Teaching Manners to Elementary Students with Fun Tea Party Forts

Posted August 19, 2017 by Fort Magic

Every parent wants their children to have good manners. Learning to say please and thank you is only the beginning. Etiquette and all that it involves will serve children well as they get older and enter the adult world. One fun and entertaining way of teaching manners to elementary students is throwing a tea party!

Tea parties are the perfect situation for practicing everything from setting a table to making good conversation. Children can help plan and organize the tea party, serve the food, and learn the ins and outs of being a good host or hostess.

But before the invitations are sent, there is something very important to decide: where to have the tea party. And of course, the best answer is–a fort! Here are some ideas for building a fort suitable for high tea.

teaching manners to elementary students

Garden Fortress

Build a fort of whatever shape your child wants, then decorate it with silk flowers and greenery. Hang fairy lights or Christmas lights along the poles, or drape the sides with scarves and other thin fabric.

Floral Teepee

Build a teepee fort and deck it out with silk flowers or even real ones, depending on the season.

Garden Greenhouse

Use clear or colored plastic to wrap the top and sides of your fort, then fill it with flowers and plants (fake, real or paper!)

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Whatever style of fort you choose, make sure that you have the needed tea party supplies ready before you go any further:

– A table, with a lacy or elegant tablecloth.

– Tea party music. Classical music, or just your child’s favorite songs, to set the tone for your party!

– A tea set and dishes. Depending on what snacks you plan to serve, bowls or small plates, along with silverware, are needed.

– Place cards with each guest’s name, set at their spot.

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Now, you have a party-ready spot! Time to plan the menu. Have your children help you pick out and plan the food and drinks that they want to offer at their party.

– Small sandwiches are a tea party classic, and they can be customized to fit whatever fillings your child and their guests may enjoy. Jelly, sliced deli meat, chicken or egg salad and many others are good options. You can make them even more fun by cutting out sandwiches with a shaped cookie cutter.

– Scones, sugar cookies and cupcakes make for excellent sweet tea party treats.

– Have a few kinds of tea on hand, as well as some other drinks like lemonade and milk in case guests decide they’d like something different.

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Learning manners can seem boring or frustrating to children. They may not always understand why they need to be patient, say please and thank you or other rules that adults give them. Hosting a tea party can give them the chance to practice their manners in a fun way.

Before the guests arrive, sit down with your child in their tea party fort and have them practice serving the food. Each guest should have a plate, teacup, and silverware at their spot. Use a guide like this to help your child set the table correctly. Once everything is settled, have them practice offering you tea, cream, sugar, and treats.

Let the tea party begin! When the first guests arrive, have your child answer the door. They should greet their guests with a smile and tell them how happy they are that they could attend and thank them for coming. Next, they should offer them a glass of water and show them to the party location.

When all of the guests have arrived, the host or hostess should make sure that they are all seated at their assigned places before taking his or her own seat. Help your child by carrying the plates of food and teapot(s) from the kitchen into the fort, to minimize spills. They should then thank all of the guests for coming and begin offering food and drink.

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Another part of etiquette all guests should observe is table manners. Napkins in their laps, no elbows on the table, chewing with mouths closed and saying please and thank you when asking for different things are all parts of this.

Consider playing some party games after the tea party is over. Simple games like musical chairs, pin the tail on the donkey, and others like the ones listed here are great options!

When the party is over, have your child show each guest to the door and thank them again for attending. After the guests leave, remind them that part of being a good host or hostess is cleaning up after the party is over–even though it isn’t the fun part. Help them carry dishes and leftover food into the kitchen, clean and put them away.

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When all is said and done, take a moment to sit together and talk about the fun that they had, as well as what they learned. Hopefully, they will discover that manners aren’t boring–and that learning them can be enjoyable!

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How do you teach your kids about manners and use fort building with your Fort Magic kit to help? Share your ideas and experiences with s below!

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Photo Credits:

The Artful Parent Blog: One of our absolute favorite creative blogs for children and families.  The Artful Parent blog is filled with simple ideas to fill your family’s life with art and creativity.  A must see blog for sure.

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