Today I had a Library Luau, which was really fun--although not as fun as being at a real luau in Hawaii.
I started the afternoon off by reading the book Pig-Boy: A Trickster Tale from Hawaii by Gerald McDermott. Previously, I had agonized over what to read. I liked the idea of using a story that came from Hawaii, rather than one that that just happened to take place there and I had narrowed it down to three decent options. The other two books up for consideration were The Shark God by Rafe Martin and Punia and the King of Sharks: A Hawaiian Folktale by Lee Wardlaw. Even though Pig-Boy wasn't necessarily my favorite book, it was the shortest of the three and I decided, ultimately, that shorter would work best timing-wise. Turns out that the kids really enjoyed it! One girl even said she had the same book at home and liked it! Success!
When we got to the end of the book, I turned on some Hawaiian music (a playlist made up of songs from Rockin' The Uke and Putumayo Kids Presents Hawaiian Playground) and it was time to play games! I had two games planned and I asked a page to assist me in the program so we could have both going at once (turns out I needed her about 100 more times too, so I'm glad she was there). The first game was Dolphin Ring Toss (this one from Oriental Trading), and the second was an actual Hawaiian game I found online called Ulu Maika. I had the kids split up, half at one game, half at the other, and they went back and forth between the two, playing and giggling, and taking turns really nicely. This group were seriously champions at taking turns, sharing, and being mature. They were an incredibly good bunch.
Anyway I ran the Ulu Maika game (and explained that it was a game used by young Hawaiian warriors to practice hand-eye-coordination) and Michelle (the super-helpful and generally handy to have around page I pulled in with me) ran the Dolphin Ring Toss.
Here's the scoop on Ulu Maika from a Hawaiian man on YouTube:
I was excited about being able to adapt an actual Hawaiian game for library play. To make this, I used old fashioned Tinker Toys (actually, they were the Makit Woodbuilders from Kaplan Toys) for the pegs and then Crayola Air Dry Clay (leftover from last week's What Pet Should I Get program) to make the Ulu Maika stone. I taped off a "court" with masking tape and we were set! This is how it looked:
I kept both games noncompetitive. The kids played against themselves, not each other.
As the games wrapped up, I handed outflip flop keychains (these from S&S) because everyone's a winner at the library! Then we moved on to the craft: Paper leis!
These took a bit longer than I'd anticipated and I hadn't expected some of the kids to not be able to string the flowers and straws without help. Did I mention I was grateful for Michelle in the room? As they finished stringing, I helped them each tie off their leis (some made bracelets too--more tying!) and then they posed in front of the photo backdrop (this one from Oriental Trading) that I taped up on the wall. Like at the Noon Year's Eve Party, the backdrop was a hit! I highly recommend these gems to everyone! They come in three pieces and they make programs so fun and festive!
At the end of the program, I served super-authentic pre-cut pineapple from the grocery store out of super-authentic Styrofoam bowls, plus water bottles (with these cute labels for extra festiveness) and two flavors of Hawaiian Punch (Original Fruit Juicy Red and Aloha Morning Orange Citrus) which I guess kids don't love and devour the way I did as a kid because there was a ton leftover. Kids today go for the water bottles. Over Hawaiian Punch! I don't understand.
What worked best: The games were awesome! I think this group could have played games the entire hour if I didn't cut them off to make leis. For many of them, as they finished their craft, they moved back to the games instead of sitting down and having pineapple and juice. Can't go wrong with a ring toss. Ulu Maika was fun too! (Plus, bonus, they liked making fun of my DIY Ulu Maika stone.)
What worked least: The leis were a little hard for some of the kids on the younger end of the age range, but even the smallest ones enjoyed picking out colors and letting me help with the stringing part.
What else worked least, kinda: I OVER-BOUGHT. Pineapple and Hawaiian Punch for all the librarians!
Anyway, this was truly a success! Isn't it great when things just work out exactly like you planned? The best!