Children delight in the tea party. They fill their plastic tea sets with tap water, throw a few goldfish crackers on the plates, and invite every friend and animal (stuffed or not) to the event. My favorite part of those early tea parties with my children included trying to fit in the little chairs they provided!
Therefore, it’s not surprising that many of my new visitors to Tea Party Girl are looking for information to throw their children a “real” tea party. It’s a favorite theme for birthday parties and the holidays are a particularly special time for such an event. Paired with a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and a pair of patent leather shoes, the children’s holiday tea party can transport any tomboy or girl to The Kingdom of Sweets.
The secret to the child’s tea party is to keep it simple. This is Tea Party Girl’s advice. Keep it small (eight guests is plenty!) and consider age appropriateness. My daughter’s first tea party with guests her age took place when she was four. Even then, some mothers stayed one-on-one with their child while the little ones navigated tea, sugar, milk, and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Personally, I think 6-9 year-olds are the best age group to introduce to the tea party, especially with a group of their peers. You can offer it to a younger crowd, of course, but be prepared for the attention-span to be short. You might be surprised how little time they actually sit down to tea!
The highlights of the tea party for children are:
- what they wear.
- what they eat.
- what they drink out of.
Stick to the highlights. Especially if the crowd is younger, you will need to plan some crafts and activities. The best option is to pair a craft with what they wear. Teddy Bears and Tea Cups on Balboa Island in California, for example, provides beads and pipe-cleaners to give the girls a chance to make bracelets and necklaces. At my daughter’s tea parties, we’ve decorated hats the girls then wore. Encourage the guests to wear their favorite dress-up clothes or party dresses, depending on what you plan to do. Or raid your local thrift store for all sparkly, gauzy, or “poofy” accessories like scarves or boas.
If your guests DO wear their best party dresses, you may want to skip the chocolate-covered strawberries. Instead, think small, simple (and pink!). Make the food petite such as:
- small sandwiches cut with cookie cutters
- petit-four cakes
- tiny ice cream scoops rolled in sprinkles
- little colorful candies in little baking cups
- mini muffins or tarts
A simple touch includes adding garnishes of fresh flowers and fruit. Keep it small! Fix up a plate for each child with these special nibbles ahead of time. Then they won’t have to reach for anything, minimizing spills.
Finally, I recommend providing children real plates, teacups, and linens. Expose their senses to beauty and move beyond the practicality of plastic and paper tableware. They will love drinking from real teacups. (And with enough cream and sugar, real tea!). Go ahead and add the beauty of beautiful classical music from Mozart or Bach. It’s amazing how much children respond to real art and beauty. Often the dumb-downed version is just excess noise.
Providing tea parties for children can also be a lucrative business and niche in the tea culture. Many local tea rooms provide this service or can recommend someone who does. If you are involved in a children’s tea party related business, would you leave a comment and tell us about it? (One of you did a few days ago, and for some reason I can’t find your info. Please feel free to leave it again). What would be your one piece of advice for someone throwing a tea party for children?
And if you still have questions after reading this post about the children’s tea party, please feel free to ask it in the comments as well.
Anyone hosting a holiday tea for children this year?