|A child made this hat|
specifically for the program!
Why not, indeed. It was certainly apparent that kids were interested in a Mad Hatter's Tea Party--within about 30 hours of registration opening for the initial program, our roster was full with a substantial waiting list. I opted to open up a second session of the program on the same day; same snacks, same games and craft, but twice the happy attendees. This decision ended up being a good call, as the second session filled up pretty quickly, too. The high demand filled both the programs, which made them extremely high-energy and lots of fun. It's an easily replicable and adaptable program plan:
Mad Hatter's Tea Party
After about 15 minutes of snacks and chat, all of the stragglers had arrived, so we segued into some Alice-themed nonsense. We had tongue twister races, and lots of kids offered their favorite tongue twisters for group trial. I also recited my favorite Alice poem ("How doth the little crocodile"), which they seemed to get a kick out of.
Then, games! We had a caucus race (musical chairs, albeit played with sit-upon cushions instead of chairs for easier use with such a large number of kids), and I used an Alice soundtrack to source the game music. Next we played The Queen of Hearts Says (Simon Says), which needed a bit of initial explaining for some of the youngest program attendees. A few of them struggled with the concept of the game, so in my second program I opted to let an older girl play the Queen of Hearts. Lots of the girls giggled at how bad I am at the game (which I was not faking), and once Miss Amy was sitting out, not winning didn't seem quite as big a deal.
With about 20 minutes left in the hour-long program, we all moved back to our tables for a craft. I had the children clear their tables in exchange for their craft supplies--a tip I learned working meals at summer camp--so the tables were an open canvas for craft creativity. Our mission: to create an army of mome raths. I adapted the linked craft to use rainbow-colored popsicle sticks (instead of painting our own), and we also used pipe cleaners in place of feathers to cut down on a sticky feather mess. All ages of the children got really into the creation of their mome raths--some made theirs hats, some appendages, some clothing... I always love how the simplest crafts promote the most variety of creations among children.
As the kids finished up their mome raths, I thanked them very much for coming to the program. Everyone who left the Mad Hatter's Tea Party was all smiles. And there's nothing curious about that.