A tea tasting party theme for any occasion

tea-tasting-party

The tea party is one of the most popular party themes for parties and events of any occasion. Whether it’s a baby (or bridal) shower, a princess party or just a group of friends getting together: the serving and taking of tea will always be a popular accompaniment.

Why not take this enjoyable activity a stage further and host a tea tasting event.

Tea is becoming a very popular drink and if you research both variety and brewing\serving techniques your tea tasting party will be a huge hit.

For this to be successful I am not talking about putting several tea bags in your handbag (from work) and then dealing out these to your guests and asking “What do you think?”. No No, I am talking about doing research into the traditions and customs of making tea from around the world and then recreating the essence and taste of these customs.

The basic preparation

Only use real tealeaves (not bags), these can be purchased from either a Middle Eastern market (whole leaves) or as regular loose tea in supermarkets.

English tea tasting

Just get some old teapots and some varieties of loose tea and serve it up to your guests for a tasting.

Persian (middle eastern) tea tasting

My own favorite and the pots alone make a great party centerpiece.

You will need to buy a special teapot that can sit on a kettle or boiling pan.

Quick guide to making Persian tea

Boil water on the stove top in a kettle or pot.

In another teapot add loose-leaf tea, one teaspoon for each person, and then add two teaspoons of rose water (you can also add rose petals), just experiment ahead of time to get a taste that is subtle and not over whelming. When the kettle boils pour some of the water from the kettle (pot) into the teapot and sit the teapot on the kettle (lower the temperature on the stove) to keep the tea warm as it ‘brews’ on top of the kettle.

After a few minutes, half fill a clear glass with the tea from the teapot. The clear glass will allow you (and your guests) to judge the strength of the tea and this is also visually appealing. If the tea appears too strong for the individual pour some hot water from the kettle into the glass. If the tea is too weak, put it back in the teapot (which is on the kettle) and let it brew some more. In this way you can keep adding water, so the process is almost endless, although after a while the tea will become bitter as it is at its best when freshly brewed.

Tea sampling party

If you want more variety in your tea tasting party simply give your guests small teacups and then brew a handful of teas in small teapots and serve them one by one. You can ask your guests to each bring a small teapot (BYOTP – Bring Your Own Tea Pot), so you can serve several varieties quickly. You need to provide a bowl where the tea can be discarded, if the guests do not want to finish a given cup. As with other tasting events you should provide water so the guests can rinse their palettes between tastings. You can also ask the group to rate each tea (from 1 to 10) for taste and then review the results at the end of the tasting.

Standup comedy party theme for kids, teens or adults

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Everyone has a story to tell, or at least a joke, and that is the concept behind the standup comedy themed party. Basically let your guests know ahead of time that they will need to prepare a short comic story or joke, which they will tell to the rest of the group. For teens and adults the comic story should be based on a humorous real event that happened to them. For younger kids the joke or comic story could be one given to them, by a parent or friend, or one seen on the internet or TV.

In order to get the guest ‘warmed up’ some suitable ice breaker games should be played. One great ice breaker that would be appropriate for this type of party is a game of comic conversations that I have previously posted on. The idea of the ice breakers is to get the guests used to each other before they go under the spot light, with their own stories.

After the party guests are ‘warmed up’, simply ask each of them to tell their story or joke to the rest of the party. This is not a competition and a guest who is shy should be encouraged to speak out as the main goal of this activity is participation.

To accompany this type of comic themed party suitable videos (DVDs) can also be shown. The video selections could be from TV shows or movies, whatever is deemed appropriate for the party guests. If the guest are younger and have not seen vintage Laurel and Hardy or Charlie Chaplin type of black and white vintage movies I would highly recommend getting a couple of those short films and showing them.

Another suitable activity for this party game, especially for younger guests, is the ‘keep a straight face’ type of party game. This game is simple, just have the guests try to sit ‘straight faced’ on chairs in a circle whilst one party member tries to make someone laugh. The person trying to get a laugh could make funny faces or tell jokes but if they do get a guest to smile (or laugh) then that person takes their place. This type of game was very popular in Victorian items, even being played by teens and adults. Also a feather could be used to try and get a reaction by using that ancient giggle making technique of ‘tickling’ under the chin or behind the ears.

Anyway the next time you are looking for a suitable party theme why not just ‘go for the laughs’ and host a comedy themed party!

Cooking themed party game ideas

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Whether or not you follow the numerous popular cooking shows, or just enjoy food, you and your guests will appreciate a home cooking style party.

Here are some party ideas based around the popular home Chef themes.

