Montessori Outdoor Classroom: Let's Have A Lady Bug Tea Party!

WHAT COULD BE MORE ADORABLE THAN LADYBUGS & LITTLE CHILDREN?! They just go together in such a lovely little way.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

If you've seen these two in action, then you see why ladybugs are a wonderful benefit of having a children's garden in the Outdoor Classroom. Not only do ladybugs benefit the garden by naturally controlling the aphid population, they also bring a  delightful sort of exploration to the little children.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

During the late Spring and early Summer, containers of ladybugs can be purchased at your local plant nursery and releasing them into the garden is an enchanting experience for little children.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

We created a little annual tradition of releasing ladybugs into the garden and making a celebration of the event. It's great fun to have a ladybug tea party in the Outdoor Classroom and if you can find a ladybug table cloth your celebration has a darling appeal for the children. I was so fortunate to come across a ladybug tea set in a child-size picnic basket, and of course I snatched it up for a wonderful addition to our annual ladybug tea party.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

This ladybug tea set is available from Schylling Toys at this link:

Photo from Schylling Toy Company

Tea parties offer so much wonderful "process" for little children and in a Montessori environment it is easy to extend the process. This amazing ladybug tea set comes with a tea pot, tea cups, saucers, cream & sugar pitchers, polka dot napkins and a complete set of child size cutlery. So, I was inspired to create a classic Montessori table setting activity! I purchased some red oil cloth at the fabric store and cut it into 4 tiny "placemats." Then, with a sharpie pen, I created a Montessori style "control" for the child to set up his or her own place setting. You can read more about Montessori "control of error" at this link: AMS Resources/Montessori-Terminology.

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Since the tea set comes with 4 rounded child size knives, the children really enjoy using the knives to spread cream cheese on toast or crackers to go along with the tea. They can also cut up fruit and then eat the fruit with the tiny forks that come with this set! 

Brewing the tea has so many steps you can offer the children including using a kitchen timer to time the brewing and then the delicate process of pouring the tea into the tiny cups. If you have mint growing in your garden, the children can participate in gathering, drying and then crushing the mint for a fabulous cup of tea! You can read more about brewing tea with little ones at my past post here: Mathematics & the Outdoor Classroom

Drying herbs set-up for the Montessori Outdoor Classroom:

Mortar & Pestle set up for crushing the dried mint for tea:

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

Another important and fun part of the process of having a tea party is the washing up after having tea. You can see the tea party dishwashing set up in this photo below. 

Photo by Carolyn at Magical Movement Company

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and I'm delighted that you stopped by to visit my site. Leave me a comment about your experiences with the wonderful process of creating a tea party with little children...I'd love to hear your ideas! 

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