Cooking in the Classroom: Fun with Tea Parties!Nov 26, 2017
When my kids were young we had lots of tea parties. We’d set the table with a pretty cloth napkin laid out as a table cloth, a tray with a little tea set with sugar cubes and a little pitcher of milk, and sometimes a plate of cookies or crackers. They loved it and of course, their favorite part was putting sugar cubes in the warm tea and watching them dissolve. I loved it because of the conversation that ensued when we sat down together.
One day I discovered a tea at Whole Foods called “Good Mood Tea”! It’s a nice herbal tea with St. John’s Wort by Traditional Medicinals. For years, whenever someone was cranky at our house, they’d be offered a cup of Good Mood tea. And guess what, it worked for all of us! Just taking time for a cup of hot tea offers a moment for perspective-taking and change of pace – which is usually what we need when those cranky moments descend.
You can use this same idea in your classroom, creating an opportunity for a cup of warm tea and conversation with your children. Maybe at snack time, or as a special dessert after lunch, or even on the playground on a cool day!
Here are some ideas…
- Serve chamomile tea, as this herbal tea is gentle and recommended for children. And there’s a literacy connection – since Peter Rabbit’s mom gave him chamomile tea after his shenanigans in Mr. McGregor’s garden!
- Brew the tea and then transfer it to the teapot when it’s cooked down enough for children to drink.
- Use real tea sets with teacups. Sure, you’ll need to keep the group small and supervise well, but think of the fine motor skills developed when you pour tea from the pot, hold a teacup by the handle, use a tong to pick up a sugar cube, and small spoon to stir.
- As you have tea with your children, ask questions and encourage them to talk about what they’re doing. This is a great time for conversation and supports social-emotional skills as children experience it together.
- Use your tea party as a time to model phrases like: “Would you like some tea?” “Please pass the sugar.” “Thank you for…” “Would you like a refill?” “This is delicious!” and model manners by being kind of fancy yourself – teach them to hold their pinky out and close their eyes and say, “Mmmm!” as they sip.
- The day before your tea party, as a class, you could bake sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles on top! Use slice and bake the dough, giving each child a little ball, and ask them to flatten it like a pancake. Use a small cookie cutter to make a cookie, placing each child’s on a piece of parchment paper with their name on it. Bake, set aside, and serve them at your tea party!
Just another way to have some fun with food with your kids!
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