A tea party is fun for both young and old. It is even more fun when you use a nice china tea set and fancy linens. It can be really fun and motivating when real food and real drink is used. Preparation and clean-up is of course a big part of the activity, and can really target visual motor skills. It is never bad to practice washing dishes.
There are so many skills that having a tea party works on, such as cutting food, pouring, opening containers and packages, using an involved side to pour, setting the table, washing dishes. I think that many parents are afraid to give their children real tools and real food to practice with because they are afraid of the mess. Well you will never learn if you are not allowed to try, so ignore the spilled milk (or water) and let kids do it by themselves. A tea party is a way for kids to practice a real skill with real variables in a playful setting.
Invite a friend or other client to stimulate the social interaction as well. It is a perfect group activity, and the students can plan ahead of time what type of food they will serve at the tea party.
- Tea set (cups, saucers, tea pot, plates, utensils depending on food used)
- Linens (if you want)
- Food – cookies, muffins, etc
- Drink – water, tea, juice, milk
- Range of motion (reaching for items and setting the table)
- ADLs – home skills
- Upper extremity strength – pouring the tea
- Upper extremity coordination
- Feeding skills – cutting with a knife and using utensils
- Planning – if they plan the food etc.
I just searched tea sets on Amazon, and here is a stinkin’ cute Summer Bugs Tin Tea Set that I found.