This guest post features Donna Collins. She has been planning special events for over 20 years. Her children’s party planning business, Party Wishes, is located in Santa Clarita, CA. Check out her website at www.partywishesscv.com.
Being a children’s party planner, I have the pleasure of introducing children to the wonderful ceremony of having tea. Of course, a child’s tea party is slightly modified from an adult tea party but the elements are basically the same. Whether I’m hosting a party for 2 or 20, there are some simple rules I like to follow.
First the decorations must be festive and capture the imagination. For example, when I host my Mary Poppins Tea Party, I include decor to reflect that of the theme. I have Edwardian inspired china and serving pieces. I have a giant penguin holding a tray of goodies and framed pictures of Mary and Bert on the table. The girls wear Mary Poppins inspired hats with cherries and daisies on them and wear white gloves.
When my daughter and I have a Fairy Tea Party, it is outside under a tree. I attach a pink netted canopy from a branch and spread a blanket out for us to sit on. Don’t be afraid to use your “good china”. It teaches the children to appreciate it and you will be surprised how gently they treat it once you explain the importance of it. My daughter has been sipping out of 100 year old china tea cups since she was 3 years old.
Next, the food should be small and fun to look at. Sandwiches are much more fun to eat when they are shaped like flowers and have a maraschino cherry half as it’s center. Pretzels and marshmallows dipped in chocolate and sprinkles are fun and easy. Chocolate cupcakes frosted red with white chocolate chips (tips pressed in first) look like magical mushrooms! Anything you can put sprinkles, colored sugar, make into different shapes or make a different color usually makes wonderful children tea food. Even scones dusted with colored sugar before baking can become child-like. Some fun cookbooks to reference are the Pink Princess Cookbook and Fairies Cookbook. You can try to introduce real tea to children but I found it is easier to start them off with lemonade. My kids favorite is Raspberry Lemonade.
Of course, the constant in all tea parties is manners. When I host a party for children, I always go over the “rules” of the table. The first item I go over is the magic words- please and thank you. Napkin on your lap and NO slurping! When food is offered and they don’t want one, I tell them it is polite to say “No thank you. I don’t care for any”, not “I don’t like it.” And if they touch-y, they take-y . Look first and then pick up what you want. Only take one of each item, never more than you can eat. That is even difficult for adults when everything looks so yummy! I always have them asked to be excused to leave the table for any reason. It’s amazing how well behaved the children will act when at a tea table and they know what is expected of them.
Although it is not required at adult tea parties, I always like to have an activity for the kids. My daughter and I go on a walk around the neighborhood and collect items to build a fairy house. We then come home and build it together. It’s wonderful to see her little imagination at work and deciding if a certain rock will make a good table or a chair. After the construction is done, we then have our well deserved tea. Just last night, my husband and I introduced our children to the game of croquet. My daughter immediately planned a weekend croquet tournament with a tea party. What a fabulous idea!
Tea Party Girl’s note: Which of Donna’s ideas do you like the best? There are some terrific ones here! Leave a comment and let us know.