My boys recently became obsessed with a tea party set my mother originally purchased for friends. She left the set out for them amongst many other items for water play. My sons have come to love making tea, having tea and giving tea parties. In short, the activity is adorable and beautifully organic, driven entirely by their sweet little spirits.
Here is what I love about tea parties:
Fine Motor Skills -My boys are 3 and 1.5 years old, prime to work on fine motor skills. Slow and steady are two favorite words these days. I love this picture because our 3 year old is taking such care in pouring the “tea” for his mama. If this set were glass or ceramic, I would definitely encourage placing the cup on a table and supporting the pitcher's spout with the index and fore fingers.
Grace and Courtesy – So sweet and simple. Practice social skills. Serve your guests first, then yourself. Ask your guests if they would like tea and, if so, what kind would they like. Refill your guests tea cups if their cups are low. Beginning around 2.5-3 years old children are ripe for this sort of learning. Here are a few great blog posts on grace & courtesy: Here and Here.
Sequence – What do we have to do first? Having a tea party forces your child to think about what he has to do in order to make it happen. We had a great time reading Lott's Tea Party a few weeks ago. The illustrations are great but also the book and action cards emphasized what it takes to host a party from cleaning to making to greeting. Learning sequence or chronology is essential for a child’s understanding of the flow of his life and linear progression of time (e.g. timeline).
Pretend Play – There is hardly anything more adorable than a child entrenched in preparing a meal or sweeping the floor all for the love of it! I love the focus and the positive intent. I love this quote from The Absorbent Mind: ‘It is true that in all these activities, the child may be said to be playing. But this kind of play is effortful, and it leads him to acquire the new powers which will be needed for his future.' Children have the capacity to understand a lot and to be able to exercise this understanding and to see this greater world through pretend play is great for their development.
So, we are loving our tea parties. Lots of good old fun! Thanks for choosing to read this post today! I hope that we inspired you!