For those of you with kids, planning out a vacation can be stressful. We feel you! At the Polynesian Cultural Center, we try to make sure that every member of our ‘ohana (family) is taken care of. Out of the many activities and shows at the Polynesian Cultural Center, we know what’s fun for your keiki (kids). We gladly offer suggestions to entertain and educate both adults and their little ones:
1. Learn dancing in Hawaii and Tahiti
If you and your kids are inspired to learn Polynesian dancing, Hawaii and Tahiti have short lessons to help you get started. Hula and Tahitian are the most popular of the Polynesian dances, with graceful hand gestures and hip swaying action.
2. Fireknife practice
If your kids are a bit older, they might enjoy learning how to spin a practice fireknife in the Samoan Village. In Samoa, the ability of a warrior was judged on how well and how fast he could spin a fireknife. Don’t worry–it’s safe! Our practice fireknives have no fire and no knife attached. Want to see how our warriors do it? Click here to view a video with fireknife dancing along with a short tour of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
3. Ukulele lessons
Taking ukulele lessons from our talented ukulele teachers is a great activity to do with kids. Lessons are available at the Mission Settlement Home, as well as inside the Ukulele Experience store which is located near the entrance to the villages. You can also purchase an ukulele at both locations, or you can buy an ukulele, a bag or a lesson book online and have it shipped to your home.
4. Stick games/poi balls from Aotearoa
Maoris use to train their warriors from a young age with hand-eye coordination games. In the Aotearoa Village, Maori people teach you to train with sticks and spinning poi balls. These games are fun for all ages and create fun memories your children will talk about for years to come.
5. Spear throwing in Tonga/Tahiti
Hunting boar for the next luau is done by throwing spears in Polynesia. You can learn the specialized technique In both our Tonga and Tahiti Villages (one overhand and one underhand). Come and practice your hunting skills and possibly win a prize!
6. Fish nets in Hawaii
Traditional fishing in Hawaii is done by casting nets into a school of fish and dragging them back in. The Polynesian Cultural Center got it’s start doing hukilau-style net fishing at nearby Hukilau Beach. Have your kids try their own hukilau in our Hawaiian fish pond!
7. Fiji drums
If your kids are prone to hitting things and making noise, this fun activity is educational and can be a great stress reliever!
8. Fishing in Tahiti
Fishing provided a large source of the Tahitian’s diet. Fish for real tilapia, which are small enough not to overwhelm the little ones in our lagoon using an old-fashioned Tahitian fishing pole.
9. Huki (fishhook) necklace
This crafty activity lets your children get creative and learn about the symbolism behind the huki, which is “hook” in English. Our artisans will help them craft a necklace resembling the type of huki used to by our Polynesian ancestors as they caught fish for their evening meal. Your kids will also have the opportunity to learn our about our legendary demigod Maui, who used his large fish hook to pull the islands out from under the ocean. This activity is in the Carver’s Hut on the lagoon side of the Maori (Aotearoa) Village.
10. Poi and coconut bread tasting
For the little ones interested in cooking and food, poi tasting is available in our Hawaii Village and freshly made coconut bread is available in the Tahiti village. You may be surprised at how delicious they are!
11. Our shows are family-friendly
All shows are great for kids and most are interactive. If you’re looking for sure-fire favorites full of laughter and excitement, Samoa and Tonga shows are among them. For more information, including show schedules, click here.
12. Weave a fish headband
It’s common to see guests leave our Center with a free souvenir–a woven headband with a fish protruding from the top or beautiful woven birds. In our Tonga and Samoa Villages you can learn to weave using leaves while creating fun memories.
13. Canoe rides – go big or go small, but definitely go!
Free canoe rides give kids a chance to see our villages from the lagoon that stretches across the Center. Polynesians often traveled by canoe to get to the different islands. You can ride on a 32 passenger, slow moving canoe pushed by one of our strapping young men from one end of the lagoon to another, or at various times throughout the day you can jump in our Tongan canoes (built for 3-4 people) and learn to paddle yourself (with a little help from an experienced paddler, of course).
Come on, it’s time for adventure!
Rebecca Sabalones is a published writer and editor from Indiana. She graduated with a B.A. in Cultural Communications from Brigham Young University–Hawaii, worked as a multi-media journalist and editor-in-chief for Ke Alaka’i, taught English in Taiwan, and worked as a copy editor for The Daily Herald. The islands called her back to Hawaii where she has been occupied with sales and marketing for the Polynesian Cultural Center.