Posted by Mindy

We had many tea parties at our house as our children were growing up.  We would sometimes simply take our lunch and dress it up a bit, or we would stop and take a break!  The T. S. Eliott poems were favorites by the time our Heather was age 10, but I can’t remember when we started them.

We would love for you to enjoy a tea party like one of ours!  To do so we’ll create a place mat, have a simple snack of finger foods, read aloud a fun cat poem (your choice or our favorite one provided below), and listen to some cat related music!  The second cat theme musical composition includes some listening questions.  I have provided a little biographical sketch of the composer, if you would like to expand on the music.

Don’t feel as if you have to do everything here.  You know how much your children can absorb at one time.  Turn this into two tea parties!  You have two music selections which could be for two different tea parties.

 

Placemat:

Have the children decorate a piece of 8.5 x 11 piece of paper with drawings of cats and mice to create a placemat.

Ed Emberly’s thumbprint art is a great place to start.  All you need is a thumb, ink, and a pen!  Here’s a seven year old student of mine demonstrating the technique for you!  The Ed Emberly link will show you step by step how to create the mouse and a couple of different styles of cat.

Menu:

PB and J sandwiches cut into triangles or into shapes with a cookie cutter

raisens

apple smiles (like Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire cat’s smile!)

Spice Mice cookies or lady finger cookies which you could call “cat’s tongues”

 

Read aloud from:

Favorite Poems Old and New, selected by Helen Ferris.  Read from the collection of cat poems.

T. S. Eliott poem from “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”  We’ve  particularly liked “The Rum Tum Tugger”

 

The Rum Tum Tugger

The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:
If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house.
 If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
If you set him on a rat then he’d rather chase a mouse.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any call for me to shout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!
The Rum Tum Tugger is a terrible bore:
When you let him in, then he wants to be out;
He’s always on the wrong side of every door,
And as soon as he’s at home, then he’d like to get about.
He likes to lie in the bureau drawer,
But he makes such a fuss if he can’t get out.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any use for you to doubt it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!
The Rum Tum Tugger is a curious beast:
His disobliging ways are a matter of habit.
If you offer him fish then he always wants a feast;
When there isn’t any fish then he won’t eat rabbit.
If you offer him cream then he sniffs and sneers,
For he only likes what he finds for himself;
So you’ll catch him in it right up to the ears,
If you put it away on the larder shelf.
The Rum Tum Tugger is artful and knowing,
The Rum Tum Tugger doesn’t care for a cuddle;
But he’ll leap on your lap in the middle of your sewing,
For there’s nothing he enjoys like a horrible muddle.
Yes the Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat–
And there isn’t any need for me to spout it:
For he will do
As he do do
And there’s no doing anything about it!

 

Listen:

The Robert Sims performing the old American folk song, “I bought me a cat,” kind of an “Old MacDonald” kind of a song.  His voice is gorgeous!

Aaron Copeland’s “Cat and Mouse” 

Questions for guided listening

Right at the very beginning do you hear the little mouse scurrying about?

Can you hear the cat chasing the mouse?

Did you hear the cat on its tiptoes?

How can you tell the difference between the cat’s movements and the mouse’s?  Do you think that the cat is mostly high sounds or low sounds?

Did the mouse get away in the end?

About the composer: Aaron Copland was long interested in having music lessons, but he had to wait on his older siblings to have theirs first.   Larger families can not afford to have everyone take lessons at once, however interested Aaron Copland’s mother was in her children receiving musical training.  Aaron’s older sister Laurine gave him his first piano lessons and later supported his musical endeavors.  At 13 he began his first lessons outside the home.  His family had a rich music culture, as his mother played the piano, his older brother Ralph played the violin, and his older sister Laurine studied opera.  And he composed this piece at age 21!

Enjoy this tea party?  You might enjoy having a Rainy Day Tea Party!