Would you like to come to tea?
In my opinion, tea parties are a childhood staple. Why, you ask? It is because the tea party is an activity that is full of imagination and role playing. When I was little, I got to dress up with some clip on earrings and a modest amount of lipstick for a tea party. Plus, teatime was the only time that my grandma would let me use a real cup and saucer. I got to pretend to be a prim and proper adult, and I got treated as such as I was served my tea and cookies. It was all very formal and fantastic, I assure you.
Also, tea parties are a great teachable moment to use some new vocabulary words that your child may never have heard before. When it comes to the tea party, it is time to pull out your silver dollar words. Instead of simply saying, “Would you like some more tea?” you can spiffy up the question by saying something along the lines of, “Would you like some more libations, Mademoiselle/Monsieur?.”
Lastly, I would like to point out that afternoon tea time is a fantastic opportunity to socialize and converse. Attributed to being started by The Duchess of Bedford, one of Queen Anne’s ladies in waiting, the tea time began as a way to combat the hunger and sleepiness that comes in the late afternoon. However, because it was such a big hit, afternoon tea became an opportunity to invite friends over for some quality time. True to its origins as a social event, tea parties often allow for children and adults to spend time with the people that they enjoy most in this world (human or stuffed animal). In fact, my coworkers just threw me a birthday tea! It was an awesome way to feel celebrated and spend some quality time with some very lovely people.
Are you ready to get your kettle brewing and put your pinky in the air? Good! Here are some books about tea parties that can give you and your child a warm up for your own party, including recipes and different party theme idea*:
Miss Spider’s Tea Party written and illustrated by David Kirk
Miss Spider desperately wants to host a tea party for the other animals in her community, but what she realizes is that most of them are afraid of her (spiders are scary, after all)! Of course, Miss Spider is very sad that other animals do not want to come to tea, but she is going to try her best to get them to come and have the tea party she has always wanted. After several misunderstandings on the part of the other animals and a little persuasion from Miss Spider, maybe she can have the tea party that she always wanted.
Teatime with Emma Buttersnap written by Lindsey Tate and illustrated by Linda Bronson
Emma Buttersnap and her Great Aunt Prudence love to have tea parties with one another, in fact they are throwing a secret surprise tea for someone special very soon. Emma will walk you through the steps of a tea party, and even through some of the history of tea. Who is the mystery guest of honor? Maybe it’s the Queen of England! If you want to know for sure, you’ll just have to check it out.
Fancy Nancy Tea Parties written by Jane O’Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Fancy Nancy sure knows how to throw a fabulous tea, and she shows you just how to do it, too! In this book, she will teach you some French phrases, some bedazzling crafts, and some nifty recipes that will allow you and your child to show off just how fancy you are.
Tea Party Rules by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by K. G. Campbell
In this tea-riffic story, a bear cub stumbles upon a tea party in the woods. Cub doesn’t really care for tea, but there are cookies at the tea, and Cub can’t say no to a cookie. So, Cub sets out to get those all those cookies for himself. However, as every good tea partier knows, there are rules to follow when having a tea: you have to be clean, not messy, and even a little bit fancy. It’s a good thing that he has just made a new friend that can help him learn all of these rules. With her help, maybe Cub will get to have his cookies and eat them, too.
*As you select your tea party books, keep in mind that some of these tea party books (especially the nonfiction books) are written for older children. You might need to summarize the story or information so you don’t lose the interest of your younger child. One tip for approaching nonfiction is to solely focus in on the recipes and themes that you and your child want to pursue for your party purposes.
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Bringing Books to Life
Bringing Books to Life helps educators and parents find fun and innovative ways to inspire children to read.
Elizabeth Atack, Program Coordinator
Megan Godbey, Adult Literacy Coordinator/GROW facilitator
Klem-Mari Cajigas, Bilingual GROW Project Facilitator