Tea Party

Tea for two...and many more!

by Deanna F. Cook
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For a younger child, a tea party is a fun opportunity to dress up in fancy clothes, pour and sip "tea" for friends (and their teddy bears), and celebrate being a year older by pretending to be a grown-up. There are a few bonuses for parents, too. A "formal" tea is a fitting occasion for kids to practice good table manners and get into the habit of sending post-party thank you notes. It's also a great chance to swap stories with the guests' parents while sharing your own pot of tea.  

PARTY POINTERS

• The table is a main focal point of this party, so go all out with a festive tablecloth, place cards and lollipop flowers.

• Keep the activities simple: put on outfits from a dress-up box filled with old party clothes, hats and costume jewelry; go on a sticker hunt; pose for photos; and sing "I'm a Little Teapot."

• Fill a box with outfits from your closet or a local thrift store that the guests can dress up in.

• Buy film for group photos and toy cups and saucers for favor bags. • Make sandwiches and fill a fancy pot with herbal iced tea.  

TEA INVITATIONS

You'll want to brew up a proper invite for this party--like this colored-paper teapot. You can draw each one freehand or simply enlarge the shape shown here on a copy machine and use it as a template. Write the party greeting on the front and the date, time and other particulars on the back. Then cut out a tea bag "tag" on which to print "Bring a teddy bear, stuffed animal or doll." Staple one end of a short string to the tag and the other to the teapot top, and the invitation is ready to pop in an envelope to mail or deliver.  

LOLLIPOP FLOWERS

These colorful candy blossoms make a great centerpiece for your party table.The petals and leaves are simply cut colored paper. Affix the petals with tape and cut slits in the leaves. For a special touch, arrange a bouquet by inserting the lollipop "stems" into a Styrofoam dome (sold at most craft stores).  

LACY PAPER FANS

Perfect props for tea party guests, these lacy paper fans are a breeze to make.Use a glue stick to affix a paper doily onto a sheet of colored paper, then fold the sheet accordion style. For a handhold, pinch together one shorter end and secure it with a rubber band.  

PARTY FAVORS

Turn white paper bags (sold at most party stores) into giant tea bag party favors by filling each one with costume jewelry, penny candy and a toy cup and saucer (buy a tea set and divide it up). Fold the upper corners of each bag toward the center, then fold down the top and staple a piece of string to it. Staple a paper name tag to the end of the string.   MENU Juice, herbal iced tea Tea sandwiches with the crusts removed and cut into quarters: PB & J or chicken salad Animal Crackers Tea cupcakes

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