Summer Tea Fun for Kids

Summertime is the perfect time to get kids excited about tea.
Summertime is the perfect time to get kids excited about tea.
Tea has many uses in the garden!
Tea has many uses in the garden!
Want some new and exciting ways to keep the kids occupied this summer? Think tea! Here are a few ways that teas and tisanes can infuse their summer fun.

Budding actors in the family?
Stage a condensed version of "Alice in Wonderland Tea" with a tea-party intermission. This is great for children older than eight to produce, with roles for any age to play. Let each child choose a role, and have a "narrator" for the story in between dialog. Add a director who can arrange the "seating," a costumer who can make or borrow hats and aprons and other ideas for costumes, and a set designer who can decorate paper tablecloths with interpretations of teacups, characters from the story, and other Lewis Carroll-inspired art. Invite their friends to be the audience, either at the table "set" or on the lawn in front of the "stage." During intermission, serve no-stove-involved tea and foods the children can make: PB&J or cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches cut into squares, rectangles, and triangles; iced sun or herbal teas; slices of fruit like watermelon, apples, and oranges; and cookies. (Save the scones for the parents!)

Learning about entrepreneurship adds up to TOTAL fun!
Help your kids (or campers) set up an Iced Tea Stand instead of the typical lemonade stand. The kids can do everything themselves with a little guidance, like making sun tea by setting out gallon glass jars with 6-8 teabags and water in the early morning. By the time the sun is high noon, everything will be ready.

For the stand, set out a card table and chairs, cover with a tablecloth (purchased or decorated by the kids,) and a sign, of course. An Iced Tea Stand is the perfect concession for a garage sale, so if you've been thinking of having one alone or with neighbors, this is a great opportunity.

Introduce the value of lists. Note all the items they'll need: like a pitcher, ice, cups, signs, table and tablecloth.

As for the financial angle, provide a box for the cash; demonstrate how to make change, and how to use a ledger for keeping track of sales. Of course, you can help them do it on a smartphone, but the manual tasks of using a ledger and hand-counting are terrific ways to demonstrate in tangible ways how money for sales and change really work. Make math learning a real-time, real-life experience!

Charge what your neighborhood can bear, but remind the kids that the goal is to make a profit based on costs of: (1) tea (2) paper cups (3) tablecloth (4) signs.

Oh, and don't forget to promote the event! Post signs in your neighborhood, tweet, share on Facebook with friends, and tell a neighbor.

The tea stand is fun magnet for adult customers, but don't forget the kid "market." Brew child-appropriate fruity herbals like hibiscus; or make chamomile, mint, or fruit-flavored rooibos.

The sun tea suggestion is made to avoid boiling water for tea. But if you're willing to assist them, nothing says delicious like Adagio's iced tea pouches. They're very easy to use! Each pouch makes a quart.

Crafts! Making them with tea adds a new twist.
Save your spent loose-leaf teas. Dried, they can be crushed to a powder and used to add a three-dimensional look to collages or other artwork. To use, add glue (liquid or glue stick) to paper or other surface, sprinkle on the dried tea leaves (plain or crushed), and allow to dry. When dry, gently shake the paper to loosen any leaves that didn't stick. Crushed tea leaves are a way to "paint" and give depth to your children's drawings of animals' fur; hair for people; sand for a beach, or, in the case of green teas, 3D leaves and trees or grass. Let their imagination soar.

This technique is great for place cards for tea parties, or just for dinner tonight! Make paper place cards (any kind of paper will do) which can be 6" wide and 3" deep. Fold in half horizontally so that each is 3" wide and 1 1/2" high. Write the person's name on both sides. Coat the written letters with liquid glue, then cover with the crushed tea leaves. Allow a few minutes to dry. Shake the place cards over a bowl to remove the excess leaves, then place them around the table. Add art or stickers, if desired. This is a "grown-up" addition to any children's tea party, and a wonderful way to encourage children to enjoy playing hosts.

Help in the garden.
Children as young as four can be given a bowl or small bucket of spent tea leaves to sprinkle on compost (worms love tea!) or toss around the ground where flowers, vegetables, or herbs are grown for a boost of soil nutrients. It's easy, safe, and fun. If you have leftover brewed tea, let it cool, then put a cup or two into a plastic pitcher, and let children use to water houseplants. The tea (preferably unflavored) will quench the dirt, aid the growth of the plants, and prevent waste. Win-win-win!