Back to School Countdown with Elf on the Shelf

Obviously our elf on the shelf is known for shenanigans during this Christmas season, but when I came downstairs this morning I found a pile of construction paper and pair of safety scissors. I knew something was going on. Both my big kids are headed back to school this year. Sebby is going to be in FIRST GRADE and Quincy is headed to Pre-K!

So needless to say, there is some excitement in our house!

Elf on the Shelf - Back to School Countdown

The Elf on the Shelf Back to School Paper Chain Countdown

The elves had started to create a paper chain and of course, left it for me to finish. It took me a minute to figure out what they were up to – and then I realized they were making a COUNTDOWN CHAIN for back to school. Brilliant. Well done elf on the shelf. Well done.

Paper chains couldn’t be easier, all you need is scissors, construction paper and tape or glue. You can even have the kids help! Cutting paper is a great fine motor skill for them to practice!

Simply cut the paper into 8-10 strips depending on how wide you make them. Loop them within each other and fasten with tape or glue.  Make as many loops as days left of summer vacation.

Each day, remove one of the loops until the morning of school!

Having the countdown chain gives kids a way to get excited about going back to school – and also to give them some fair warning – you don’t want them to just wake them up and throw them on the bus one day (or do you?)

What are you doing to get ready for back to school?

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.


  1. I wouldn’t have thought of bringing the elf out for back to school – cute idea 🙂 I’m looking forward to starting an Elf on the Shelf tradition at our house this year. I think Bubbles will be old enough to start to understand.

  2. Sandy VanHoey says:

    What a cute idea…my grandson started back 2 weeks ago. He had one in his classroom last year, hope he does this year as well

  3. Sara Hanvey says:

    I love these ideas for the elf! I am always looking for something different to do when my grandkids are here with us. Grandma runs out of ideas after a few days! I am not used to the pace of a 6, 4 and 2 year old!

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