Tea with poetry is a great way to expose your children to poetry and encourage a lifestyle rich with reading. It is a way to make language fun and comfortable. We include tea with poetry a few times a month in my homeschool, but this is definitely not just a homeschool activity.
I like to have a theme for tea with poetry every once in a while. It keeps our tea with poetry time fun and inspires me to seek out new poems. This time of year is perfect for a winter tea with poetry.
The components of a winter tea with poetry are simple – tea, poetry, and delicious snacks.
Tea – Make sure to choose a decaf tea or your kids will be bouncing off the walls. If your children don’t like tea, hot chocolate or hot apple cider are wonderful winter replacements.
Poetry – Any poetry will do, but I like compilations of themed poems. It’s Snowing, It’s Snowing by Jack Prelutsky and Snow, Snow: Winter Poems for Children by Jane Yolen are excellent winter choices. Libraries and used book stores are usually full of children’s poetry choices.
Snacks – My family likes sweet treats so we usually serve a few mini-cupcakes, fudge squares, and fruit. Strawberries dipped in white chocolate will give you a sweet snack with some nutrition. Mini-sandwiches and crudite are other excellent tea time options. My family likes to bake, but you can buy treats at the grocery store if baking isn’t your thing.
Table setting – You get extra credit for this one. This is not a necessary part of tea with poetry, but a festive table setting can make it a feel special. My daughter takes after her mama and loves all things girly so we always set a beautiful table, complete with my fine china. That is just my preference and not necessary. Tea with poetry is just as successful with a picnic blanket and paper plates!
During tea with poetry, we take turns reading poems and nibbling on snacks. We discuss what we like about the poems and what we don’t. We describe the ‘mind pictures’ we see when we listen to the poems. I like to mix up serious poems with silly poems. These are children after all, don’t take it too seriously. Keep the mood light, fun, and relaxed. This is a time to stop the busyness of the day. We usually spend 30-45 minutes on tea time. It is long enough to relax and enjoy the poetry, but not long enough that it feels like a chore.
I love books and we read a lot with our homeschool curriculum. Those books tend to be fiction and nonfiction novels with a few biographies sprinkled in. Tea with poetry makes sure that my kids are exposed to a variety of poetry.
As a result, both of my kids are poetry fans. When I announced that we were going to have tea with poetry my daughter squealed and ran to set the table. My son sighed contentedly and said, “I love tea time.” These are exactly the kind of memories I want for my family.
Jennifer Knick is a public school teacher turned homeschool mom. When she isn’t busy homeschooling her two children, she provides parents with fun educational activities and organizational strategies at OrganizedHomeschooler.com