Tea Party Place Mat Craft & Pretend Play

Tea parties are a big part of our daily pretend play. My daughter loves hosting them for her dad and brother and I thought it was time to jazz our tea parties up a little. This tea party place mat craft for kids is seriously simple! Stickers are such a great art material once kids have passed the ” I will eat everything I touch” phase. They offer wonderful fine motor development and at an age where everything turns into a huge mess stickers are virtually mess free.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a tea set ( play or real if you have it) , some party napkins , clear contact paper, stickers ,and scissors. I also grabbed a few real cookies as a surprise for our guests at the tea party.
  2. Start by putting stickers on your napkins. She was very specific about which stickers she would put on each place mat since she was making them for her dad and brother. I made one for myself at the same time. Crafting along side toddlers is a great way to model how to do the craft without direct instruction and those power struggles that toddlers are so famous for. 
  3. After she decided they all had just the right stickers on them I cut a large piece of contact paper  and laid the napkins sticker side down on it.
  4. Then added a second on top to sandwich the napkins between the sheets of contact paper. Make sure the napkins have enough space between them so you can trim .Pressed and cut .
  5. Then it was time to set the table.
  6. All ready! Time to invite the guests.
  7. Play!
  8. I hid the Oreos in the play kitchen and after everyone was seated I told her to open the oven and get the cookies. Of course everyone thought I was referring to play cookies and it was great to see such a simple surprise delight all the guests.
  9. The play continued until my son invited us to a Lego building party in his room. Which was fun but as you can see not quite as refined as our tea party.

 

 

Santa’s Workshop Pretend Play

christmas pretend play

I love having a project set up for my son when he gets home from school before he gets involved in his own play . Yesterday he arrived home to this simple Santa’s Workshop set up. This wasn’t a long afternoon of play , but it was 30 minutes of smiles and giggles and pretending he was an elf! He also did some crafting, some deep thinking , reading,  a little writing and of course imaginative play. Remember that your set up need not be worthy of a Broadway production, just good enough to support play.

  1. Gather your materials. I made 3 stations in this workshop a building station, a toy testing station and a wrap station.  My materials included paper bag, glue ( I switched it to a glue stick), scissors, wrapping paper, construction paper, markers , plain paper , a clip board and some toys.
  2. For the Duplo Building Station I used black construction paper down the middle of the table to act as a conveyer belt, made simple buildings with the duplo and provided duplicate blocks in containers for my son to build. There is actually a really great lesson in duplication here. Following directions is an important skill and lego type toys are a great way to work on the skills non verbally.
  3. The Wrap Station is our craft component – I provided glue, scissors, markers , snowflake confetti, wraping paper scraps to cut and glue and paper bags.
  4. The Toy Testing Station had some reading for him to do , and questions to answer after he tested the toy. I snuck some circle drawing in too!
  5. Think he was excited to see it? He said to me ” Do I really get to pretend to be an elf? Really?”
  6. Getting into the elf character .Building the duplo !
  7. Making the gift bags.
  8. All wrapped up.
  9. Off to test a toy.
  10. Test results.
  11. Happy, busy and at the North Pole … at least in his imagination!

Santa Book

How Santa Really Works by Alan Snow is a great book to go along with this activity. The book is styled as an expose about how Santa and his many many elves get all the work for Christmas done. I will caution you now that this is a long book, with even longer asides. I made my son head up to bed with me and the book early inorder to get it read and still have time to chat about it after. I love the “insider” feel about this book and so did my son. There were many asides thta made both of us giggle especially the comment about how many requests Santa gets for ponies each year. I loved that it encouraged kids to write to Santa but I have to say I sorta miss that it didn’t include much about magic. Still I can’t tell you how much my son loved this book ( I knew he would) and how impressed I was when he asked me if I thought this was how it worked. That opened a great discussion about how we imagine the North Pole and how stories andmovies are just one person’s imagination and no one knows the truth . This is a completely secular view of Christmas too so if you are looking for a religious book this is not for you but you can try these ones.

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