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Tea Party

child plays with cup on sofa

About this video

This video takes place in a toddler room of a university laboratory child care center and preschool. Through a progression of short clips taken over a span of 30 minutes, this video focuses on Hudson (at 30 months, the oldest in the class) gathering items, stuffed animals, and dolls; arranging them on a couch; and (briefly) enjoying his tea party with his stuffed animals. In the beginning we see Hudson find his first cup and then take it to the couch and walk away “drinking” from it. He is then observed sitting on a teacher’s lap feeding a baby with the cup. The next time we see Hudson, he has put the baby in a high chair and is feeding that baby with a different cup, which he keeps for the remainder of the video. Next, he crawls out from under the loft and is asked to go to the bathroom. The next two clips show him placing his “friends” and supplies outside the bathroom to wait for him and then picking them up to resume his activity once he finishes in the bathroom. The final clips show Hudson, Hayden (26 months), Mia (23 months), and Daniel (24 months) interacting both with the teacher, who has joined them near the couch, and with each other.



Offscreen conversations between teachers and children for about 15 seconds.

Hudson: I drinkin’ water. I’m drinkin’ water.

Hudson (while sitting on the teacher’s lap): I feed the baby.

Hudson comes out from under the loft.

Teacher (offscreen): Let’s go to the bathroom.

Hudson gathers his “friends” and cup and walks to the bathroom and picks them up when done.

More offscreen conversations.

At the couch, a teacher sits down with them. Daniel shows the teacher a piece of toy bread.

Daniel: It’s hot.

Teacher: It’s hot? Oh. Why don’t you blow? Make it cold.

Hudson makes mouth noises as he “eats” a sandwich.

Hudson and Hayden stand at the couch; Hayden has a car that he is rolling on the couch.

Hudson: No! I make a one cup.

Teacher (offscreen): What are you making?

Hudson: I make water and milk. Sit down.

Hudson is on the couch observing the room. Hudson makes incoherent noises with his mouth.

More offscreen conversation.

Mia walks over to the couch and begins to push Hudson’s “friends” off the couch.

Hudson: My toy. That is my toy!

He moves over to where Mia is standing.

Hudson: (to Mia) Stop!

He leans down to pick up his toys and puts them back on the couch.

Mia looks at the camera and walks to the opposite end of the couch to sit down. Hudson grins at the camera and crawls up next to Mia.

Illinois Early Learning Guidelines for Children Birth to Age Three and strategies that caregivers used

Self-Regulation: Foundation of Development
Attention Regulation
Children demonstrate the emerging ability to process stimuli, focus and sustain attention, and maintain engagement in accordance with social and cultural contexts.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months):
    • Observe the child during play and limit adult-directed interruptions while engaged
    • Provide independence for the child to problem-solve and discover while engaged in play
  • Action: Throughout this video, the teacher is minimally involved, but present, as seen when she asks Hudson to go to the bathroom and when she sits down to interact with the children. Hudson spends nearly 30 minutes planning and preparing for his tea party on the couch.

Developmental Domain 1: Social & Emotional Development
Relationship with Peers
Children demonstrate the desire and develop the ability to engage and interact with other children.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Provide toys that can be played with by two or more children at a time
  • Action: The classroom teacher set up the environment and provided a large couch and enough toys for a tea party for two or more children.

Developmental Domain 3: Language Development, Communication, & Literacy
Expressive Communication
Children demonstrate the ability to understand and convey thoughts through both nonverbal and verbal expression.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Allow children to play and experiment with language
  • Action: By not intervening, the teacher allowed Hudson and Mia to play and experiment with language in order to alleviate a potential conflict. Hudson tells Mia that those are his toys and to stop moving them.

Developmental Domain 4: Cognitive Development
Symbolic Thought
Children demonstrate the understanding of concepts, experiences, and ideas through symbolic representation.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Encourage the child to use objects in creative ways
  • Action: By placing the dramatic play center near the quiet book center, the teacher encouraged all children in the classroom to use objects in creative ways, including using the couch as a table and setting up the party for Hudson’s “friends.”

Approaches to Learning
Problem Solving
Children attempt a variety of strategies to accomplish tasks, overcome obstacles, and find solutions to tasks, questions, and challenges.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Provide the child with blocks of uninterrupted time to work on activities
  • Action: During free play time, Hudson was allowed to collect his supplies without interruptions in order to set up his tea party.

Approaches to Learning
Persistence, Effort, & Attentiveness
Children demonstrate the ability to remain engaged in experiences and develop a sense of purpose and follow-through.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months):
    • Allow the child to make certain choices throughout the day
    • Provide the child with blocks of uninterrupted time to work on activities
  • Action: During free play time, the teachers allowed Hudson to collect his supplies without interruption.

Approaches to Learning
Creativity, Inventiveness, & Imagination
Children demonstrate the ability to use creativity, inventiveness, and imagination to increase their understanding and knowledge of the world.

  • Strategies for interaction (21-36 months): Interact with the child during pretend play and follow his or her lead
  • Action: During free play, the teacher sat down with the boys and talked about their “hot” food and how to blow on it to cool it down.

About this resource

Setting(s) for which the article is intended:
  • Home
  • Family Child Care
  • Child Care Center

Intended audience(s):
  • Parents / Family
  • Teachers / Service providers
  • Faculty / Trainer

Age Levels (the age of the children to whom the article applies):
Related IEL Birth to Three Guidelines:
Reviewed: 2017