A Charlie and Lola Afternoon Tea Party

An Afternoon Tea Party with Charlie and Lola via My Little Bookcase

Prompted by a project we ran in 2012 called The Little Book Adventure, this tea party will undoubtedly excite and engage the biggest of Charlie and Lola fans.

I love to provide meaningful and authentic learning experiences for my daughter, Cammy. Undertaking this particular project has honestly been one of the most wonderful experiences my daughter and I have shared together. I won’t lie though; the project required lots of time, effort, planning and patience. I think the following post will prove that the time and effort involved was well worth it though.

We set out to dine with a picture book character. Getting started and helping a pre-schooler understand the task was probably the most difficult part of the experience. I introduced the task to my avid little chef by asking Cammy if she’d like to create a special meal for a character from a book.

While reading a Charlie and Lola book that Cammy had personally chosen from the local library, Cammy announced that she’d like to invite Charlie and Lola to our house for afternoon tea. From that point the project just flowed and so did Cammy’s ideas for the afternoon tea.

The rich and real-life learning that took place during the week was absolutely phenomenal. Most importantly though, we had an amazing amount of fun in the process. I hope you find lots of inspiration from our week of wonderful experiences.

Writing and communicating:

We wrote a letter to Charlie and Lola inviting them to our house for an afternoon tea. [The use of images (symbols) to replace words helped Cammy to read the letter back to her dad. After all, that’s what alphabet letters are: symbols.  Understanding that we gain information from symbols is one precursor to learning to read.]

Communication and understanding the postal system:

We posted the letter in the mailbox. (Cam was quite upset and confused that she had to wait for Charlie and Lola to receive their letter. She wanted the afternoon tea NOW and wasn’t initially impressed about the time it would take to prepare, shop and bake for the afternoon tea.)

Reading, comprehending and evaluating:

We read through the book numerous times trying to find clues that would help us work out what Charlie and Lola would enjoy eating.

Reading and understanding different text types:

We looked through our collection of children’s cookbooks for suitable recipes.

Writing and planning:

Once we’d decided on the recipes, we wrote a shopping list. I created a shopping list with symbols for my Cammy to use when searching for the ingredients in the supermarket. [See notes about symbols above]

Reading and shopping:

We went shopping, keeping a record of our purchases.

Art, creativity and fine motor skills:

We made personalised placemats for Charlie, Lola and ourselves. Lauren Childs uses collage-style illustrations in her books, which made this activity perfect for our Charlie and Lola afternoon tea. I simply provided Cammy with a range of fabrics, patterned paper, photos and doilies.

Art, creativity and construction:

We created our own life-size Charlie and Lola paper dolls. So eager was Cammy for Charlie and Lola to come to our house, we needed to make them look as real as possible. I was thankful they worked. Cammy was smitten with her new friends and couldn’t stop giving them cuddles.

Reading, measuring and cooking:

We were busy in the kitchen, making Almond Crescent Biscuits (Little Kitchen –Around the World), Gingerbread Biscuits (Look and Cook) and Strawberry Smoothies (Women’s Weekly Healthy Babies)

Spatial awareness:

We set the table


We sat down at the table. I thought I had ‘fooled’ Cam with the paper-dolls. But, she quickly declared, “We can’t start yet. We have to wait for the real Charlie and Lola to come. These ones are just pretend. ” We had a long talk about books, characters and pretending. Thankfully, she was satisfied in the end.

Dining etiquette, imagination, conversation and socialising and helping others:

We thoroughly enjoyed afternoon tea. Cam helped Lola to eat her gingerbread biscuit because, “she can’t lift her own hand.”

Do you think your kids would like to have Charlie and Lola over for afternoon tea? Or maybe there is another book character they would like to invite.

A Charlie and Lola Afternoon Tea Party


  1. What a great learning experience. I particularly love the way you used all the symbols for the letter and the shopping list. I had wanted to create a recipe in the same way but I ran out of time and our morning tea had to happen :-).

  2. This is awesome Jackie!!
    I just loved reading all through the different stages, including how you prepared Cam. Yes a lot of work – but she is going to remember her special tea party for quite some time. What a lucky girl Cam is to have such a talented and resourceful mum!

  3. Wow, this is amazing! I love how you went through each step with your little one. What a wonderful idea! I look forward to doing this with my baby girl… 8 months is a bit young though!

  4. Joni said: On June 25, 2012

    This is too cute for words!

  5. Loved reading your post. Lovely to see that you went through such efforts to make this n an enriching and memorable experience for Cam. You’re a great mum! :)

  6. You have outdone yourself Jackie! All your hard work has definitely paid off! I especially love the shopping checklist – I must try this with my two littlies.

  7. This post brought such a smile to my face. What a wonderful exercise in imaginative play and fun! Luckily Charlie and Lola enjoy yummy things like pink milk and biscuits.

  8. I LOVE your Charlie and Lola dolls! I also love the little bit at the end helping Lola eat her gingerbread because she can’t lift her own hand ! Classic! We are preparing our feast today, so hopefully we will have some photos to share soon!

  9. Cat said: On June 26, 2012

    I couldn’t stop grinning whilst reading this! What a beautiful experience for you both and I just know she will be so proud of this when she looks back at it. I loved doing this activity too! And I would SO choose Charlie & Lola to invite over too. They’d be really good fun. x

  10. Jamie said: On July 5, 2012

    I have a feeling my girls would also be upset if they had to wait for their tea. These are some great ideas. This is my first time visiting and I will definitely be returning for more ideas.

    • jackie said: On July 5, 2012

      Thanks for stopping by Jamie. Hopefully you’ll find many more inspiring ideas next time you visit. :)

  11. This is sooo cute – the way you have used the symbols is fab. I’d love to feature this on the round up I’m doing as party of Kids co-op tomorrow- I hope that’s OK.

    • I would love that. I’m just going to popover to your blog now and check it out. I’m fairly slack at keeping up with the linky parties. Must make more of an effort :)

  12. Kelly said: On July 16, 2012

    This is amazing! And I love the Charlie and Lola who visited :-) I love how involved it all was, and although that may have been hard patience wise, what amazing memories she will have from doing this!! Wonderful! Ok gushing now, thanks for sharing at Happy lil ❤’s are baking!

  13. Just to let you know I’ve now (finally !) managed to create a ‘featured on badge’ for my blog and seeing so I’ve feature this post you might want one! :-)

  14. This is absolutely adorable! Do you mind me asking where you found all of Charlie and Lola pictures? I would love to recreate some of this w/ my daughter.

    • Thank you Shannon. I actually scanned images from the book, I’m Absolutely Too Small for School. Please let us know how you go with your project too. I would love to see some pictures.

  15. Oh my gosh, I love this! We are huge fans of Charlie and Lola. Love your fun ideas!

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea! My preschooler and I are big Charlie and Lola fans!

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