Afternoon Tea – An Afterschool Tradition

Afternoon Tea Cookies

Afternoon tea after school

Have you ever caught yourself saying, “what is happening to the children of this world?”  Do you feel frustrated with rude and inappropriate behavior at every turn?  If so, it may be time for you to do something about it.  YES YOU!  You can do something about your community by adopting a child for afternoon tea. Over the years,  numerous women have shared with me their tea journey.  For many, after school tea with a relative set in motion their passion for afternoon tea tradition and a finer way of life.  If you did not enjoy teatime with a relative consider starting a tradition of your own.  Why not share teatime with your own children or the neighborhood kids?  Afternoon tea is a gentle art that is taught.  You can be the teacher and you can impart peace to the next generation if you will simply take the time.

Here are a few suggestion to get you moving in the right direction.

Afternoon Tea Cookies

#1 Snacks Required:   Afternoon tea with children can be as simple as sliced fruit, cinnamon toast and an herbal cup of tea.  (they tend to love anything cinnamon)  Don’t forget to offer real sugar cubes and don’t be surprised if they have more fun with the sugar cubes then the tea :)  The goal here is to offer a snack not a meal.  I suggest that you ask the child what some of their favorite foods or flavors are and offer an appropriate menu.  Many children have never had scones and love the process of adding butter and jam.

KEY: Clever shapes, unusual tableware and seasonal themes always add to the fun when you are working with children.

Afternoon Tea with Kids


#2 Manners Appreciated: Don’t assume your new protege knows his or her manners.  Most children have never seen or heard anything like formal table manners.   Plan to teach the etiquette basics and give them time to practice.  If you make manners fun, children will look forward to coming to your home.  I suggest  teaching where to place your napkin, where to place your hands, (and elbows) eye contact, chewing with your mouth closed, how to sit and quiet stirring and sipping.  Consider offering a prize each time the child remembers their manners.


#3 Ritual is Key: Life is chaotic for most children.  They are shuffled from here to there and back again.  Offering a consistent ritual that a child can look forward to is a great way to offer peace in a storm.  You can be the one thing that is secure.  It is important to make every attempt to keep your afternoon tea party at the same time each week (or each day).  Don’t let anything get in the way.  Consistency will build ritual and ritual will build security.

Afternoon Tea Sandwiches

#4 Listen While You Chew:  If you haven’t already figured it out, the most important part of the tea party is not the food, nor the manners,  nor the time of day.  The most important part of afternoon tea with a child is listening.  Initially you may need to start the conversations but in time, the child will be eager to share the latest in their world.  Don’t ask questions like “How was your day” and expect an interesting answer.  Instead offer the child a bowl of questions and ask them to draw one out.  Let the child share their thoughts.  You should also take a turn drawing out a question and letting your table companion get to know you.

Here are some links to sample questions:


#5 Repeat, Repeat, Repeat: If you are building a ritual and changing a life, consistency is key.  Don’t expect fantastic results the first day out.  You must be in it for the long haul.  I suggest that you plan to be available for the entire school year or for the summer break.  Either way have a defined schedule that the child can count on and look forward to.   Rest assured, there will be days when you wish you were doing something other than sitting with a little kid at the table.  You might long for adult conversation.  You might despise the fact that he/she uses all your sugar cubes EVERY TIME.  Remember, this is NOT about you, this is about them.  Keep your focus on them.  Listen. Give. Be There.  Make It Special.

A final word, keep your afternoon tea to a tight schedule.  I suggest 45 minutes or less.  Children have short attention spans so plan to work with it.  Keep the activities rolling and the time will fly by.

You can change the world, one child at a time.  Pour some tea and see what I mean!


Read a fantastic blog post on afternoon tea with your child.

You Can Make Money Hosting Children’s Tea Parties



Stay at home moms know that extra income can be the difference between peace and stress in their household. Millions of moms are looking for ways to generate extra income and still be at home with their children each day. If you find yourself in this category considering your options then this blog post is for you.


Offering Children’s Tea Parties can be a great way to earn extra money or a full time income. While household cuts are being made left and right the “birthday party” has yet to be touched. Why? Because American’s believe a birthday is a special right of passage and honors it as such.


As a Children’s Tea Party planner, your job is to host the event of a century and get paid to do it. First, let’s make sure that you qualify as a party planner. The following questions will help you evaluate your potential.


  • Am I organized?


  • Can I keep kids moving in a positive direction?


  • Do I enjoy planning details?


  • Do I have a spot in my home (if your city allows it) that would be good for parties?


  • Would I be willing to travel to other people’s homes?



If the answer to these questions is “YES” then you may be perfect for this business. If the answer is “No” it is best to look elsewhere.


Recently, I interviewed a Party Planner who specializes in kids events. Tammy suggested that every party planner needs a step by step system that they follow each time to the t. This insures that each guest and host has the same positive, well arranged event. “Making the party special is KEY” said Tammy of Elegantly Yours. “You have to make each child feel like this is the most exciting time in their lives. If they love it… mom will too.”


