If you can’t take a trip to the islands, bring the islands to you with a luau. Make your little ones part of the fun by putting them in charge of decorating for the event. Using a few simple arts and crafts supplies, and with a little help from you, your kids can make colorful decorations for your island party. Let them make their own hula skirts to wear, along with plenty of leis for your luau guests. Let the kids hang and display their decorations around the party location. They’ll feel like they helped, while enjoying the attention their colorful decorations garner.
Leis are a traditional element of island life and decor. Help your youngsters cut out tissue or construction paper flowers in bright colors, then punch a small hole in the center of each one. Cut colored drinking straws into 2-inch pieces. Knot the end of a 20- to 22-inch strand of yarn and let your little ones alternate stringing flowers and cut straws. Knot the ends together when complete. Use plain or dyed tube-shaped pasta as an alternative to drinking straws. Make additional flowers from tissue paper sheets and pipe cleaners to add to the island decor.
No luau is complete without hula skirts. Young children can make a simple version from a brown paper grocery sack. Cut out the bottom rectangle, then make a straight cut along one long edge to open up the sack. Cut straight lines from one edge to within 1 to 2 inches of the other. Continue these cuts for the width of the bag. Wrap the uncut end around your preschooler’s waist and tape or staple it shut, with the cut strips hanging down. Or give your preschooler lengths of green crepe paper streamers and help her tape or staple them to a “waistband” cut out of colored construction paper.
Give your child a variety of small seashells and a plain wooden picture frame or grapevine wreath. Let her glue the shells onto the frame or wreath to create a decorative wall or door decoration. Your little ones can also glue shells to plastic cups or clean glass jars to make luau-themed vases for the tissue paper flowers. Help her use shell-shaped cookie cutters to cut seashells out of rolled-out, quick-drying modeling clay. Poke a small hole in the top of each shell with a pencil. When the clay dries, thread a piece of cord or raffia through the hole. Tie it at the top to make ornaments to hang in the windows.
Give the kids some plain paper plates or card stock and some colored markers. Show them pictures of tiki masks and let them make their own version to hang up as decorations. Let them color empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls in similar fashion to make miniature tiki lanterns and torches.