While you may not be able to hop on a plane to Hawaii with your preschool students, you can certainly foster the aloha spirit by creating Hawaiian-themed crafts. Even children who have never been to Hawaii can appreciate the lure of the sand and sea, the beauty of the flowers, and the warmth of the sun.
Students can create leis from paper or foam flowers. Simply string the flowers onto a long piece of string, yarn, or twine. Candy leis are a popular Hawaiian gift at graduation time. You can make them by using twist ties to attach hard candies end to end.
Purchase cheap kids' flip-flops and let students glue decorations such as rhinestones or fake flowers along the straps.
In Hawaii, both men and women wear grass skirts so you don't have to limit this activity to girls. Cut a piece of elastic that will fit snugly around each child's waist. Then cut long pieces of green streamers and attach them to the elastic with tape or glue.
Cut several fish shapes from construction paper or card stock and have students decorate them with paint and glitter. Hang the fish from a paper plate to create a mobile. Don't forget to include Hawaii's famous humuhumunukunukuapua'a.
Print coloring pages with basic designs. Allow students to "paint" a section with glue, then sprinkle colored sand over the area. Students should do each section separately to avoid mixing the colors.
- pineapple and lei image by William Berry from Fotolia.com