Pretend Play Elf Workshop

This pretend play elf workshop is a part of the Big and Little Pretend Play series. Make sure to check out all of the pretend play ideas (we had some really fun ones!)

When the kids were younger, I spent hours setting up fun areas with special details. Now, M and M have taken over the planning. While pretend play at our house has NOT slowed down… my involvement isn’t what it used to be.

Their pretend play props pop up while they are playing, and creating the space themselves has become part of the fun. So, I had to step back a little.

After you check out our workshop, head on over to At Home with Ali to see her LITTLE Santa’s Village! It looks so yummy.

You can also include a name elf craft printable in your planning process. Hang it as a decoration in your elf station.

If you have an Elf on the Shelf, you can add an Elf on the Shelf care package station or Elf on the Shelf scavenger hunt.

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

BIG Pretend Play Elf Workshop

M, M, and I sat down together to discuss our vision of Santa’s Village. We decided that Santa’s village would have three main work areas.

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

The planning area is the perfect place to check the naughty and nice list, pick up new letters to Santa, and check the map for each gifts destination.

The Planning Area Includes

An atlas, map, or globe
Toy catalogs
Pens and pencils
Naughty and Nice Lists
Mailbox or shoe box

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

Little M loves notebooks and has spent quite a bit of time writing out a plan for all the elves (I wonder where she gets it, hee hee). She made the nice and naughty list all on her own. Hmmm… where is Mom on that nice list?

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

The Toy Making Area is where all the painting happens. If we had pretend play tools, I would have added them here, too… but all of the kids tools are real (and in the garage).

The Toy Making Area Includes

Small and medium-sized toys
Paint brushes
Painting tray
A clipboard with a checklist for elves to keep track of progress

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

For the paint tray, I put a small dot of paint on a piece of cardboard (cut from an old cereal box). Once it was dry, the kids could pretend to dip their brush while painting the toys. I love it… and might keep it for myself when M and M are done with it. 😉

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

 What would a Santa’s Village be without a wrapping station? So of course we needed one of those.

The Wrapping Area Includes

Wrapping paper
Boxes (include a variety of sizes)
Gift tags

Tips 1. You can find wrapping paper at thrift stores, garage sales, and dollar stores.  2. Cut different-sized pieces that will fit the boxes you have if you don’t want to give the kids an entire roll.

elf workshop - love this pretend play for Christmas

The workshop has been up for less than 24 hours and they’ve already wrapped just about every toy they own. Great practice for when it’s time to wrap the real presents!!!

Pretend play isn’t the only place we celebrate Christmas! You might also like candy cane science or Christmas tree sight words.


    1. I love the tape dispenser… but don’t care for the tape! It doesn’t have great stick so it is good for using on the carpet or walls without damage but it doesn’t really hold anything together. It’s a Lakeshore product. I don’t think I’ll buy the refill tape, but I will try to find something that works better and fits the dispenser.

  1. Loving this! How great to be Santa’s helper for a day and see what hard work it is to prepare for Christmas 😉 My daughter is one of my main wrappers during the holidays — she learned at a young age. And the writing lists area is great!

  2. What a good idea to get them to wrap gifts! Gotta remember to get my little guy involved in gift wrapping this year. And I love the idea of setting up a station for them for pretend play. So cute!

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