Advent Elf Houses - Counting Down to Christmas with a Small World Play Scene

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

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. Obviously we added a little encouragement with 'warmer / colder' clues to help with the daily search.

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 that day.

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

Some days the elves left notes asking Minnie if she could look after their pets.This proved very popular & 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, & giving them each names.

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.

You'll find the first printable 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