Mad Tea Party 7yr - Hat Decorating
Connie, Mom to Alexa in Pittsford, NY USA
The plans for my daughter, Alexa's, 7th Mad Tea birthday party started with Chapter VII of Lewis Carroll's, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
For the invitation, the first sentence of the chapter, A Mad Tea Party, was slightly altered to read, There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, at (our address) and Alexa and dolls were having tea at it. They hoped you would join them for a Mad Tea Party. I set up Alexa's play table with a tea set and her dolls under the tree in front of our house. I dressed her as Alice serving tea and took photos for the front of the invite. Inside we gave the particulars and asked each girl to come dressed for tea and to bring a friend, (a favorite doll or stuffed toy). Alexa chose her American girl doll. I found the perfect dresses for them on eBay. They were Maggie and Zo matching dresses for girl and doll which were yellow sundresses with pink, blue and green tea pots, cups and saucers all over them.
As the 14 girls arrived to the party they were directed to the dining room, which was all set up with our best china and silver tea pots. They selected a seat and placed their friend in the seat. We had plenty of stand-in friends on hand since some of the girls forgot to bring one.
They then joined one of three craft stations. Alexa's oldest sister and a babysitter were there to help out. One craft table was hat decorating. We found white Easter hats at our local dollar store and purchased silk flowers and ribbons there also to adorn them. The older girls secured the chosen decorations with a hot glue gun, which made them wearable immediately.
The second craft was tea cup personalization. I found odds and ends cups and saucers at thrift stores and had lots of paint markers available to personalize the cups with. They could drink from the cups as long as they didn't put paint on the inside. The third craft was a simple place card, on which they put both their own name and that of the friend. These they placed at the table.
Since the girls arrivals were staggered and they finished the crafts at different times, I had ample opportunity to steal small groups away at different times for a photo shoot. We had the small table set up with tea for two in our living room. The girls each selected a small sequined purse, a pair of vintage gloves (also purchased on eBay) and a feather boa, all of which they got to take home, to put on along with their decorated hat. They then had a photo taken serving tea to their friend. We used these in the thank you notes and also for a scrap book which I made for Alexa after the party.
After the crafts and photos were finished we moved on into games. The first game was a present passing game. We wrapped a smaller box with a surprise inside and place that inside a larger box, wrapped that 4 or 5 times. The girls sat in a circle and listened as I read the Mad Tea Party chapter. They were instructed to listen for certain words which changed the direction of the passing or stopped the present to be opened. When we got to the end of the chapter, the last layer was opened and inside were faux pearl bracelets for everyone!
The second game was a tea relay. The girls divided into two teams and relayed tea (water) in mini cups from one side of the yard to the other. They had to balance the mini cup on a mini saucer and try not to spill. The team with the most tea in their pot at the end got to each pick from the prize box. I put candy necklaces, watches and ring pops into a decorated box ahead of time.
The last game was a musical balloons game. I would have done this outside, but it started raining, so we did it inside. We arranged the girls in the family room with enough balloons for each girl, minus two. We started the music, Disney's Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. When the music stopped, each girl had to sit on a balloon and pop it. The balloons were fair game until they were popped, so the girls who didn't get one originally still had a chance until they were all popped. We kept it civil by saying that you couldn't take one out from under someone else, but you could recover it if it popped away. The girls who had to leave the game got to choose from the prize box. Making everyone a winner. The last two girls in the game got a wrapped miniature china tea set.
Finally we got to the tea! We all headed into the dining room. We went around the table having the girls introduce their friends and telling about how they got them. We also had a tea pot filled with little slips of paper each with a cute little joke, which the girls took turns reading aloud (it was a Mad Tea Party afterall). This was all taking place while the adults served crustless ham and cheese or pb&j sandwiches and iced tea and lemonade. I made the sandwiches and used large flower and butterfly cookie cutters to punch them out of their crusts.
After the sandwiches there were silver trays filled with chocolate dipped strawberries, brownie tartlets, sugar cookies and mascarpone cream puffs, which were passed around. I also made a 3-D teapot cake from a pattern I found on the web surrounded by little tea-cupcakes (upside down cupcakes iced to look like tea cups with fruit jelly handles). The food had little signs that said eat me, the drinks said, drink me and tons of other details that I haven't even mentioned, like the door mouse in the teapot and the Cheshire cat in the fica tree. Each girl left with a ton of loot and a huge smile on her face and Alexa still pours over the scrap book to reminisce.
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