Oh man, the Disney Princess Tea Party that I had this past weekend was SO awesome. The idea came to me while I was shopping for craft supplies on Oriental Trading and got completely inundated with Disney Princess stuff. To that I say, well played Oriental Trading, you DID convince me to buy your products!
I took this program on with my coworker, Andrea, and it's a good thing I did because it was a LOT of work, particularly a lot of set-up. Here is an example of that:
When the kids walked in, they were immediately drawn to our food display (seen above). No tea party is complete without pots of tea (Arizona iced, in this case), tea sandwiches (cheese and jelly), and pastries (or mini cupcakes with pink sugar crowns). We also served cookies and water. More on this later.
Before the kids could eat, we had other princessly duties to attend to. First, story time. Andrea and I settled on a non-Disney story, mainly because all the Disney princess stories that we'd found were long and sort of mediocre. The winning book was Falling For Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox, an all-time favorite for both of us. While I'd never tried this book with kids this age before (I think of it as being for grades K-2), they all totally got it and enjoyed it! It worked!
After story time, it was time for the princesses (and one prince) to make their crowns. We kept things on the sanitary side, since we were serving food, and just did straight up stickers. No markers, no gluing, no nonsense. We used these foam tiaras from Oriental Trading and these Hearts & Flowers Self-Adhesive shapes also from Oriental Trading. Originally I'd planned on including gems as well, but Andrea talked me out of it so we could avoiding using glue, which was totally smart.
So I'll say it again because I really mean it: Skipping glue and markers when serving food was basically genius. We got to avoid a whole mess (pun intended!) of hand washing nonsense. Such a smart move, Andrea!
Here are a few kids working on their crowns:
And here are a few of our princesses in their completed crowns:
Also on the table were two Disney Princess stickers for each kid (these from Oriental Trading)... a party favor!
Once most of the crowns were completed, it was time to play Give Tinkerbell her Wand (aka Pin the Tail on the Donkey). We purchased two of this set from Oriental Trading. Each set came with 8 self-adhesive wands so, while we only needed one of the poster part, we needed two sets of wands in order to accommodate a larger group (we had 12 kids [11 girls and 1 boy] in total).
Here they are playing. Why do kids always cheat at these blindfold games!? Why do I continue to play them!?
Then it was (finally) snack time! Seen below, first, are our cupcakes (from Stop & Shop--a mix of vanilla with chocolate frosting, vanilla with vanilla frosting, chocolate with chocolate frosting, and chocolate with vanilla frosting), topped with pink and purple candy crowns (from Michaels) and lined up nicely on this cupcake stand from Michaels. Second are American cheese sandwiches cut with a cookie cutter into flowers--or possibly suns; the jury is still out. And last, there are (grape) jelly sandwich cut with a cookie cutter into hearts.
Here are some kids enjoying their tea party snacks:
What worked least: Sometimes serving food gets chaotic. This isn't newsworthy or even unexpected--more just like, a necessary evil when food is served. Anyone have any tips for making this more organized? I am very, very open to hearing them!
What worked best: I think the highlight of this program, for me, was the costumes. I put "costumes encouraged" in my newsletter description of the event and 9 out of 12 kids arrived in Halloween-caliber Disney dresses. I think there's just something about doing all these things--hearing a story, making a craft, playing a game, eating a snack--while in costume, that makes a library program extra fun and special.
Fun anecdote: One mom (not a regular) asked me how often we do this. I said, "This?" She nodded. "This exact program?" I asked. She nodded again. I said, "This is the first time!" To that, she suggested making it annual! Maybe we will!