Help, My Elf is Stuck on a Shelf!

With days until Christmas, kids can be bundles of restless energy! We can help you channel all that craziness with a fun Christmas themed engineering challenge that will keep your child or students entertained while learning! 

Many families across the country participate in the fun tradition of the Elf on the Shelf. The elf is a magical helper that manages his naughty and nice lists by reporting back to the North Pole each night. Parents have fun placing the elf in all sorts of crazy positions each night, and kids wake up each morning looking for the elf. 

While this is a great tradition, all the fun and creativity is on the parent's end. Kids passively enjoy discovering the new positions of the elf, but they aren't even allowed to touch him! Vivify created this interactive engineering challenge that asks your child to help save the Elf from being stuck on a high shelf.

The mission: Design a vehicle that will safely carry the Elf down from the shelf using a zip line. 

Requirements for the zip line challenge: 

  1. The elf must remain safely in the vehicle during the entire ride. 
  2. The elf must reach the bottom in 5 seconds or less. 
  3. The elf can not be attached to the vehicle. 
  4. The vehicle can only be built using the provided materials.

Suggested supplies for the challenge: 

  • Smooth string or fishing line for zip line
  • Plastic or paper cups
  • Plastic straws
  • Tape
  • Single hole punch
  • Skewers
  • Washers

For more information on this challenge including worksheets that guide students through the engineering design process, check out our Elf Stuck On A Shelf product! Also included are explanations for center of gravity and forces acting on the Elf. 

We hope you have a wonderful holiday season!