Easy Children's Tea Party Ideas and Recipes
Tea parties are a fun daily activity in my house, so we've developed lots of easy and quick foods that kids can make themselves. Transform an everyday snack time into something special!
Fun Food IdeasClick thumbnail to view full-size
Drinks: Sometimes my kids do like to have real tea, but usually they prefer:
- Chocolate Milk: having milk with chocolate powdered mix (we use the hot chocolate mix usually) to mix in.
- Lemonade: use Kool Aid or make with real lemons.
- Decaf Tea with cream and sugar cubes.
- Fruit Juice like apple juice or orange juice.
Food: Here are some of our favorite recipes, they are all made from things I usually have around the kitchen:
- Butterfly sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into triangles and made like butterflies, put sprinkles on top and use something straight like cheetos or pretzels or celery sticks for antennae)
- Sugared Jell-O grapes: These are really fun and kids like to make them. You take grapes off of the stems. Pour a little Jell-O (any flavor) in a plastic dish. Drop in the grapes and roll them around. They will be covered with the Jell-O, which will become crusty and tasty. You can also try this with other fruits. I first saw this at an adult wedding shower!
- Marshmallow cakes Take marshmallows and put a little peanut butter or frosting on top of mini-marshmallows and then dip in sprinkles. You can also dip the marshmallows in melted chocolate and decorate.
- Banana wheels: Peel a banana, cut it into one inch slices (kids can do this with a kitchen knife or even a plastic one). Next, dip a pretzel stick in peanut butter and stick in middle of each slice. Finally, sprinkle the banana wheels with sprinkles or roll them in sprinkles.
- Crackers with cheese cubes, pepperonis or ham with pretzel sticks. You can also put a slice of ham and cheese together, roll them up and then cut in slices and hold in place with a pretzel stick or toothpick.
- Fruit: cut up into small pieces. Good fruits are pineapple cubes, mandarin oranges, apple slices, blueberries or strawberries. You can serve these with a dipping sauce like yogurt, caramel sauce, chocoate sauce or peanut butter.
- Popcorn: plain, kettle, butter or our favorite: covered with melted chocolate. To make chocolate popcorn you melt about 1/4 cup of chocolate chips or else 1 square of candy chocolate in the microwave for one minute. Next you mix the melted chocolate with 1 bag of microwave popped corn (be sure to take out unpopped kernals). If you want, you can color white chocolate or add sprinkles after you coat with chocolate. To harden the popcorn a little, you put it in the freezer for 3-5 minutes.
- Frosted Popcorn or Cereal: Even faster then making Rice Crispy treats! Melt about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of frosting in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds, stir, then pour on a bag of popcorn. Mix around and then put in the freezer for 3 minutes to harden. Add sprinkles if you want!
- Vanilla Wafer or Graham Cracker Cakes: My kids love to make their own "cakes" for the tea party using vanilla wafers, graham crackers or any other little cakes or cookies I have around. They put a little frosting on the top with plastic knives, then decorate these with sprinkles, M & M's chocolate chips, mini-marshmellows or any other leftover candies I have on hand.
- Octopus Hot Dogs: Cut hot dogs about 2/3 of the way up so that they have at least 4 pieces (see picture). Put them in boiling water and these will curl up. Serve with a little ketchup for eyes.
- Regular Snack Foods: Anything your kids would normally eat for snack or a meal can probably be turned into a party food. Consider how you can "dress it up" by cutting it into smaller portions, putting on a few sprinkles, adding some cinnamon sugar, or arranging it to look like a face on a plate.
Fun with Sisters or Friends!
Plastic sets are great, but they often can't go into the dishwasher, so they take a little more cleaning up. However, that can be part of the fun and teaching time as kids learn to carry their tea things to the sink and wash them.
Washing Up tips: Or when the kids are very young, you might even want to give them a bowl at the table or on the floor to wash their cups and pot. Then they can dry them and put them away. We have several inexpensive plastic tea sets and love to use them.
Glass Sets: For kids that are a little bit older, you might want to purchase a glass tea set or give them some leftover dishes you have or find at a garage sale or Grandma's. The glass dishes can be washed in the dishwasher, which makes it easier for mom. Kids can still learn to pick up their things and take them to the dishwasher and then later put them away. I like the fact that I'm able to use this playtime to help teach friends how to clean up their messes too.
Use Leftover Party Supplies: I also save leftover birthday napkins and plates for tea parties. The kids love using these special plates, and it does make clean-up easier. Sometimes, when a friend is over, we will even take out extra balloons, crepe paper, and other decorations to get ready for the party. The friends love being able to have a spontaneous "party" on a regular play date.
Go Outside! One of my favorite ways to have my kids host a tea party with friends it to send them outside! We pack all their things in a basket with a blanket. They go outside and have a picnic party. They put everything back in the basket to clean up. It is a wonderful way to encourage kids to spend time outside and enjoy nature.
Dressing up the Presentation Using Cupcake Holders: My favorite way to easily "dress up" the food is to put it into cupcake or candy holders. You can just use the plain ones you get at the grocery store, or buy a few of the fancier ones for special cupcakes. In fact, this idea was how I presented all the food for the girls at my oldest daughter's "Sweet 16" birthday. They loved the fact that the cupcake holders made everything look grown-up and fancy.
Fancy Nancy Tea Party with Author and Ilustrator
Hosting a tea party for kids is a great way to teach manners as well as simple cooking techniques. By having their snack as a “party,” kids learn to co-operate in setting the table, making the food and cleaning up. Know that when you help your children host for their friends that you are helping them learn important skills while they are having fun!
Another reason is that it helps children develop their imagination.Girls can pretend they are princesses or fancy ladies out to lunch. Often, my girls dress up in their princess dress-up clothes complete with feather boas, high heels, gowns,and tiaras. Or they enjoy hosting a party for their stuffed animals. Encourage them to create a story and play act as they go along. Even now, my high school daughter, who is in theater, loves to do improv situations with her friends while having tea.
Build Family Memories
Mostly, have fun and let your kids be creative. They may want to spend the morning decorating construction paper placemats, hanging decorations, or concocting some special food for the party. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but even as a teenager, my son enjoyed having tea with his sisters. Our regular parties have built up a lot of fun family memories. I hope they build a lot of memories for you too!