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The tradition of afternoon tea is revered throughout the nation, and our children are no exception. You haven’t lived until you’ve been invited to your child’s tea party, but you could make the age-old set-up more fun and engaging for you and your children – as well as any other attendees, whether they be real or imaginary.
Let’s explore some options for switching things up the next time you receive that all-important invite.
Of course, we all know that the idea of you having any control over playtime sounds like a pipe dream, but there are a few options for establishing a nice set-up before play even begins. A table that’s designated for ‘tea’ time is a great beginner. It would probably be better if you opted for a kiddie table, since your child will be more confident and happy hosting when the props are ‘their’ size. Since we’ve all been forced onto a kid’s chair that is entirely too small for us, maybe a few pillows would be better seating choices for those over 3 feet tall.
A tablecloth may be the unsung hero of a children’s tea party, catching all manner of crumbs and spills that could otherwise spell the end of a once-decent carpet or rug. Using a full-sized tablecloth as a makeshift rug will catch any spills and be far easier to clean up than going without. Make napkins a part of your team and you have another very easy way of maintaining a decent level of cleanliness.
It’s up to you where you establish the set-up, but your child’s bedroom will be the most inviting place for them, as well as keeping the chaos contained to their space rather than the entire house. If their room is a bit of a tight space, however, the living room floor is as good a place as any, it just might mean you have to find a good storage solution when tea time is over. A lot of kid’s tables are collapsible for exactly this reason, and should be able to fold away somewhere neatly enough.
With the set-up established, there are a few decisions to left to make that can have afternoon tea be a more engaging and more ‘real’ experience for your child. The first choice to make is about the tea itself.
Obviously, most children’s tea parties serve that special blend of air and plastic, but you can change this for something more enjoyable for everyone if you choose. A real tea set, for example, changes the atmosphere immediately. Whether you have an old silver teapot lying around from generations past, or a simple ceramic teapot and cups, letting your child use something ‘real’ will have them more interested in the play itself, and it provides an opportunity to teach them about how to be more careful with ‘real’ things.
For safety’s sake, you can still have invisi-tea be the beverage of choice if you have a very young child, but there are a few options available. Older children, for example, might enjoy tea, particularly if you choose a fruity flavoured tea. If not, maybe squash or fresh juice would make for a nice addition to the ceremony. Using real beverages of any kind makes the event more interesting and interactive for both you and your child.
The next step is naturally food. Serving food during afternoon tea is an essential, whether it’s finger sandwiches or jammy dodgers. Choosing some of your child’s favourite snacks during their tea party creates a great environment for bonding with one another. You can steer the conversation towards school, their friends, whatever topic you want to know more about or you want them to discuss. Tea parties are also a great opportunity for learning with one another; you could have a documentary playing in the background, or you could quiz your child on a topic they enjoy while they serve you your ‘tea’, giving them an opportunity to flex their brain muscles while they have fun.
With just these few tips in mind, you can create an engaging – and manageable – tea time set-up for you and your kids. Once that’s established, you can make the most of a fun time with your kids that they’re sure to enjoy time and time again. What’s your favorite tip for getting the best playtime with your kids?