Safety first

Be very cautious with knifes and kitchen appliances, especially for younger guests. I would recommend pre slicing everything so that the guest does not have to cut anything (including themselves!). I would also monitor the ovens very carefully, possibly having the guests hand you their items to be cooked and you placing them in the oven (and removing them once cooked).

Pizza challenge

Simply get the pizza crust bases from a nearby super market and layout containers of toppings (cheese, pepperoni, mushroom, tomatoes, pineapple etc.) then have your guests work in small teams to produce the perfect pizza. Each pizza has to be’ named’ by the team creating it and everyone gets to share and judge. You need to figure out how many pizzas are needed and place them in the oven in batches, for this you might need to have teams of three or four depending on the size of the party.

Toasted sandwiches competition

Similar to the Pizza challenge but more can be fitted in the oven for grilling, so individuals can work on their own. Just lay out different bread types, that can be grilled, and provide the toppings. Each toasted sandwich should be cut into four and shared. As with the pizzas I would recommend the hostess is the only person placing and retrieving the sandwiches from the grill or oven.

The best burger competition

We are now getting down to some ‘real’ cooking (or grilling). For a burger competition you will need to provide various ground meats, vegetables, bread rolls and spices. Each guest makes their own burger with the raw ingredients and then hands it to the hostess to cook or grill. Having the hostess cook should prevent under cooking or kitchen accidents. When cooked the burgers are given back to the guest cook who then places it in a bun with suitable sides and garnish. The burgers are then cut into four and served to all.

The great clean up game

If you can get the guests to play ‘clean up’  then go for it!!

Minute to win it style party theme

minute-to-win-it-party-theme

The popular TV show, “Minute to win it” makes an entertaining party theme for guests of all ages. All that is required, from the hostess, is several prepared short games that can be played by teams or individuals. The teams can be of any size, but two to four is a good size. The games should all be dexterity style games that are age appropriate to the guests.

Here are some examples of party games that are suitable for this party theme.

Book balancing party game

Simply have each guest balance a book on their heads and walk a certain distance (and back) in a minute or under.

Hula-hoop or skipping type of activities

Just select an activity that will be challenging for the guests and have them perform the activity for a minute.

Ring toss

Get a traditional ring toss type of game and have the guests achieve a certain score within a minute

Ping pong balls in bottles, or small buckets

Have the guests throw ping pong balls into a vessel with the goal to get three balls in the container

Coin toss onto plates

Similar to the fair ground game, just arrange some plates and have the guests try to land coins on them, from about four feet away.

Rearrange paper cups

These ‘stacking’ type of games are very popular and the idea is to arrange a set of paper cups in a certain shape (such as a pyramid) and then re- stack them back into in a pile.

As you can tell from the examples above they type of game needs to be something physical and skill based  but not straight racing against each other (but the clock). Teams can be formed and a contest format could be followed but I would advise just playing the games for fun and have as many people participate as possible.

The price is right style party game for teenagers

the-price-is-right-party-game

If you are a parent of teenagers, as I am, how often have you used the phrase “Do you know what that costs?” Whether it is college education, a vacation, motorcar, iPod or some other item: the cost of everything keeps rising as does the teenagers desire (and/or need) for these items.

Without too much effort a game based on the popular TV show “The price is right”, can be incorporated into a teenage party and should prove as entertaining as it is educational for the participants.

There are many formats of this kind of price guessing game, including the auction party game format I have previously described. Here is a simple version that is easy to organize and should go down well.

First of all you need to prepare, by printing photos from the Internet of everyday and unusual items, examples include, a gallon of milk, Louis Vuitton handbag, a one-night stay at a five star hotel in London, one year of educational fees at Harvard etc. One of the elements for making this party game a success is the selection of the items, cost of wedding, bringing up a child, divorce etc. to suit the audience (I was thinking slumber party with the previous examples!!). For each item selected the approximate price should be noted.

During the party you can stick the items on a wall, with a short description, and have the party guests go around the room(s) writing down their guesses to the prices. An alternative format is to hold up each item, one at a time, describe it and have the guests write down their answer and then reveal them before moving on to the next item. The first method (sticking to a wall) works well as a basic party icebreaker as you can allow the guests to help each other (similar to a team event), as some guests might know the price of a given object.

This game is easily incorporated into a themed party event, such as “The Great Gatsby roaring 20’s party theme”.  One additional element added to this game, if the theme is vintage is ‘inflation’. The price of the items will be harder to research but, for example, the cost of a simple Ford motorcar, Model T, from 1920 can be found on the Internet. You can also give the guests a benchmark, for the items selected, by giving them the average cost of something (for example the cost of an average dinner at a restaurant) in the 1920’s, so they can use that to judge the price of the other selected items during that time period.