In addition to “good times” there are many items to consider when planning a kids party. Expenses, party price, upsell, location, photos, foods, costumes and more. If you can boil it down into a system which you repeat over and over again, the result can be a substantial help to your household’s bottom line.


Hosting a children’s tea party is not rocket science yet I highly recommend a training system. Without a guide you can fall flat on your face. I always recommend working with someone who had been there and done it before you. If you are unable to work with someone locally than consider my Start A Children’s Tea Party Class.  (email me at


Last but not least, let’s discuss what a Children’s Tea Party is. What do you do and why would other mom’s pay you to host this event?


A kids tea party can focus on little girls (such as a Princess Tea) or on boys and girls (like an Alice and Wonderland Tea). Children are greeted by the hostess and led through a 1 ½ hour party which can include storytelling, dress up, crafts, face painting or makeup, photos, tea and sweets (or punch and cake) and opening presents. At the conclusion of the event the children are ushered out the door, clean up begins and you are ready to host another tea party that afternoon!


Mom’s love the idea of a dress up party with no fuss, muss and no clean up. You benefit from low overhead and a creative income stream that makes moms and children smile!




The Printable Tea Party


Gone are the days of the standard tea party.  Today’s afternoon tea gathering can be as creative as you are.  Need some help?  A printable tea party may be all that you need.

What is a printable tea party ?

A printable tea party is a program which allows you to print custom paper designs and use them to create unique party setting.  For example: using your home computer you can print out an unusual tea quote and adhere it to the center of solid color paper plates.  In addition you can print matching napkins, cup trims, signs, games and more.  Get wild without going broke.  All you need is a license to print, a good home computer, decorative scissors and paper.

Here are some fun examples:

This is an example of a children’s tea party.  This kit includes printable table settings, invitations, hats and a banner.  All of the items become disposable making clean up very easy.


This is an example of a grown up party that is completely customizable.  For only $15 you can print out your unique theme and have your guests talking!

You can find a variety of printable tea party kits on   Most range around $15.  Some kits are invitations only so be sure to read the descriptions.  For the most useable set look for kits that can be customized and that can be used repeatedly.


Here is a list of items that can be created on your own printer for your tea party:



Favor Boxes

Place Cards

Cupcake Picks





Napkin Rings

Place mats

Plate Centers

Cup Decor

Gift Tags

Cupcake Wrappers



Have fun and send me links to your favorite printable vendors!



The Guide to Planning a Child’s Tea Party–Valentine Edition


Not only can we credit Victorian England for the popularization of afternoon tea, but also for the practice of exchanging elaborate valentines. Did you know this? Doilies, rosy-cheeked cupids, and embellishments added to love letters began during the “Golden Age of Valentines” of 1840-1860. I understand that it was a subtle way for men and women to communicate their real feelings to each other. Don’t you remember looking hard between the lines for a hidden meaning in the Valentine you received in the third grade from the boy you had a crush on? And oh, the first REAL store-bought glossy and sappy Valentine I received in the eighth grade? I’ll never forget it. I’m sure I still have it around somewhere!The expectations get so much higher as we get older, regrettably so. Can’t Valentine’s Day still be about innocence? If you are no longer looking for hidden meanings in punch-out cards or expecting a glossy Hallmark card, may I suggest reclaiming the holiday for children? How can you bring the beauty and fun of the holiday to the children in your life? One way is through a Valentine-themed tea party.

For specific directions on planning your party guest list and invitations, be sure to see my other winter party planning guide. This one will focus specifically on incorporating the Valentine theme.

I can’t take all the credit for the following suggestions. As I opened one of my favorite party-planning books, Sarah Ban Breathnach’s Mrs. Sharp’s Traditions: Reviving Victorian Family Celebrations Of Comfort & Joy, I saw my idea was hardly original. She suggests hosting a Cupid’s Tea the weekend before February 14 to allow children to create homemade valentines. Wouldn’t this be a lovely event for pairs of mothers and daughters, or aunts and nieces? Use this opportunity to celebrate with the ones you share comfort with and try to include children no matter what your season of life. Now know this, I’m not an advocate of encouraging childhood romances. My six-year old made valentines this weekend for her brothers, father, and grandfathers (as well as the women in her life). Encouraging children in creating beauty to share with others in thoughtfulness is the goal.

Mrs. Sharp recommends assembling all your materials. It’s amazing the beautiful Victorian art one kind find these days on a simple sticker. This book of Old-Time Valentine Stickers only costs $1.50. Such an easy way to add Victorian art to the valentines! Here are a few other sources for simple, vintage, Victorian valentines.

  • Vintage Valentines Press-Out Book
  • Valentine Postcards
  • 24 Full-Color Ready-to-Mail Valentine Cards from the Collections of Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village

What other supplies and embellishments would you need for assembling your own valentines? The complete list is available in Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book I mentioned above. In fairness of copyright, I will not list it here. I will, however, point out that she recommends taking time to make a post office box for the valentines, another memory of childhood I think would be great fun to recreate. Don’t you?


