After hosting several successful Fancy Nancy tea parties, and upon our discovery that a new Alice in Wonderland movie was slated for this spring, we knew what we wanted to do: an Alice in Wonderland tea party.
So, the first Saturday in March, our auditorium was transformed into Wonderland as we hosted an afternoon of snacks and games focused on Alice in Wonderland!
We decorated the room with tons of tissue paper roses and Alice pictures hanging from the ceiling. We set the atmosphere with pastel tablecloths, fancy cups (we’re on our way to building a full tea set, but for this program we used fancy plastic cups from The Dollar Tree), and place cards with each child’s name. Doilies are definitely in order.
Of course, we started off the afternoon with some fancy snacks. We served tea (some kids liked it and some kids asked for water – it might not be a bad idea to have pink lemonade or something on hand), cupcakes, snack cakes, and little teapot-shaped chocolates (made by one of my dedicated staff members). A fancy presentation makes it look special! (And if any of your library staff members have recently gotten married, they might have some decorations you could borrow!)
After the snacks were served, we passed out materials for a craft – Queen (and King) of Hearts Crowns. We cut out crowns out of yellow construction paper prior to the program and then let the kids decorate them with stick-on jewels and crayons. Cutting out the crowns was a fair amount of work, but it would go quickly with some teen volunteers, and having the crowns already cut out made for a very easy craft.
And our tea party wouldn’t be complete without some party games! We had three games set up in the room – White Rabbit Bowling, Tweedledee & Tweedledum Match Game, and Pin the Grin on the Cheshire Cat. White Rabbit bowling was very popular. For pins, we decorated plastic water bottles to say “White Rabbit Bowling” and we used a tennis ball as a bowling ball. The kids love this simple game, but make sure you have an energetic teen volunteer to help reset the pins!
The Tweedledee & Tweedledum Match Game is a version of Memory, using Alice in Wonderland pictures. And luckily we already had a cardboard tree made from a previous program, so our Cheshire Cat game wasn’t hard to set up.
And we couldn’t let our guests go home empty-handed. We sent them home with a fancy bookmark to commemorate this very important date and a packet of activities to do at home. The packet included an Alice in Wonderland crossword puzzle (created by the aforementioned dedicated librarian), tea party recipes to try at home, coloring sheets, and some printed out sheets of Alice paper dolls.
Have a book display ready with several copies of Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and others. After having so much fun at your tea party, kids will be clamoring for the books!
The Imaginary Librarian has some more ideas for a Wonderland Tea Party (complete with a Mad Hatter craft). How about you? Has anyone else done an Alice in Wonderland program? What are your favorite tea party activities, crafts, or snacks?
— Abby Johnson
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN
Fun to read about this! I’ve been doing Alice Tea Parties with my 4th graders (after reading the book and doing projects with it) for untold numbers of years. We too do the Pin the Tail on the Chcshire Cat and make it as fancy as possible! The kids bring in treats while the parents and I decorate and plan the entertainment. As for treats, decorating cookies is fun, but we’ve had scones, bread and butter, cake, strawberries and cream, and all sorts of amazing stuff. One year a parent helped the kids do wonderful Mad Hatter hats (she found white hats at a craft co) and they were spectacular. Not at the tea party, but in the classroom we’ve played croquet recently (you can find table versions) and it was a blast. I usually encourage the kids to memorize or at least recite the poems and they have a lot of fun with that. And of course they love dressing up.
That party looks like so much fun! Lots of great ideas here, thanks for all of the pictures!
Thanks for posting about your tea party, Abby. Looks like it was great fun. I wish I could have been there. What I like most about this program is that it could be used again. Other good times to have a Mad Hatter Tea Party: Mad Hatter Day (Oct. 6), Lewis CArroll’s Birthday (Jan. 27), Alice Liddel’ls birthday(May 4), and to celebrate the DVD release of Burton’s Alice.
Fantastic ideas–thank you!