Appropriate items can also be selected for the other popular party themes, Princess Party theme (Diamond tiara, Limousine etc.) Cars themed party (Price of popular Cars), Pirates theme (Price of various Boats).

In any event, as the hostess, if you use your imagination in selecting the items for the given guests this activity should prove a hit, and maybe you will get an answer to the question “Do you know what that costs?, the next time you ask it, that is if the teenager doesn’t have some ‘listening buds’ in his or her ears!!

Waddington’s Formula One board game as a Cars themed party game

waddingtons-formula-one-as-a-party-game

One of the popular party themes for young boys is Cars. The cars party theme can be based around the Disney cars theme or motor racing in general. A vintage board game that can be played by 2 to 6 players is Waddington’s Formula One racing board game and it is suitable for a car themed party.

With any board game to be played at parties, I would suggest buying 2 or 3 from EBay and then either reselling them or ‘gifting’ them afterwards, or keep one for your own family to enjoy in the future. These type of games can be purchased for about $30 each and make a great center price for any themed party.

In past blog posts I have recommended other party games, such as Waddington’s Buccaneer for a pirate themed party, and the advice I would give for incorporating board games into any party is as follows:-

1)      Purchase enough games for everyone to play at the same time (these games usually allow six players at a time).

2)      Make sure you read the rules yourself ahead of time and write the main points down so you can explain the rules to the young guests.

3)      Create banners, art work on rolls of paper, related to the game and stick them on the walls.

4)      Get a couple of trophies, nothing expensive, for the winners.

5)      Get some hats\caps appropriate for the game, so the guests can wear them during the game.

Waddington’s Formula One is an interesting motor racing game as it incorporates a car dashboard for each player that shows speed, brake and tire ware. The basic idea is for the players to drive in such a way as to conserve brakes and tires. There are also tactical cards to allow each player certain advantages that can be strategically played during the race. The game, like a real race, ends after a certain number of laps (10). What makes this game ideal for a racing themed party is that there is more strategy than luck involved and the kids will enjoy making decisions such as: go fast and use more brakes or go slower and conserve braking strength for later.

There are other racing games that can be included in a car themed party but Waddington’s Formula One really captures tha spirit, tactics and fun of a real motor racing event.

Water party game ideas for a kids and teens water themed party

water-games-for-a-party

As the better weather is coming, I thought I’d jot down some party ideas which involve water, for outdoor water themed parties. Water and kids go together well on sunny days and these ideas are also suitable for teens. For a water party make sure there of plenty of towels on hand and sun block. This way the party guests will be able to break, for snacks, and stay warm and protected from the sun’s rays.

The bucket relay race

This game involves splitting the party guests into teams of three or more. For preparation you will need a water source (small kids paddling pool or similar) then each team needs one large bucket, per team, and a small bucket for each team member. The idea is simple and that is to space the team members out, about four to six feet apart, and then have the first team member take water from the source with a small bucket and throw it to the next team member to catch in his or her small bucket. This continues until the last team member receives the water (in a small bucket) and transfers it to their team’s large bucket. The game can be timed (five minutes or so), or until the large bucket is full. The team with the most water in their large bucket wins after the set time.

The water pistol relay race

This is similar to the bucket water race but instead of throwing the water each team member fills up their water pistol (from the water source, for the first team member, or small bucket for the other team members) and squirts the water into their team mate’s small bucket.

 Water balloon toss blindfolded.

A simple variation on the classic water balloon toss party game but just blindfold the catcher and have him or her cup their hands and the thrower has to gently toss the balloon. Begin with very short distances as this is very difficult. You can also play conventional water balloon toss by having pairs throw water balloons to each other and after each successful catch they move further apart until only one pair is left with a balloon not burst.

Blindfold hose pipe tag.

If you have a hose pipe a simple game can be played by having one person hold the hose pipe and they have to squirt the other guests, who need to run past the person with the hose. The person with the hose should be blindfolded so they listen and point the hose. The guests running need to take turns running from one side to another. The hostess can blow a whistle to indicate to the person squirting when to start and stop squirting, so that all the other party guests don’t get soaked by the hose pipe person squirting all over the place all the time..

Slip and slide

If you have a hose pipe then the classic slip and slide game can be purchased as a centerpiece to a water party themed event, incorporating the above games.

Picture matching party game for kids, teens and adults

matching-party-game

The idea of this game is simple and that is to have the guests match images that belong together. In its simplest form (for younger guests) images of popular fairy stories can be shown. The images are stuck to a wall and numbered, the guests then write down their answers, which numbers go together, as they go around the room. The connection between the images can be harder, for example images from popular movies (Anthony Perkins and a Shower head – Psycho) or novels. Also famous couples could be included, for example Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Also people and connecting objects could also be matched, example Neil Armstrong and the moon.