When planning your Valentine party tea menu, think red, pink, white, and heart-shaped. Some very simple ways to include these items are with:

  • heart-shaped cookie cutters and cinnamon toast (another childhood favorite) or other open-faced sandwiches.
  • strawberry muffins (barely in season, so look for frozen strawberries).
  • heart-shaped scones (cut with cookie cutter like you would biscuits).
  • a heart-shaped cake frosted pink.
  • candy cups with foil-wrapped chocolates, conversation hearts and/or cinnamon candies.

For a more formal, adult-themed tea you can garnish savory sandwiches or soups by cutting out a small nickel-sized heart in the middle of a (clean) piece of paper and using it as a stencil to shake paprika into a heart shape. It’s the little touches that will wow your guests.


Large doilies can be used as place-mats. Always an advocate of using real china and linen as the ideal, even for a children’s tea party, I often choose this holiday to compromise. It’s so fun to decorate in red, pink, and white that even paper napkins will do. And it can be fun to find heart-patterned mugs, possibly inexpensively at the dollar store. I do still encourage you to use real plates and cups. Paper cups tip so easily. Let the food show off the theme instead of the plates and look for white or glass. And paper tablecloths seem pointless to me. Try to use the real thing.

For flowers, roses can be silly expensive this time of year, but tulips often show up right about this time in the grocery store. Carnations, though not the most elegant flower, can be inexpensive and available in every color. When children are involved in a tea party, I always use some fun but classical music like Peter and the Wolf or excerpts from Mozart’s Magic Flute. Children make enough of their own noise without added piped-in music! And classical music literally calms our nervous systems down.


What would you add to a child’s Valentine-themed tea party? I’d love to hear some of yours!

A Mad Hatters Tea Party – Create Some Fun For Kids

Mad Hatters Tea Party


Mad Hatters Tea Party

 Tea parties are always a fun way to get together, but a Mad Hatters tea party is a different kind of fun. What a memorable way to create some end of summer fun for the kids.

Nonsensical and silly are the goals of this party. All the tea etiquette rules and sophistication of a traditional tea party go out the window, or should I say go through the looking glass?

If you remember, in Alice in Wonderland, the March Rabbit meets with Alice as he is running late for a tea party. The beginning of Chapter 7 in the story, Alice finds herself at a very long table, set for many for tea. Everyone is crowded at one end of this table. This, of course, is the Mad Hatter’s tea party.

The Mad Hatter has been condemned by the Queen of Hearts for ‘killing time” with his singing. As the story goes, all the clocks and watches say tea time, all the time. Alice is impolitely treated with riddles that have no answers and silly nonsensical poems.

This has all the makings of a very fun event and a way to get the kids to explore their creative side.

Let’s start with the invitations. Do you want hats to be the theme? Or maybe the theme is Wonderland and all the characters? Take time to make hand made invitations. Create your own silly rhymes to go with the theme. If you want others to dress up, make them aware of that in the invitation. Ask them to wear an outrageous hat. Or better yet, tell them you have a Mad Hatter hat making session planned.

To create excitement and anticipation of the event, deliver the invitations in costume!

Once you have the theme and have the invitations out, it is time to plan the tea party decorations. The Mad Hatter tea party is all about non conformity, so enjoy and mix and match your dishes, glasses and silverware. Use different chairs too! Table cloths in pastel colors and tea pots with flowers make a great table setting for this affair. Some paper lanterns or playing cards are great decoration ideas to consider too.

Consider creating a looking glass that every one walks through to enter the party into Wonderland. Find a place for the Cheshire cat or at least his smile to appear. And don’t forget Dormouse, he would be happy to be placed in a teapot on the table.

More on a Mad Hatters Tea Party

Now, time to plan the menu. It is a party for games and fun. Finger foods are perfect for this event. You can serve the same foods you would serve at any tea party, but have fun and get creative to on the names of the food. Remember, the sillier the better for Wonderland. How does Tweedledee and Tweedledum tarts sound? Courisier and courisier tea cocktails? The Mad Hatter did offer Alice some wine! So serve your ice tea drinks in plastic wine goblets to the kids. Take a ribbon and a name tag and tie it on the base of each glass. Write “Drink Me” on them. Make cookies that say “Eat Me”.

For a fun activity, allow your guests to become Mad Hatters, and create their own hats. It is a simple and fun activity for the kids. It takes newspaper, tape, scissors, flowers and a little creativity to make these as tea party favors. It is a great way to occupy the kids and allow them to make something memorable to take home.

This is a party to play croquet, card games and silly rhyming games. Depending on the age of the children, you can create games suitable for their age level. Some may love playing “opposites”. Everything in Wonderland is not as it appears to be. Make rules that everyone is called their name backwards and when responding to a question on should answer the opposite of what they really mean. It can create laughter as the kids get inventive with their questions.

A Mad Hatters tea party is a great and fun way to create some end of summer fun for kids! It allows them to be creative and silly. This is a party that will be talked about for years to come.



Connie Bednar has been a tea enthusiast all her life. She enjoys entertaining around tea themes and so her web site was born. Learn more about the fun Mad Hatters Tea Party here on her web site Take the time to sign up for “Tea Note Speaker” her newsletter (look for the link on the navigation bar to the left-here’s a hint the link is toward the bottom) while you are there and take advantage of her complimentary tea e-course.