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Birthday Tea Party Ideas for a 4-Year-Old

Updated April 17, 2017

For a 4-year-old, playing make-believe comes pretty high on the list of things to do. A tea party birthday offers 4-year-olds the chance to exercise their imaginations. A tea party birthday is relatively simple to throw for 4-year-olds because of their intense creativity. Though you may want to shy away from serving actual tea, there are a number of activities that you can do that to engage your guests.

Fancy Dress Please

Tea parties were once the exclusive domain of the well-to-do, so a tea party birthday practically demands that the guests come dressed in their sharpest outfits. Be sure to encourage your guests to dress up in the invitation and then offer a trunk of dress-up clothes, hats, shoes and jewellery for anyone that may want to glam their outfit up a bit once they arrive. Children around 4 years old are becoming intensely imaginative and enjoy playing pretend, so playing the part of little gentlemen and ladies will be right up their alley.

For a fun, yet civilised game, divide the dress-up accessories into equal piles and split your guests into groups of four. Be sure to have some masculine accessories mixed in if you have any boys in attendance. Vests, hats and ties will work nicely and help ensure that everyone is comfortable participating. Have the groups race to see who can put all of the accessories on the fastest. Be sure to take lots of pictures of the silliness that ensues.

A Spot of Tea

Every tea party needs a lovely tea set. Help your guests create their own tea set by purchasing "tea cups" that they can decorate. The type that have a plastic sleeve that you can insert a picture into are perfect for this. At 4 years old, children are becoming much more independent and seek areas that they can make their own decisions, so being able to design their own cups is a nice fit, giving them control over something that may be important to them, but doesn't put them in any immediate danger. Give each child a piece of paper, cut to the right size, and have them decorate it for their cup. Once it is done, you can insert it into the cup and use it for their tea. This activity encourages the children to create, but is easy enough for them to do with minimal assistance.

Perfect Finger Sandwiches

No tea party would be complete without finger sandwiches. Though traditional finger sandwiches may be a bit too sophisticated for a 4-year-old palette, you can easily substitute cucumber and watercress for peanut butter and banana or cream cheese and jelly. Let the birthday girl choose her favourite combination. Use white bread to construct your sandwiches, and cookie cutters to make them into fanciful shapes that your guests will adore before they devour. Hearts, stars, teddy bears and crowns are all easy to find in most craft stores and are a big hit with the 4-year-old crowd.

Don't Forget the Dolls

Make the invitations out to your child's guests plus a doll or stuffed animal, and encourage the girls and to have their dollies and stuffed animals enjoy a tea party too. Set up a small table with a play tea set for them to use and let the children do all of the rest. Be sure to take pictures of what is sure to be a priceless scene.

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About the Author

A seasoned freelance writer, Ilana Boyum got her first writing job in the sports department at the "Sun Sentinel Newspaper" in 1993. In 1998 she began working as a copywriter at a small ad agency, and was quickly promoted to head copywriter. Boyum attended Florida Atlantic University.