7 Ways to an Easy and Fun Poetry Tea Time
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Poetry Tea Time has become a beautiful part of our learning, something my kids ask to do even when we are not “doing school”. My sons enjoy it just as much as my daughter.
This weekly tradition includes a real fancy tea set, a table cloth, special scrumptious treats and a stack of poetry books. We sip our drinks, eat our treats and each child chooses a poem to be read. Even my highly active four-year-old takes part.
My kids are learning about all aspects of poetry at an age younger than I ever imagined and they love it. It’s been a wonderful addition to our homeschool week and one we plan to continue indefinitely. It was introduced to us by the amazing Julie Bogart of Brave Writer. You can read more about it here.
Here’s what we’ve done to make tea time easy, simple and FUN.
1. Make an easy tea set cleaning and storage system. First, we got a tea set via a thrift store. But dragging out the fancy tea set, washing little tea cups and saucers and tea pots and then putting it all away again got old fast. It made me sort of dread tea time. Until I came up with this system: I use a tray. Everything fits on it. It has an absorbent towel over it. After we use our tea set, I wash it and put it right on the towel-covered tray for everything to drain. When it’s dry, I stick the whole tray into a cabinet until next time. Takes only a couple of minutes total. When it’s time for tea again, I set the whole tray on the table and the kids can set everything up themselves.
2. Designate a helper. They get to sample the treats. They love setting the fancy table. If there’s just one helper, they can’t fight with their siblings over who gets to carry the plate of cookies to the table.
3. Here’s a BIG secret: You don’t have to actually serve tea. Gasp! None of us actually like tea in our house. I’m a coffee drinker. My kids have tried tea and pronounced it “yucky”. So this is a time when they get to have fancy ginger ale (a big deal since we don’t do soda) or some kind of fancy juice. You could try lemonade or hot chocolate or even just plain water, because even that tastes fancy if it’s served in a pretty china cup.
4. Give little ones something to keep busy with once the food is gone. Special play dough on a fancy plate is one idea we’ve tried.
5. Vary the poetry books. In addition to the ones we have on our shelves, we always have a couple checked out from the library. Many childrens books count as poetry (Dr. Seuss, for example). Song lyrics are another favorite.
6. Be silly. Just because you’re being fancy, doesn’t mean you can’t be silly. Jack Prelutsky’s poems are hilarious, as are many of Shel Silverstein’s. Read poems about underpants, silly (but clean) Limericks or make up a poem using nonsense words.
7. Encourage them to write their own. Write down something you hear them say that’s poetic and suggest they read it at tea time. My daughter illustrated her own little poetry book and dictated the text for me write. It’s not exactly poetry but she loves it and she reads it often at tea time.
Need suggestions for what poetry to read? You’ll find 10 of our favorites here.
Please follow our Poetry Kids Pinterest board for more learning ideas.