Last week we had a tea party. Yes, a tea party. Why would a mother of three boys subject her sons to such torture, you ask? Because that’s what you do when it’s the 150th anniversary of the classic Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Think about it, how often do we have the opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of anything in our life? So, we had a party. A tea party.
As you can imagine, I faced much resistance from my three Ninjago-obsessed boys when I first told them about this grand idea my Alice-loving friend and I had — to host a dress-up tea party based on a story about a girl. The work was cut out for me, and I knew I had to do some major PR work to get them on board. So, I got a copy of the book from the library, and we began reading it out loud together every day. Honestly, I didn’t have to do much convincing after that because the story of Alice is so wonderfully written that we all fell in love with it, and they were soon asking me to “please, read one more chapter!” The writing is witty and funny, and we all walked away with something out of it, from my eight year old down to the four year old.
Once we read the book, the boys were excited to choose which character to portray, and were looking forward to all the festivities. They loved helping with decorations and even came up with the idea of swimming in “Alice’s Pool of Tears.”
We are still glowing with the Alice Magic, and I hope you will be motivated to gather a bunch of
nerdy cool friends and their kids to read through and celebrate this wonderful book. Here are some ideas to inspire you!
Read the book out loud with your family. It’s such a rich story, and the movies don’t do it any justice. Don’t be intimidated by the language, or the book’s length – I even caught my (second) littlest one saying “Curiouser and curiouser” while he was playing. If you decide to read it, make sure you get a copy of the original, unabridged version (always read unabridged versions, never adaptations!), with the original illustrations by John Tenniel. Or, to get the most out of this story, get the Annotated Alice edited by Martin Gardner, which includes notes on the margins of the book with fun and interesting background details.
Use these Alice in Wonderland die cuts. Print them, cut them and glue them on popsicle sticks to make puppets, and then let your kids use them while you read the story to them. I wish I’d found them before we read it, but I still used them as decorations for the party. I will definitely use them the next time we read the book. Yes, they already asked if we can read it again and read the sequel, Through the Looking Glass. You can find this printable free from The Graffical Muse as well as on my Mad Tea Party Pinterest board.
Have fun dressing up. I was so excited everyone dressed up for the party, even the parents! I may have threatened that some heads would roll, but I’m glad I did because the costumes were so creative and it definitely helped set the mood.
Ask everyone to bring a Wonderland Treat. Just look at these pictures, and you’ll know why. They were so yummy! We had “Eat Me” cakes and cookies, Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum Dum-Dums, pigs in a blanket (Get it? The Duchess’ baby that turned into a pig!), and lots more.
Use elements of the book to decorate. My kids had a lot of fun seeing how each decoration had to do with Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Check out my Mad Tea Party Pinterest board for ideas. You don’t have to spend a lot. Almost everything we used was home-made, repurposed, dollar store buys or thrift store finds.
Sit back and enjoy the fun. We had blast with friends and hope you feel inspired to do the same. Here are a few more pictures:Have you ever had a party based on a book you read as a family? Maybe you will now! Whatever you decide, make sure to leave a comment below. I always enjoy reading your feedback.