DIY Paper Elf Houses - Perfect for an Advent Countdown

I'm so excited to share our Advent Elf Houses with you today, not only do they build into a beautiful small world play scene for kids to explore, but they make a great Advent countdown to Christmas too. 

Last year we created little Elves (here's how) & they were a huge hit in our house. They're just the right size for a small world play scene, or to pop into a coat pocket & take out on an adventure. 

To add a little more magic to our Christmas countdown I created 24 houses for the elves to visit, each with a house number which corresponded to the date. (Before you think I'm completely craft crazy & made 24 elves to occupy the 24 houses... I didn't! There are only so many hours in a day!   Instead, I made 6 little elves who popped up every now & then to explore each house as it appeared.)

To make this Christmas countdown more of an adventure we placed the Elf  Houses under tables & chairs, under our Christmas tree, & around our house, so it was like a treasure hunt each day to find the new Elf House.

Alongside the houses were little notes written by the elves which either suggested an activity to share during that day or offered a few words of encouragement or praise. If Minnie had done something helpful or kind the day before then the elves would say how impressed they were, & encourage her to do something similar the following day.

Sometimes the elves were a little tired (!) & didn't always leave a note, so instead a chocolate coin or tiny gift were left inside the house to discover! 

Some days the elves left notes asking Minnie if she could look after their pets. She loved this & the imaginative play that followed was just wonderful to watch.

Some days new additions appeared like this simple Christmas tree made from a small piece of pine, & the elves would ask for help in decorating it with a few coloured beads.

On one occasion an elf went missing from the play scene & it prompted this gorgeous note that I found under the Christmas tree. (The elf reappeared the next day... after he was found under the sofa!)

As each day passed during December the number of Elf Houses increased, & soon we had an Elf Village & a new magical small world play scene to explore! Over Advent the elves would visit the different houses & Minnie was soon creating adventures for them.

The Elf Houses are just simple card creations, but the seasonal magic & wonder they've inspired in our house has been a joy to witness, & I can't wait to introduce them again this year. 

To make the Elf Houses you can download & print off our free Printables here & follow the simple instructions on the sheet. All you need are scissors & a glue stick to build the houses.

The first of our FREE printables is a plain house (like those in the photos) & the second is a decorated Elf House complete with Christmas tree & elf gifts.

We used patterned paper to create the roofs for our houses, & if you wish to do the same you could use our roof printable as a template.

I printed 24 copies of the Elf House on thin card, & then 'built' a few of the houses each evening, keeping the ones I didn't need for the next day tucked away out of sight. 

If your kids are feeling creative they can decorate the Elf Houses themselves either with pens, paints, or stickers & make them truly unique. 

These simple card houses really are a wonderful way to countdown to Christmas & offer so many opportunities for imaginative & creative play. If you don't have time to create the elves we used in our play scene you can buy similar mini Elf/Pixie figures from Tiger Stores or Amazon.

I hope your Elf Houses bring you as much fun & excitement as ours did in the countdown to Christmas. For more Advent ideas you might like to visit our Advent board on Pinterest