Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sun Tea for Tots' Tea Parties

Scratch those images of Little Miss Princess and her legion of stuffed animals dining on imaginary cakes whilst sipping tepid water.

Tea parties are much more fun and much more inclusive in the gender role free world of today's toddlers.

A young man we know loved watching cooking shows and carried his set of wooden menu items to every restaurant. The chefs (all of them men) loved the little foodie and actually appeared at the table to encourage him to keep playing with his food. Fussy two year old behavior was never a problem. He is now six and a picky eater, but he still loves experimenting with peanut butter (no jelly, please).

Tea parties at his house are delightful. Mom and dad invested in a cheap, real tea set years ago. As cups break, they get glued back together. He knows which are leaky and won't serve liquids in those. 

Boiling water is a no no, but iced tea is a favorite. A big jar of sun tea prepared with herbal mint and fruit teas are fun to make and taste great. Sugar can be cut to a minimum because the teas taste so good without it. If you have a nice garden patch, you can grow your own teas or just pick up a variety at the local grocery.

Set a big plastic jar filled with water and tea bags in the sun and let it steep. We use a very big plastic container that was once filled with pretzels. You need one tea bag for every two cups of water. The sun does the cooking. If you are inviting friends or neighbors kids for the tea party, let them come early and help with the prep. 

Food can be animal crackers with peanut butter or bread cut into fun shapes with cookie cutters and topped with whatever will get eaten. Some kids prefer real food like cheese, ham, turkey or other cold cut choices as sandwich stuffers. Finger foods are fun and most kids, tots to teens, like carrots, celery sticks and olives to munch on. 

The best part of this tea party is that you really don't have to invite anyone. It is a great way for the family to make lunch together and sit at the same table enjoying the "party" lunch! Even picky eaters have fun when they are the chef preparing the feast!

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