From nursery rhymes to imaginary parties with dolls and teddy bears, tea time captures children’s imagination like nothing else. Perhaps it’s the element of ritual, or the opportunity to be fancy with dresses and good manners. Or perhaps they just like the way tea tastes! Whatever the reason, if a child in your life is fascinated with all things tea, encourage their exploration into this vast and wonderful tradition, and it’s bound to turn into a lifelong passion.
Very young children might start with a toy tea set, sized just for them. With a sturdy set made of wood or plastic, even toddlers can practice pouring and serving, and sip their imaginary Darjeeling.
Older children, meanwhile, might be ready for the pleasure of a real china set, whether it’s a tiny, doll-sized set or one just large enough for a kid-sized serving of actual tea.
Books make another always-appropriate gift option for kids of all ages. For story lovers, choose a classic that involves tea and tea parties, such as Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, or A Bargain for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban.
Budding chefs might enjoy a cookbook of teatime recipes for scones and cookies, and older children might enjoy learning about the history of tea traditions or about the etiquette of tea parties and tea ceremonies.
And, finally, there’s the tea. While it’s not recommended for children to drink tea or other drinks with caffeine until adolescence, there are plenty of non-caffeine varieties out there, including tisanes and rooibos. Choose naturally sweet flavors, such as fruit varieties, chamomile, or those with a bit of dried honey incorporated into the blend.
And be sure to cool the tea to a temperature more tolerable for young palates. Many children prefer their tea to be lukewarm.
Take a look at our roundup of tea-related gifts. There is sure to be something perfect for any tea-loving boy or girl.
Toy Tea Set
The cheerful turquoise-and-red color scheme of this chunky wooden tea set from Djeco Toys will appeal to boys and girls alike, and the fox is sure to charm them, too. We like the wooden teabags on their strings, and the way the cake can be “cut” into servings. It even comes with a tray for serving.
Djeco Toys, $44
This assortment of 100 tea bags from Davidson Teas has flavors that will delight a developing palate. Included is Bing Cherry with Almond, French Vanilla, Spearmint Orange Spice, and Meyer Lemon. The herbal blends have a touch of dried honey in them for sweetness.
Davidson Teas, $26
Porcelain Tea Set
Children’s tea sets from Reutter Porcelain are just made to be handed down from generation to generation. The beautiful porcelain sets are hand-embellished in real gold and come in several designs, including this charming Flower Fairies design by Cicely Mary Barker. With a 12-ounce tea pot and 3-ounce tea cups, this set is large enough to use for a true tea party. Sets come with plates, cups and saucers, a tea pot, sugar and creamer, and stainless steel spoons, all packed in a trunk case.
Reutter Porcelain, $170
A Mythic Tea Infuser
Teach your child how to brew loose tea in an infuser from Ototo with this adorable sea creature. Baby Nessie comes in three colors (turquoise, green, and purple) and its silicone body pops open to hold a generous amount of loose tea leaves. Children will be delighted to see Nessie’s long neck rising out of a steaming mug of tea.
Tea that Blooms
Blooming teas from Teaposy are truly works of art that “blossom” from a bulb to a beautiful flower before your eyes, a spectacle that will delight children and adults alike. To brew, place the bulb in a glass teapot and cover it with boiling water, then sit back and watch the show. The Dream Posy set includes a box of six blooming teas, a 24-ounce glass teapot, and a warmer for the teapot.
A Fascinating Look at Tea Ceremonies
Tea Ceremony is part of a series of books that introduce children to Asian culture. In this volume, they’ll learn about the historic traditions of the Japanese tea ceremony. Step-by-step instructions guide readers through every aspect of the ceremony, touching on history, different types of teas, and ways to adapt the various parts of the ceremony to the items you might have on hand. Photos throughout will appeal to visual learners. Tuttle Publishing, $16 www.tuttlepublishing.com
An Utterly Charming Charm
Any tea-loving girl will be delighted to add this James Avery sweet teapot to her charm bracelet. Made of sterling silver, it’s enameled with a blue and white flower design. It measures just under 3/4 inch, a perfect size to wear as a pendant as well.
James Avery, $89
Emma Lea and her father spend a day together while Mama is gone. Daddy has a list of chores but Emma Lea imagines something much more fun. “I’d rather have a tea party,” she tell him. “Like you have with Theodosia Teddy Bear?” he asks. “Not a playtime tea. A real tea. Like Mama and me.” Emma Lea creates a memorable afternoon for the two of them with the help of Grammy’s recipes and Mama’s crafts. She takes pride in being able to do most of it by herself. She teaches her father what’s most important about tea parties. What do you think is the most important thing about teatime?
Babette Donaldson, $16.95
A Tea-Themed Coloring Book
Intricate coloring books are one of the year’s hottest trends, and Meditations on Tea: A Coloring Book to Soothe the Soul is perfect for any tea lover. The 90 images range from patterned teacups to intricate Japanese woodblock-style prints, so get out your colored pencils and a cup of tea and enjoy a relaxing afternoon of coloring with the kids!
Tuttle Publishing, $13