Cold and dark winter days call for nothing less than a cozy blanket, a seat near a warm fire, and a hot cup of tea to warm you up from the inside out. January is National Hot Tea Month. It’s the perfect month to sip cup after cup of hot tea with friends while braving the bitter cold days of January. While the activity ideas below talk about serving hot tea, feel free to serve other warm beverages based on the preferences of your members. Celebrate National Hot Tea Month with your group all month long with the activity ideas below.
PAINT WITH TEA BAGS – Invite members to create a work of art using tea bags and white drawing paper. Unwrap several different types of tea bags and place them in shallow dishes of water. Let the tea bags absorb the water for a minute or two, then instruct participants to pick up the tea bag and drag it across their paper in all sorts of directions. For more vibrant colors, select fruit-based teas. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Let the paintings dry before displaying them on a bulletin board.
HIGH TEA – Brave the winter weather by taking your group out for high tea. Find a tea room nearby that can accommodate your group. Encourage participants to dress up. Ask the tea room staff to provide a brief overview of high tea for your group, or to teach your group the proper way to make a cup of tea.
WINTER LIGHT LUMINARIES – Light up the darker evenings by making winter light luminaries using paper cups or scrapbook paper. If using paper cups, carefully cut out the bottom of the cups for a warmer glow. Do this step in advance. Once participants have gathered, give them each a cup or a piece of scrapbook paper. Then, instruct them to punch holes in the cup or paper using a hole punch. Punch holes along the tops and bottoms of the cup or paper, in whatever pattern they prefer. If using scrapbook paper, once the holes are punched, role the paper into a tube shape and secure with tape or glue. Then, give each participant a battery operated tea light to place inside their luminary.
MAKE YOUR OWN TEA PARTY HATS – Invite members to create their own tea party hats to wear to all tea activities throughout the month. Head over to Gluesticks for easy-to-follow instructions. Provide mens’ ties for men to wear during tea activities, should they desire to dress-up.
AFTERNOON TEA & REMINISCENCE – Host a weekly afternoon tea and invite members to come for tea and reminiscence. Keep it casual or dress it up, depending on your audience. Encourage participants to wear their tea party hats that you make with them (see above). Serve hot tea, scones, muffins, fruit, or cookies. Reminisce about childhood tea parties, other childhood pastimes, winter activities, bridal or baby showers, or other topics that are associated with tea parties. Invite a soloist to entertain.
BOSTON TEA PARTY – A month celebrating National Hot Tea Month wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Boston Tea Party. Rent a history video to share with your group about the event. Then, challenge your group to create a crate that will keep a tea bag dry for the longest period of time while floating in a cold tub of water. Give each participant 16 craft popsicle sticks, a sheet of wax paper, scissors, glue, one strip of masking tape about six inches long, and a foot of yarn. Participants can work individually or collectively in small groups. Once all crates are completed, place a single tea bag in each crate. Select one crate and place it in a tub of cold water. Start a timer and wait to see how long the crate floats before the tea bag becomes wet and soggy. Continue until all the crates have been timed. Award the winner with a box of tea.
DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH – Teas are rich with antioxidants, can help prevent heart damage, and offer a boost to the immune system. Ask a dietician to give a short presentation on the many health benefits of drinking tea. Then, invite participants to taste-test a wide variety of tea, such as green tea, white tea, chai tea, and other flavored teas.
POETRY TEA TIME – Connect with members by creating a Poetry Tea Time that can carry on throughout the year. The idea is simple: Serve tea and treats and share a few poems. Start by reading a poem aloud to your group and then discuss it. In January, feature Robert Frost’s Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Over time, evolve the activity by learning more about a single type of poetry, such as Haiku, sonnet, free verse, or acrostic poems. Then, encourage members to write their own poems and share during the next Poetry Tea Time.
EVENING UNWIND & RELAX – There’s nothing like a warm cup of tea before heading to bed. Provide members with sleepy time tea, such as chamomile or lavender tea, to help them drift to sleep. As members wait for their tea to brew, lead the group in a few chair yoga poses or calming breathing exercises that will help them fall asleep faster. End with an evening meditation.
