We kicked off our first day of the homeschool year with a Poetry Tea Party last year. This year we did the same. I first got the idea as I met with some fellow homeschool families and again when I went to the Wild and Free Homeschool conference. In many circles it’s called Poetry Tea Time, and it’s essentially a way to introduce and hopefully instill a love of poetry to your children. There’s this idea that poetry is boring or intimidating but it really opens up the door to so many discussions about writing and life. From rhyming, metaphors, humor, and meaning, there’s so much you can dissect and discuss.
Though this trend is sweeping through the homeschool communities I absolutely think it’s something any family could enjoy. Whether on a weekend, a Friday afternoon after school, or some other time. Juicy Juice is working to inspire families to come together for more family time activities. In an effort to help you do that, I’m going to break down how we set up our poetry tea parties and give you some suggestions for how you can set up your own.
Set a tea time
The first thing you need to do for this occasion is set the date. Let your kids know what’s coming up so they can enjoy and help in the planning. Are you celebrating the first day of school? Making this a weekly tradition? Something you do to celebrate another milestone? Your kids could even work together to make invitations to invite the mark the event and save the date. We like to do ours at brunch time after we finish our morning subjects. If it’s been a productive week this will often take the place our other Language Arts time when we do spelling and handwriting practice.
Pick your poetry
There is so much out there. My kids’ favorite right now is definitely Shel Silverstein. We found some of his poetry compilation books at a thrift book store. I ordered a children’s poetry book online, and I’ve collected others like Maya Angelou through the years. Dr. Seuss is fun to read too as are songs your kids love to sing. It’s really cool discovering poetry in different forms. If you don’t have much of a poetry book collection yet you can always look online and print some out, or hit up your library and check some out for your party. I recommend doing that every week anyway because you never know what new author or style of poetry you’ll run into and fin you enjoy.
Set the “table” right
My daughter loves the entire process of poetry tea time. But her favorite is getting everything set up. She’ll clean the table, and set it up with the tea cups and plates. When I told her we could take the tea party outside now that it’s cooling down she insisted we bring our usual tea time setup. You can use a nice tablecloth and host at your dining room table, take it outside over a picnic blanket or picnic table, or any other setting you like. It doesn’t need to be at a table or with fancy decor. I love seeing pictures of different setups with eclectic tea sets. You don’t need a matching tea set, hit up your local thrift shop and see what you can piece together to make it fit your family. Setting our table right also means having snacks. My kids love fresh fruit and mini muffins along with their “tea” of course.
Make your “tea”
Confession: We don’t drink tea at our tea parties. We love the fancy tea party setup but we actually replace the tea with apple cider. It has a similar color, it’s nice and warm and we all love the taste. We have a special recipe we like using instant apple cider mix and hot water, then a dash of Juicy Juice apple juice to cool it down. When we take our tea parties outside I’ll freeze a couple Juicy Juice boxes for a few hours and grab them before we head out. I keep the apple cider in a thermos to keep it warm and use the slushified juice boxes to help cool theirs down. It’s also a fun extra snack.
Enjoy your delights and be delighted by poetry. There are a lot of different ways to go about your poetry tea party. My advice is to not overthink it. We like to take turns picking a poem to read from each of the books we have spread out. I don’t worry to much about dissecting the meaning, rhyme or reason behind each one. If the kids have questions we’ll talk about it. I may ask a simple question about what rhymes they heard, or if they noticed any personification, alliteration, rhymes, metaphors, or if it stuck out to them in any way. But usually we just read poems, eat snacks, sip “tea” listen, laugh and enjoy.
Set a goal to dive into some poetry together this year and find out what style or which poets you like best. Poetry Tea Time is just one way to bond with your kids and have fun while learning. I’d love to hear your favorite poems and poets so please share that with us in the comments!
You can find a bunch of other family time activities on the Juice Juice Family Time page. Juicy Juice products are made from real juice, with sweetness that comes from the fruit and no added sugar or artificial sweeteners!
I’m teaming up with Juicy Juice this to share our family adventures and inspire others to enjoy family time together. All opinions are my own.