Tea Party -2yr- Egg Salad Finger Sandwiches
Jennifer in Riverside, IL USA
I had a Tea Party for my 2.5 year old daughter. This was not a birthday party; there was no occasion other than to have a real tea party instead of always pretending (which is, of course good in and of itself).
Anyhow, I didn't get really fancy on invites because I was under a time constraint. However, the guests all came in nice clothes that they would not otherwise wear to a play date. Upon arrival, each guest (even boys) got a candy necklace to get them in the mood. Since the guests were young (the oldest was 4 and the youngest was just 2) we started out immediately having the tea party.
Each child had a place card, which I made simply by finding a clip art (available on the web or in your own software packages) of a teacup and cutting it out and making a paper stand to hold it up. Additionally I made a bouquet of flowers for the centerpiece by making good old-fashioned pom pom flowers. (See Martha Steward magazine for April or May of 2001 for instructions.)
Additionally I draped the kids table with an old lace curtain that I no longer wanted (that way any spills would be harmless). You could have easily used tulle from the fabric store, which is very cheap, as a table covering. We got out our fanciest childs tea set and I used apple juice as the apple tea. In the sugar dish I put granulated sugar sprinkles (that you would use to decorate cookies).
In the creamer, I put plain old water. I used this tea party as a forum to introduce the concept of table manners. The boys were asked to wait until the girls were seated before they too took their seats (a little old fashioned, but politeness is the general concept.)
Once they were all seated I poured each child some tea. They were given the option to add sugar and/or cream to their tea. All the moms then mentioned some etiquette rules: no double dipping in the sugar bowl once you put your spoon in your cup, place you cup back down on its saucer instead of the table, no slurping, sit in the chairs like adults, hold out your pinky when drinking tea etc.
After all kids were settled into preparing drinking and their tea, I brought in a tray of finger sandwiches. I made simple peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into triangles with the crusts cut off (another thing that would have been cute would have been to cut the sandwiches out with fun cookie cutters).
Once they kids had sufficiently had their tea party, we cleared the table and allowed for some free play while the moms sat at the grown ups table and had their own tea party with egg salad finger sandwiches, cookie cutter Easter cookies (this was the week before Easter) and miniature cupcakes. I broke out my fancy china teacups and my tea cozy to keep the teapot warm while we all settled into our seats which was helpful, because setting in to our seat with toddlers running around takes some time.
After the moms had sufficient talk time and the kids had sufficient playtime, I broke out the craft activity. I bought plastic coffee/tea cups from the party store, as well as crayons and stickers. Each child got to decorate his/her own teacup to take home. This activity was a real hit for the kids and moms alike. One child guest even made a cup for me the hostess as a thank you. Shortly thereafter, I broke out the second activity, which was not necessarily tea-party related, but the kids loved it nonetheless. I bought a package of temporary tattoos and everyone got tattooed.
Before leaving each child got a goody bag which consisted of the following: Easter eggs filled with candy, package of stickers, two miniature candy bars, pipe cleaner toy (ours happened to be shaped like the Easter bunny since it was Easter time, but flowers or hearts or even teacups would have been cute) a bottle of bubbles, homemade clip earrings for the girls (from the craft store clip earring backs, topped by glue-gunning trinkets to the backs. I used fake jewels and fabric rosettes. However, buttons or small toys would work too).
For the boys I bought a strip of Flexi-Foam (ask for it by this name at the craft store) and cut out watches. I drew on the watch faces and added Velcro to hold the watches on their little wrists. The gift bags themselves were kind of fun too. I simply bought plain old paper bags that were yellow. I again went to my computer graphics and printed out some artwork on colored paper (in this case I printed out the same teacup that was used for the place cards, as well as a jumping bunny), cut them out and pasted the pieces onto the fronts of the bags. Worked out beautifully.
All I n all the party was a huge success. I like to think of it a s a glorified playdate where the kids get a chance to get dressed up, play like grownups and have some fun.
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