Thereʼs more to a luau than just good food and music. As a host, one of the things you worry about is whether your guests are having a good time – and if theyʼll leave right after getting their fill of mai tais and chicken long rice. To keep everyone entertained, try adding some serious fun into the mix with unique games and activities. From traditional Hawaiian games to popular games with a Hawaiian twist, itʼs a great way to break the ice and get the party started.
PASS THE COCONUT
Like the popular game of “hot potato,” but using a coconut, have everyone sit in a circle. Play Hawaiian music or strum an ukulele while participants pass a coconut around. Stop the music and whoever is holding the coconut is “out.” Continue until there is one person left.
Similar to lawn bowling, ʻulu maika is a traditional ancient Hawaiian game that requires concentration and coordination. Place two wooden or metal stakes in the ground, 6 inches apart and about 15 feet away from where the players are standing. The goal is to roll your stone smoothly between the two stakes.
The Hawaiian version of checkers, Konane requires two players to play. Using a wooden board (or cardboard) with 64 impressions, fill each impression with alternating black and white stones. Opponents take turns jumping over each otherʼs pieces – up, down, left or right – and removing them from the board. The person with the last jump is the winner.
HULA HOOP ʻTIL YOU DROP
Line everyone up and see who can go the longest or do the most hoops in a timed contest. For an even more challenging competition, double or triple up hula-hoops on the final two participants.
Make a list of Hawaiian places or things and write each one down on a sheet of paper, then mix them in a hat or bag. Each team assigns an artist who pulls a sheet out and draws clues for their team members to guess. They have two minutes to guess correctly or the opposing team has a chance to steal. Play up to 10 points.
How low can your guests go? Using a broom or any long stick, have two people on opposite ends hold the stick up at various heights, starting from high and ending with low. Play your favorite Hawaiian music while participants try their luck at this back-bending classic.
KUMU HULA SAYS…
Similar to “Simon Says,” pick someone to be the Kumu Hula, or hula teacher, to play the caller. They must say “Kumu Hula says…” followed by a hula move and directions. If they give directions without saying “Kumu Hula” says, anyone who does the move is eliminated. Play this until only one person is left and crowned the winner.
• Huli: rotate while swaying hips
• Hela: point right foot forward and sway to the left, then point left foot forward, and sway to the right
• Haʻa: stand with knees bent
• Ami: rotate hips counterclockwise without moving shoulders
• Imua: go forward
• Iluna: go up
• Ilalo: go down
• Ihope: go back
• Kaholo: two steps to the left, two steps to the right
• Lava: stop
Set up five to ten pineapples “pins” about 15 – 20 feet away from each team. Take turns trying to knock down the most pineapples by using coconuts as bowling balls.
Customize bingo cards with luau or beach-themed stickers, clip art or words. Use seashells to mark your card as each item is called out. The first person to get Bingo must yell “ALOHA!”.
ALL THE POI YOU CAN EAT
Place a small bowl of poi in front of each participant. With two minutes on the clock, they must eat as much as they can – without using their hands or utensils. To make it kidfriendly, use tapioca, rice pudding or yogurt as substitute with purple food coloring.
HULA SKIRT RELAY
Each team gets a full hula outfit including a grass skirt, coconut top and lei. One by one, each member has to put on the full outfit, run to a checkpoint and back, then pass the outfit on to the next player in line. Alternatively, you can also use beach clothes for a beach theme.
SAND BUCKET TOSS
Using a sand shovel, dig ping pong balls out from the sand and toss them into a bucket 5 – 10 feet away. The person who fills their bucket up first is the winner.
BANANA CHIP POKER
Set up a few poker tables around the area. Instead of regular poker chips and card, use island-themed cards for playing and banana chips for betting.
Back to Luau Resources