So you’re planning a tea party — and you have an absolutely  delightful event in mind. Will it surprise you to learn that the Tea Party you’re envisioning may not be the same kind of party envisioned by your friends, neighbors or family?

       Rarely have two little words — Tea Party — had the ability to evoke so many wildly different images for so many people. 

         To illustrate, consider a couple of quick questions.  When you think Tea Party, do you imagine hats, boas and pearls? Do you think dress-up and la-ti-da diva-style fun? Or do you  imagine elegance and style, ebodied by linens, lace, silver and china on a beautiful tabletop, with tiny cakes and assorted savories?

            Do you imagine aromatic and piping hot tea served with thin slices of lemon or milk — or do you see a pretty punch bowl, perhaps with a pretty, flower-strewn ice ring floating inside? Should every piece of china match beautifully or should your Tea Party celebrate the mismatched fun of vintage tea cups collected from flea markets and antique shops?

       Which ranks higher on your mental list of  ideal Tea Party components:  teddy bears and baby dolls or white gloves and party manners? 

          There’s no right or wrong preference — only an amazing array of different answers. A Tea Party means something different to almost everyone who imagines one. 

          It’s only important here in that advice for planning the perfect Tea Party hinges on the style of Tea Party you’re seeking….and on the age of the child for whom you are planning a Tea Party.

         Tea Parties for Preschoolers

           Many moms are reluctant to plan Tea Parties for prechoolers — and generally speaking, this is a tough party theme to execute well for children ages 3-5.  A Tea Party by its nature requires children to sit still for extended periods of time, and preschoolers are notorious for short attention spans. 

          However, a Tea Party specifically designed for preschoolers can be a charming and delightful event, one that is enjoyed by all in attendance.  As long as the Tea Party is age appropriate, the children will love it.

           Here are some tips to ensure that your Preschool Tea Party is a success. A few of them may surprise you; they’re totally the opposite from what you might expect!

          Don’t make it a Tea Party at which the moms join in.  It’s tough to resist; I know. Everyone loves a good Tea Party, and moms want to join the party, and who doesn’t want to have a Tea Party with her daughter? What a fabulously fun concept! But the adorable mother-daughter Tea Party you are envisioning simply does not work well for most children younger than 6.  Your party will be far more successful (and much more fun for the children) if you plan a program specifically designed for preschoolers and let moms watch the fun unfold, perhaps being available for a little back-up assistance now and then.

          Linens and lace, fine china and silver are not required.   Not for this age group, anyway. Other moms may feel a bit stressed if they see you serving your best china to their daughters!

          Do craft a complete party program. It is not realistic to expect young children to spend the bulk of the party time at the table. In fact, the total time spent at the table for this group should be less than half an hour. Fifteen minutes is ideal. Spend the bulk of the party preparing for the Tea Party — making Tea Party Hats or playing Tea Party games,  for example.  The more structure you provide, the better. Try to have 45 minutes of structured games and activities planned for the time before the group is seated at the table.

      We recommend a Teddy Bear and Baby Doll theme for this age group, as it provides a great way to make use of the time before going to the table.  

       Crowd control. Please do not invite 15 children to your preschooler’s Tea Party!  It is difficult to handle this many young children in a party setting, and unless you are a teacher or have extensive child management experience, you may have a bit more excitement than you bargained for at your party! We recommend no more than 8 to 10 partygoers for this age and this theme

      Preschoolers do not like tea.  You may adore tea, but is a rare child who likes the taste, and an even rarer preschooler!  Don’t be tricked into purchasing flavored teas often marketed with Tea Party Kits for children; this is a waste of money as most children detest flavored tea.  Please keep in mind that the word “tea” is not going to be well received by many of your little guests, who may be very worried about being required to drink something they do not want to drink! To a young child, this can be a real party spoiler.  Be sure to tell your guests you are not serving real tea — that it’s all pretend and it’s really just lemonade or apple juice in the tea pot.  The Party Fairy recommends serving a cold drink in the tea pot rather than anything hot.

             No fancy food.  Certainly those delightful little tea sandwiches, savories and scones with cream and jam are important to an adult Tea Party — but the reverse is true at an event for a preschooler.  Small cupcakes and an assortment of cookies will be your best choice. Cake is difficult for young children to eat and does not work well the elegant and petite style of the Tea Party. If you would like to serve sandwiches, by all means do so — but make sure they are cut into small quarters, with crusts removed, and consist of very plain fare. This is not the time to serve traditional cucumber sandwiches! PBJ is always a good choice — but in today’s world, an increasing number of peanut allergies among children is making most of us rethink that traditional food.  Try plain cheese or plain turkey with a thin bit of mayo. About the most adventurous  sandwich for this age group is a raisin bread sandwich spread with cream cheese and thin slices of peeled apples. 

               Other ideas for a preschooler’s Tea Party include serving grapes, melon balls, small pieces of celery spread with peanut butter or cream cheese, strawberries split and piped with cream cheese or drizzled with chocolate, or buttery crackers spread with peanut butter.

Tea Parties for Ages 6-8

                  This is the ideal age for that mother-daughter Tea Party you’ve been imagining!

Info Coming soon.


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