Are you looking for super-simple ideas for your youngsters these days? Allow me to suggest throwing a Mom & Me Tea Party! It’s something fun I occasionally like to do with my littles; they love it. The best part is that you get a lot of mileage out of very little effort.
Tea Parties are a great impromptu pick-me-up when you have a sudden inspiration, a few ‘free’ moments, or just anytime. Putting the party together takes only minutes but feels much more special than a hurried snack.
Preschoolers generally need an afternoon snack anyway, so you’re not adding to an already overflowing to-do list. A tea party just takes a routine activity from ordinary to extra-special, and all within seven or eight minutes.
Since my planning style is best described as spur-of-the-moment, I don’t plan tea parties far in advance. Possibly up to fifteen minutes, sometimes as few as five. I serve up whatever’s in the pantry and fridge or on the counter. In my experience, it doesn’t matter what I serve; as long as it’s cut up small and served on fun little dishes, it looks like a fancy party.
Here are the basic Mommy and Me Tea Party requirements. Change them up to suit your self!
- Clear the coffee table or other small table. Any child-friendly surface, even a box, will work if it’s relatively sturdy.
- Drape a table topper, small table cloth, or piece of fabric over for a table cloth. Nothing fancy – we’re just going for quick and fun.
- Optional: add a candle or flowers, if you wish. Most young children aren’t burdened by mismatching color schemes so you needn’t be either.
- Break out your tea set, china dishes, plasticware, or your smallest serving dishes (butter and jam dishes for serving bowls, syrup pitchers for the drink). A friend gave me the cutest set of three little cups that say ‘mommy’, ‘me’ and ‘me too’ on them. We usually use those, but will sometimes use small disposable cups or funky mugs. Whatever you choose, it doesn’t add much to the dishwasher load or a pile of already-waiting handwash-only dishes.
- Optional: pretty little napkins – now is a great time to use up odds and ends from your stash. For more personalized flair, stamp or write on plain napkins or even paper towel, if that’s what’s available.
Now for the party fare. Generally, I use whatever I would serve anyway–party or not–and/or raid the pantry and freezer. The key, for me, is serving everything in tiny portions. Together with dainty dishes, they make serving a five-dish snack feel considerably more gourmet than it really is! 😉 Here are some ideas:
- Cookies, cut in quarters
- Carrot sticks and cukes, cut smaller than usual
- Little cubes, sticks, or slices of cheese
- Favorite dry cereal
- Raisins or craisins
- Pepperoni or sausage, cut small
- Small pieces of fruit
- Hard-boiled egg slices
Several orange slices or a few drops of Mio (liquid water enhancer) in water make things prettier in a hurry. Serve in a pretty pitcher and things take on a festive look.
You can take things a step further and make the party extra-special with a few pieces of candy, mini marshmallows, M&Ms or chocolate chips for all. It’s funny how you can get by with doling out three or four M&Ms per child and it’s just as special as having the whole box.
Completely optional but totally fun is asking party participants to dress up. Score extra points if mom shows up in a hilarious outfit.
Last but not least, don’t forget to sit down with your kiddos. I’m pretty sure half the fun is just seeing mom hunkering down on a child-size chair and eating child-size stuff!
Happy Tea Partying!