Tea parties are a childhood tradition. Perhaps they seem a little old fashioned now in this era of video games and seemingly endless supplies of children’s television shows. Here are reasons why you should revive that tradition in your household. Find out why you should help your child host a stuffed animal tea party.
There are many things that go into a proper tea party. The focus is not so much on the tea as on the social aspects of the occasion. That one thing that makes tea parties so much fun while teaching social skills. A table where your child can sit along with a few “friends” and a few accessories is all that is needed for an entertaining play session. If this is your child’s first tea party, you probably need to help show how things are done. Arrange seats for you, your child, and a few of your child’s favourite baby soft toys. Take turns pouring imaginary tea into cups and offering more to each of your “guests”. Plastic or imaginary biscuits or other treats should be served around. This is a chance for your child to learn the proper way to play host to guests to make sure they are happy.
As you hold the tea party, be sure to demonstrate all of the different social niceties your child should expect and use at that type of gathering. Saying “please” and “thank you” are always important and your child might have already had a lot of practice at that. What could be more unexpected is asking guests if they have enough tea and if they would like some more. A discussion of the various types of treats available could be a lovely topic of conversation along with a talk about the lovely weather you’ve been having recently. Carefully “pour” tea into each cup and then pass the cups to the party guests.
Playing host may be the first chance for some children to try putting other people first. Making sure each plush toy has enough tea and biscuits is good practice for sharing and working with others at any age. Checking in with others to see how they are or if they need more of something is an important way to gain a better understanding of how other people see the world.
The most important part of a successful tea party is having a good imagination. This can give your child a chance to interact with the toys and to create dialogue for all of her guests. From there, he or she can create more stories about each of the characters at the tea party. The toys can go from items that are carried around to friends with their own imagined personalities. This can also provide your child more chances to practice conversational skills.
For an added boost of fun and additional changes to use imagination, have additional accessories for the tea party. Any event is more exciting if it includes a chance to dress up. Provide a few fun hats, crowns, or tiaras that guests can wear. Scarves, costumes, play jewellery can provide plenty of changes to stretch imaginations and make each tea party more special.
Serving tea – even imaginary tea – takes a fair amount of coordination. Add to it food and other accessories and your child could be practicing plenty of hand-eye coordination skills while serving guests at the party. Moving pieces of real or plastic food from a serving tray to the individual plates without dropping them takes skill. Setting up the dishes and guests for each party will provide additional practice cultivating physical skills.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to limit the guests at your child’s party. The plush animals can be mixed and matched with action figures and anything else from the toy box. Other children can be invited to participate. This usually goes best if you start out with just you and the toys at a party. Once your child learns more social skills on how a tea party works, it will be easier to invite another child or two to join in.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a fancy tea set. While it is nice to have a toy tea service for the tea party, it isn’t a requirement. You can contribute any sort of plastic or disposable cups to use for the gathering. A small watering can could fill in for a teapot. Plastic play food can be used to be a range of different types of tea party treats. A few real biscuits or other snacks would also be appreciated by those attending the party.
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