Little girls and tea parties go together. It's just a matter of observing the niceties, and where there's tea, there may be quite a few niceties involved: Stick your little finger out when you drink, take little sips and always chew with your mouth closed. Wearing mom's high heel shoes (and jewelry) isn't essential, but it does help create the right mood.
A children's tea party will differ from a tea party for adults in a number of particulars beyond the guest list. The duration of the party should run about two hours, and stuffed animals and dolls should be included on the seating chart. The snacks should be downsized, too. You may want to serve cookies, cake and ice cream, but be sure to keep the portions small. These tips will help, too:
- Send out invitations -- Yes, invitations are important. They'll provide parents with details about the location, time, duration and dress for the party. Mailed invitations are a nice touch, but an invitation via e-mail is OK, especially if this isn't a special occasion celebration like a birthday.
- Age considerations -- Kids 5 to 7 years old are prime candidates for a tea party, although kids as young as 2 will enjoy the fun.
- The theme -- From "Alice in Wonderland" to the latest Disney animated film, choosing a theme for a kids' tea party is pretty easy. If nothing else captures your fancy, you can stick to the old standby, a princess tea party (tiaras all around). You can also encourage guests to wear costumes that fit the theme of the party. It adds to the drama.
- The décor -- The decorative elements you'd find at a party store for a birthday celebration will work for a tea party, as well. Choose pastel colors, and go all out with paper flowers, streamers and garlands. You want to make this one memorable.
- The food -- Expect to serve cookies, cake (mini cupcakes) and other sweets at a kids' tea party, but do ask the parents involved about food allergies and other limitations before settling on a final menu.
- The games -- You can arrange for most of the kids' games you'd plan for a birthday party, with a focus on the less rowdy options. After all, this is supposed to be a refined gathering.
- The tea -- Plain tea may not be quite what your guests are expecting, especially if they've never had hot tea before. To make sure there are no unpleasant surprises, limit tea choices to sweetened fruity varieties or sweetened ice tea. Keeping some hot cocoa, soda or lemonade on hand is a good idea, too.
- The parents -- Hosting a tea party for your child is a great time to get to know your fellow parents, too. While the kids are playing pretend, you can have your own mini-tea party in the kitchen. This is great for guest parents who would otherwise cool their heels at the mall until it's time to put their chauffeur's hat back on. (Psst! They make great helpers, too.)