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Tea Party

Bite-sized brain snacks for Chicago’s early learners.


Have a pretend tea party with your child and her stuffed animals. Ask, “What does teddy bear want?” and pause for your child to answer.

Why It's Important

Pretend play is important for so many reasons. Children learn about themselves and how they relate to others through pretend play. They get to take on new roles and imitate the important adults in their lives which makes them feel confident and builds self-esteem.


Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal? If so, take a picture of it with it's name written on a piece of paper right next to it. Over time, it may get lost or ruined. Having a picture of it years from now will help you and your child remember all the adventures you had together.

Not Ready Yet

A tea party with only imaginary food might be frustrating if your child is hungry! Bring some real snacks and drinks to the table. Have the teddy bear ask for some, and watch how your child responds when you offer it a bite.

Need a Challenge

Encourage your child to take on an active role in playing pretend. Have your child decide which stuffed animals will attend. Ask questions to spark your child's imagination. For example, "Is this lemon tea or berry tea?" Have your child pour in some pretend sugar to make it sweeter. Keep the play going and have fun!

Book Recommendations:

"Bunnies for Tea" by Kate Stone

Extend the learning:

Use imaginative play as a way to help your child through difficult transitions throughout the day. Pretend you are frogs and hop to the bathroom when it's time to brush your child's teeth. Pretend you're blasting off in a rocket as you lift your child into the highchair or carseat.