Ok. I promised I would get some info up on throwing a tea party birthday, and I’ve been awfully slow on my follow-though. So here is part two, designed to give ideas for what to do at the party. I like to think of parties in four parts: craft project, games, cake, and presents. But first, I’d like to talk invitations.
Invitations set the mood of the party, so a tea-themed invitation is a good start. Ideas include a simple tea bag-shaped invitation, cut out of white paper, or perhaps creating a large tea bag with translucent vellum paper and including the party information inside as the actual “tea.” I chose to use a teapot shape as the invitation and wrote the party information on the pot with a string attached to the top to look like the string of tea bag hanging outside. The label for the tea bag had the child’s name on it.
The front of the teapots
The information side
In order to get your teapot shape you could either print out a teapot image and trace one, or draw one yourself. I found a picture of a shape I liked and copied it as best I could. I think it turned out just great! Because the marker bled through a little, I decided to add the dual-color on the back of the teapot. Also note, we encouraged dressing up, because what little kid (especially girls) doesn’t love to dress up? So . . . on to the party itself.
Crafts are a good way to get a party started because it’s an individual project that kids can work on as they’re arriving, since inevitably there will be parents (like me) who show up late. Our party had an age range of 3-5, and had boys and girls so I just let Emma pick whatever she wanted to do, but I came up with quite a few options for her to choose from. Here are some ideas:
♦Make paper fans out of construction paper and doilies, for an extra fancy look. Let the kids glue on a doily and decorate however they wish, then fold the paper accordian-style and secure the bottom with a rubberband or tape.
♦For a simple project, trace teapot shapes for each child to color (or print out an outline; I have no printer so I used the teapot I had drawn for the invitation template and used it again for the coloring sheets).
♦Paint ceramic teapots or tea sets.
♦Decorate a small pot and plant a flower/plant. You could also use a teapot as a planter. (This would be especially fun if you had a tea party in a garden outside; sadly, February in Nebraska is not great for an outdoor party.)
♦Decorate fancy nametags out of cardstock for a place setting at the tea table.
♦Check a local craft store for inexpensive kids’ crafts. We only have a Wal-Mart here, but they had a nice selection, including packages of suncatchers, bead kits, or even foam puppets (which is what Emma wanted!).
So after everyone arrived and either finished their crafts or got bored, we moved on to games. We started with Emma’s favorite: Pin the _____ on the ______. Last year we had a princess party and we pinned the lips on the frog prince. This year it was a tea cup on a saucer. And being a little older, the kids weren’t scared of the blindfold!
Pin the teacup on the saucer
We also used the previously colored teapot pictures for a game of musical teapots. We set the pictures on the floor and walked on them while playing music, and when the music stopped, they had to find a teapot to sit on. I don’t think they quite understood the game at this age, so we had to all hold hands and walk in the circle, and there was no mad rush to sit when the music stopped, but eventually we did get a winner!
The next game was a sugar cube relay. We split them into two teams and gave each team one spoon. Starting on one side of the room, they were given a sugar cube to carry on the spoon to the other side of the room where there were empty teacups waiting to be filled. The first team to fill their teacup wins. I had tested the coordination portion of this game before the party with Emma, and indeed, they were all quite capable of carrying a sugar cube on a spoon and walking to the other side of the room. What they didn’t understand was the concept of a race, and competition. One little boy kept waiting for the other team to catch up so they he wasn’t getting ahead of anyone. It was very sweet. Fortunately, they had fun, and they didn’t care about the concept of winning or losing anyway!
Dropping the sugar cube was a sad event
After that, we moved the party back to the table and distracted them by having them build towers out of the sugar cubes (this also served as a counting exercise, as we had to count whose was tallest!). I’m sure there could be many variations on sugar cube building—or even crafts with the sugar cubes. Just watch out for sneaky kids who pop them in their mouths when you’re not looking!
Those were all the activities we did, but I also considered making a tea party themed Bingo game, which would be fairly simple. You could also include personalized spaces for the birthday child, and you’d also have a game that you could play after the party that any kid would enjoy. Another idea would be some form of a tea bag tossing game. It could be simple, using different sized bowls and literally throwing tea bags into them for different point values. Or you could make little bean bags to look like tea bags, and use those. You could also throw them into actual teapots or get some cardboard and draw on teapots and cut out holes for different point values. This would definitely be for older, more coordinated children!
After games, we busted out the cake. At one point, I considered having snacks as well, but decided it really wasn’t necessary. I was just really tempted to make a lot of cute little sandwiches. But the cake was plenty, and we served pink lemonade in real teacups on saucers, which all the kids loved. We also had ice cubes shaped like flowers from trays at IKEA (I just had to bring IKEA up, I love it so!).
After that was the spoiling of my child, and then the inevitable opening and sharing of her plunder until parents were ready to take their kids home. Another successful birthday, that I can only hope she’ll remember a glimmer of later (hey, I still remember my bunny cake for my 4th birthday!). Stay tuned for one more post on the budget for such a shindig!
And as a separate note, I wanted to mention that I am going to be moving slightly away from blogging. As much as I enjoy it, it has been a catalyst to my cooking experimentation, and I’m finding that I really love the cooking. And once I’ve cooked, cleaned the dishes from my experiment, taken care of the kids, kept up with the house, and started fitting in a regular exercise routine, I’m finding that the something that’s gotta give has been my blogging. I don’t intend to completely quit; I’m just going to be a bit unpredictable!
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