magical than painting with an elf watching? Elves are experts in salt paint anyways!

elf activities

What will you need?

Download and print the templates and instructions templates, and prepare them along with the materials next to the elves.

Squirt some glue onto your snowflake template. Sprinkle on some salt, but be sure to cover the entire template with salt.

preschool elf on the shelf ideas

Then slowly pour the excess salt off. Wait a little bit, till it dries. After drying dip your paintbrush into the paint and start painting your snowflake. 

elf on the shelf rainy day idea

Salt is hygroscopic, which means salt can absorb water. It attracts water molecules from the air and dissolves them.

Cotton Candy Melting Surprise

Cotton candy is not only delicious but there is something magical about it. Did you know that it’s also a great science experiment accessory? You know that it melts in your mouth, but how fast will it melt in water?

elf activities preschool with cotton candy

What will you need?

Before the setup, form three snowballs of cotton candy. Place a small toy snowflake in one of them. Pour tap water into the clear bowl, then create your scene with the elf, bowl, cotton candy balls, and printed instructions.

Let your children guess which ball has a surprise in it. Once they have their bets, let them put the balls into the water one by one. See what happens with the cotton candy and if they have guessed right. 

Cotton candy melts in water with the help of the elves

Cotton candy melts in water because it is made of sugar. Sugar dissolves in water, so when you put colored cotton candy in water, it will disappear and paint the water!

Fizzy Christmas Ice 

Looking for your next science activity to do with the kids? Our busy elves have a great idea for you. You can lean back and enjoy a hot chocolate with marshmallows till your kids play.  

What will you need?

Mix 1 part water, half part baking soda, and a few drops of food coloring. Fill a silicone mold with the mixture. Then, place it in the freezer overnight.

Pour baking soda into a deeper tray, and place your ice figures on it. Prepare a cup of vinegar with pipettes. Create your scene with the elves and invite your kids for a fun science play.

Fill the pipette with vinegar, and release over the ice.

Fizzy snowmans
fizzy christmas trees

The baking soda and vinegar are like two friends who don’t really like each other. But when they’re together, they make a lot of noise and create a big mess!

They create a chemical reaction. The baking soda is basic and the vinegar is acidic, so when they mix together they create a fizzy reaction.

Candy Cane Experiment

Candy canes are a holiday staple and probably the favorite sweets of an elf. But what happens when the elf guides you to put them in different solutions?

This experiment will show you what happens to a candy cane when it is placed in different types of liquids that you can easily find around the house. You’ll be surprised at the results!

Elves with their candy chemistry kit

What will you need?

Download and print the instruction card. Prepare the cups with the different liquids in the same amount, you can also label them. Then, place 5 candy canes in front of them. Set up the elf scene.

Once your kids catch the elves, read the instructions. They will have to unwrap the peppermints and put them to a test to discover which one will dissolve first.

Check them every 3 minutes, you can even set up a timer. Once the first one dissolves completely, take out the rest on a piece of paper and compare them. 

investigations science by the elves

When you put a candy cane in water, it starts to dissolve and the water turns red and minty. It’s like the candy cane is giving the water a hug! 

When you put a candy cane in hot water, the heat makes the candy molecules move around faster. This causes the candy to break apart into smaller pieces and dissolve in the water.

We hope you found our elf ideas helpful. If you need more activities for your kids, don’t forget Messylearningkids.

Photo of author


Eniko is a mother and wife, ex-teacher, and world traveler. Loves to be creative and admires spending quality time with her family. Enjoys outdoor activities-, and connecting to nature. She loves sharing her enthusiasm and inspiration. For more details check out Messy Learning Kids.

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