Use Santa’s little helper as a role model to introduce and encourage your child to explore healthy produce options.
Exposing children to the same fruits and veggies over and over again is one of the best ways to increase their likelihood that they will eventually try and enjoy them. And what better way to expose them to different fruits and veggies than through the festively fun Elf on the Shelf?
Each morning, after the laughs have been had, ask your child if she can recognize the fruits or vegetables her Elf used. Ask if she might like to try that produce option (perhaps right then or later for dinner that night?). If the answer is no, that’s ok. It’s still one more exposure and positive experience she has had with that particular item.
Parents will love these easy Elf on the Shelf ideas because many of the items you’ll likely already have in your kitchen. Even the more elaborate ideas on this list take less than ten minutes to create — with most taking just a few minutes.
Let’s get started! Here are 12 easy Elf on the Shelf ideas featuring fruits and vegetables…
1. Elf eats strawberries
Looks like Elf got hungry after her trip to the North Pole to visit Santa. She’s refueling with a healthy snack, strawberries! Maybe your child would like to snack on some strawberries with Elf?
2. Elf takes a grape bubble bath
Sometimes Elf needs a day of relaxation during her busy season. Help Elf take a grape bubble bath. Place her in a bowl and cover with green grapes. Fold a bit of wide ribbon and place over the bowl to act as a bath towel.
3. Elf makes garland
Elf is up to some festive fun! She’s making popcorn and cranberry garland. To recreate this scene, use a needle and thread to string popcorn and cranberries. Place the needle in a pin cushion — in this case, an orange!
4. Elf works out
In the season of sweets, it’s more important than ever to keep to a good workout schedule. Elf is staying buff by lifting tomato weights. To make your own weights, attach a grape or cherry tomato to each end of a small wooden skewer. Attach Elf’s hands to the skewers (we used small cable ties). Lift the weight into the air with the help of fishing string or dental floss.
5. Elf makes a healthy snack
What child could turn down a healthy snack when it’s offered by their favorite elf? Place some healthy fruits or bite-sized vegetables in a bowl with a note from Elf. Include a few of your child’s favorites and maybe one or two new items they can try.
6. Elf gets a pet
Look! Elf has a fun new (edible) friend, a pet snail. To make, peel a mandarin orange into the shape seen below and draw two eyes and a smiling mouth on the rind with a marker. What should his name be?
7. Elf makes a veggie Christmas tree
It looks like Elf got into the veggie drawer last night. Create a Christmas tree with bite-sized broccoli pieces, strips of bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. A cinnamon stick makes a perfect tree trunk. No broccoli on hand? Try using green peppers, cucumbers, green beans, asparagus, or snap peas.
Produce Moms Tip: Have some veggie dip or ranch dressing on hand in case your child decides she wants to give this festive veggie snack a try!
8. Elf makes a snowman
Elf doesn’t need snow to make a snowman! A few veggies will do just fine. Here’s what you’ll need to help your Elf make a veggie snowman: three turnips, the top of a bell pepper, two cranberries, the end of a carrot or a baby carrot, and two celery sticks.
Begin by assembling the body. Use skewers to stack and hold the turnips in place. Attach the eyes, nose, and arms with skewers or toothpicks. Set the bell pepper hat on top. Sprinkle coconut flakes around the base of the snowman to create “snow.”
9. Elf goes skiing
Elf is hitting the slopes! Keep the coconut flakes you used to make the snowman out and add celery skis and skewer poles to your Elf. Use two push pins to keep the celery skis attached. Push through the celery first and then up into Elf’s feet. Attach the skewer poles with small cable ties.
10. Elf makes a snow angel
Keep that coconut flake snow out for one more day because Elf wants to play! Today, she’s making snow angels. Simply lay the elf in the middle of the “snow” and move her arms and legs in the same motion a person would make to create a snow angel.
11. Elf plays with stickers
Elf must’ve been feeling creative last night because she got into the stickers to decorate items from the fruit bowl! While any stickers will work, we recommend StickyLickits, the eat-able stickers that make noshing on fruits and veggies more fun.
12. Elf draws funny faces
Elf got up to her crafty ways again last night! This time, she’s drawing funny faces on fruit. Maybe she’ll let your child pack her silly orange in her lunchbox and enjoy it at school?
Produce Moms Tip: Use fruit with rinds or peels as to not waste anything. Think oranges, watermelon, bananas, honeydew, lemons, or limes.
What kind of healthy trouble is your Elf getting into this year? Share your Elf’s antics with us on Instagram or Facebook. Tag us on Instagram @theproducemoms or share your photos with other moms in our Facebook group.