 

The game becomes progressively harder the more images there are and the looser the connections between the images. All of images have to connect to at least one other image but they could also be grouped in sets of 3 or 4.

 

This game is ideal for a themed party as images appropriate for the theme could be used.

 

Another variation of this game can be played and it is similar to the “What have these images got in common?” type of party game. The idea of this game is to show images that have a connection, as a group, and the guests have to guess the connection. An example group might be for “States that border California” (the images being of the states – Arizona, Nevada and Oregon). Another example image grouping could be for – The men Elizabeth Taylor married.

 

Either of these game variations makes a great ‘ice breaker’ (for any age) as guests can help each other with the answers as they go around the room(s), exchanging ideas.

 

Mock dating party game for teens based on the Matching Hypothesis theory

the-dating-party-game

 

This party idea came from an experiment I read about regarding a person pairing up with someone who is as attractive as him or her. The theory, called matching hypothesis claims that people are more likely to form and succeed in a committed relationship with someone who is equally socially desirable.

Here is the party game based on the matching hypothesis. It can be played by any even number of people and if there are more girls than boys (or visa versa) some of the guests play the role of the opposite sex in order to balance the number equally.  Each guest is given a ‘number’, which represents an attractive rating that he or she does not see. The ratings are from 1 to the ‘number of pairs’, so that if there were 4 pairs the ratings would be 1,2,3,4.

When the game starts the party splits into pairs (boys and girls), it doesn’t matter the order. Each pair then shows the other person their rating but they do not see their own. At the end of this round the question is asked (by the hostess) do you want to pair with this person (when this question is asked the guest have their eyes closed) if a guest wants to pair he or she raises their hands. Every guest then opens his or her eyes. If both couples in the pair have raised their hands they pair off and leave the game.  The remaining guests then go to another person to form a pair and the activity repeats (with them showing each other their cards and being asked if they want to pair off). The game ends when the last pairs are formed, so that if there were 8 guests (4 boys and 4 girls) there would be a maximum of 3 rounds. During the 4th (in the example) round the couples have to pair off.

Everyone then looks at their cards and determines if they have paired off with the highest rating they could have.

Basic theory and strategy of the game: During the first round the guests will only see one card, if it is the highest (4 in the example), then most likely they will raise their hands to pair off. At the end of the round everyone see’s who has risen their hands and notes the person who they (the person who raised their hand) wanted to pair with. On the next round, the guests should realize that they are not rated a 4 (unless their previous ‘would be’ partner raised their hands) and so they should try to pair off with a 3 or wait to pair off with the person they believe is a 4.

Anyway, try the game and see if everyone is able to pair off with their exact match (rating) which should be the outcome, although remember the goal for each guest is to pair off with the highest rating they can. It will not always work out that the guests pair off with their match, consider the situation where they all match their rating on the first round (i.e. 1:1 2:2 3:3 4:4), in theory only the 4s will pair and then the rest of the guests will not be able to pair with a match and some will pair with a higher (or lower) rating than their own.

Disney’s Frozen party game ideas

frozen-party-games

In case the picture is not clear, the above photo is of some ladies sitting on a giant Ice Cube, would make a great Frozen party invite.

Ok here is a post for some frozen party ideas, since this movie and party theme is just taking off.

Statues (Frozen)

Simple game to play, either play like musical chairs with people dancing when the music is on and when the music stops everyone ‘Freezes’. The ones moving or not freezing quickly enough are eliminated.

Also Statues can be played by one person (called ‘it’) having their back to the other guests, who are about 15 yards away. The idea is the other guests try to walk and touch the guest (it) standing with their back turned. If the person with their back turned suddenly turns around and see’s someone move that person is ‘out’. The game continues until all are out or someone touches the person who is it.

Frozen face

The guests sit down with a frozen face and one guest goes around the room trying to make the other guests smile, or move their face. If someone moves their face they take the turn of the person trying to make the other guests move their faces.

Who’s got an ice cube down their back?

A little more inventive, one guest goes out the room and the others stand in a line. The hostess then quickly puts ice cubes down 2 or 3 of the guests backs and the guest that is out of the room is invited back in to ‘guess’ who has the ice cube down their backs.

Who can keep an ice cube the longest in their mouths?

Just give each guest an ice cube and have them put it in their mouth, with their mouths open. The last guest who can keep the ice from completely melting wins.

Food and drink for these activities is along the lines of:-

Shaved ice

Slush puppies

Iced drinks

ICE CREAM