“One sugar or two? Would you like cream with that? Please pass the tray of cookies.”
Playing tea party has been a fun childhood activity since the 1700s when High Tea became a much desired social activity in Britain. Children would dole out pretend scones, cookies and of course tea served up in decorative tea pots with sugar and cream on the side. This same imaginative play has been repeated over and over in homes and preschools all over the globe since that time. While it may seem like simple child’s play, this time honored activity can help in the cognitive, social, physical and emotional development of children. Let’s take a look at how this very basic type of play can be so incredibly beneficial to children as they are just beginning to learn social norms, manners, etiquette and sharing.
All human beings benefit from play in one way or another. Children probably benefit the most since their play mimics real life and “grown up” situations without the stress of who wins and loses. These play scenarios allow children to try out behaviors and reactions to those situations. Playing tea party, therefore, is a whole lot more than just imaginary hot water, cream and sugar. Tea Parties allow for social play, motor development and the ever important language development.
Social Play – According to renown pediatrician and parenting expert, Dr. William Sears, “Pretend play is the hallmark of the preschooler years.” Social Play encourages children to interact with other children in a safe way. A tea party allows for a perfect context of play that has unwritten rules about roles, activities and behaviors. This practice play helps children learn how to get along with others, share and talk to each person. This is also a great time to practice new manners and rules of dining out.
Motor Development – Both gross motor and fine motor development is practiced in the simple act of holding a tea party. Not only do children spend time setting up the table and chairs (gross motor) but they work their fine motor coordination with pouring, stirring and handing plates back and forth. The development of these muscles will help with more complex games and activities as the child grows.
Language Development – Beyond age two, children begin putting words together into sentences of increasing length. Speech becomes more and more clear over the next few years. Using a tea party as the foundation, children get a chance to practice asking questions, waiting for responses and holding pretend conversations where listening is an important factor.
Here at the Wenham Tea House we love what we do. One of our favorite events is holding Tea Parties and events for children where they may have an opportunity to practice these critical skills. Join us for a fun afternoon party or bring your family by for breakfast or lunch and see how these interactions can mean the world to a child.