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The Child & Family Institute Aptos, an outreach ministry of Christ Lutheran Church, Aptos, Calif., takes both story time and tea seriously. The Story Book Tea program gives children ages 5-11 and a parent or grandparent one-on-one time together over tea one Sunday afternoon each month (2:30-3:45 p.m.).
First, a story is read to the group (a different theme each month). Then families create a craft based on the story's message. Later children and adults, like Beth Prichard and her son, Caden (pictured), sit at tea tables, where they're served individual trays including teapot, cups and a treat. Teatime concludes with a group "heart blessing," said Christine Cantando, director (contact via email or call 831-688-5727).
The institute, founded on the belief that ritual and tradition weave family bonds into deepening love, also tends to relationships with older children. Evenings at the Hearth focuses on preteens, teens and parents; Evenings in the Garden pairs teens and parents. (And Faith-Full-Families is a luncheon with crafts for the entire family.) Both groups meet one Sunday a month to build communication skills and forge deeper understandings of family values.
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