TEACUP CRAFTS – Purchase old teacups at thrift stores and create all sorts of crafts with them throughout the month. Make a bird feeder using a tea cup and saucer. Turn tea cups and saucers into planters and plant succulents with your group. Take it one step further and create a tea cup fairy garden. Decorate plain tea cups with Sharpie markers to create unique tea cups that members can drink from throughout the month. Do a quick internet search to find specific instructions to your favorite idea.
MISS MANNERS COMES TO TEA – Check out a book on etiquette from your local library that contains a chapter on tea etiquette and share with your group. Serve a proper afternoon tea, with scones, tea sandwiches, and small chocolates. Lead the tea as if you are Miss Manners, explaining the etiquette of the event, such as where to place used tea bags, which utensils to use, how to indicate you’re finished with your plate. Reminisce about etiquette faux pas that members might have committed over the years.
TEA PARTY GAMES – Here are a few fun tea party games that you can incorporate throughout the month, either as separate activities, or to complete your tea parties: Hide tea cups, actual or made from scrapbook paper, throughout your community and send members on a tea cup scavenger hunt. Play tea cup toss by instructing members to toss tea bags into a plastic tea cup or tea pot (such as a child’s tea pot). Give participants 30 seconds to stack sugar cubes as tall as they can. Fill a tea tray with tea party items or kitchen gadgets and let participants view the tray for a minute. Then, hide the tray and ask members to recall as many items on the tray as they can, either aloud as a group or individually, writing the items on paper, as able.
MY CUP OF TEA RESOURCES – 25% off in December
Stock up on some of our featured ElderSong products to help support your theme this month, and then use the resources the rest of the year.
You Be the Judge, Volume 6 – Item #P237. Regularly $10.95. Online sale price $8.20.
Round up the crew for another riveting session of You Be the Judge, inviting the audience to participate in actual trials that went before the court. Read the scenario, ask participants their opinion and verdict, then reveal the actual outcome of the trial. Each of the 40 cases includes discussion questions to prompt thought and guide conversation. Volume six includes a case about hot tea.
Finishing Lines – Item #P116. Regularly $10.95. Online sale price $8.20.
While you wait for the tea to brew, play a few rounds of Finishing Lines. This is the perfect resource for impromptu activities or for when you need to fill a little time. Call out the start of the line and ask participants to finish it. Be sure to include the section about food expressions this month. 2000 questions in 25 categories.
Funny Bones Don’t Get Arthritis, Volume 2 – Item #P119. Regularly $9.95. Online sale price $7.45.
January can be dull and blue, but beat the winter blues with your crew with the second volume of Funny Bones Don’t Get Arthritis. Filled with humor that can be used in any group, these amusing quotes, limericks, jokes, and stories are sure to bring more laughter to your group. Over 800 laughable jokes and stories.
MY CUP OF TEA TRIVIA
- Which U.S. state has the largest tea plant plantation and was the sole commercial tea grower in the nation until more recent years: Hawaii, South Carolina, or Alabama? South Carolina
- Which famous, so-called tea party took place in the United States in 1773? The Boston Tea Party
- The spicy, milky tea called chai originates from which Asian country? India
- Which tea is named after a British royal? Earl Grey
- Who was the Victorian tea party named after? England’s Queen Victoria
- Afternoon tea is also known by another name. What is that name? Low tea, because it was served on low tables such as a coffee table
- What is the most popular type of tea served in the U.S.? Black tea
- Tasseography is the art of predicting the future by reading what residue in your tea cup? Tea leaves
- Traditional English Tea is served between what times? 3-6 pm (the later it is served, the more substantial the food that is offered)
- While all teas promote good health, which type of tea offers the most health benefits? Green tea
MY CUP OF TEA THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” ~ Henry James
“My Cup of Tea” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2019 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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