Don’t settle for a Birthday party...make it an event, by having a formal English tea.
Don’t be put off by the immediate mental image of snobby little girls in pinafores and ringlets ordering you around like an indentured servant. A tea party can be loads of fun! What little girl doesn’t serve her dolls and teddy bears tea at least once before moving on to boys, the cell phone and rock stars? Celebrate your young daughter’s birthday innocence with a tea.
One glitch that might be floating around your brain is that most 3-8 year olds don’t drink tea, at least not a typical English tea. This does not seem to prevent them from filling Teddy’s cup with a steaming hot cup of imagined tea. In other terms, don’t feel compelled by the bonds of authenticity to serve real tea. You could have hot chocolate with marshmallows and flavored creams instead of tea with cream and sugar. You could serve a variety of herbal teas in pretty colors the girls will love. Or you could skip the warm liquid altogether and serve kool-aid in a tea pot. The bottom line is most children won’t really care as long they can pretend.
There are a wide variety of foods that can be served. The main theme though should be daintiness. A formal tea is all about presentation. Children may not like water cress and cucumber finger sandwiches, but a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut into fancy shapes with a cookie cutter is sure to be a hit.
Cookies are a must. To dress up common favorites (even the store bought variety) try melting a few chocolate chips and drizzling them over the cookies to make a pretty zigzag. Um, you protest that, ginger snaps really won’t taste good with chocolate slathered on them. Varieties of cookies that are not conducive to chocolate zigzags can be dressed up with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Any cake will do, let your little one choose. Remember we are not going to sacrifice birthday enjoyment for authenticity. If your little one does want to make it authentic then choose a bunt cake. These are commonly served at teas, and are very dainty.
Are you ready for Tea Party games? Well, here is some great news. Since the tea, cakes and playing pretend are central to the event, games become unnecessary! You can heighten the fun by preparing fun hats each child can wear (or decorate then wear) during the tea. A pair of kid gloves for each child will also go a long way to make the pretend much more real. It always helps to dress the part. Hat decorating and fancy kid gloves for each child takes care of the games and party favors. All that remains is to set the table, and have fun.
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