Treat your child and her friends to a luau party complete with themed games and entertainment that showcase Hawaiian culture. Note on the invitations that they should come dressed in festive beachwear and flip-flops, and hand them leis to put around their necks as they arrive. Serve tropical punch, play Hawaiian music along with favorite beach-theme tunes, stage limbo and hula hoop competitions and organize games with an island luau theme.
Set up a volleyball game using a beach ball. If you don't have a net, just stretch a clothesline between two stationary objects. Have the kids choose island-themed team names and compete following traditional volleyball rules. Instead of points, however, they earn the letters "A-L-O-H-A." Whichever team completes the word first wins.
Bobbing for Seashells
Fill a plastic tub or wading pool with water and floating plastic seashells (find these at party stores and online) that you've marked with a "1," "2" or "3." Mark prize bags the same way and award them to children based on which seashells they pull out of the tub. They must bob with their hands behind their backs, pulling the items up with their teeth.
Have the kids pass a coconut around in a circle while you play Hawaiian music. When you stop the music, the kid holding the "hot coconut" is eliminated from the game. The last kid in the game wins.
Hula Hoop Games
For "Hula Hoop Statue," play beach-theme music and have the kids start hula hooping. When you stop the music, the kids have to stop moving instantly and let the hula hoops fall to the ground while they stand still like statues. Kids who move during the "frozen" time have to exit the game. The last kid remaining wins the game.
Kids can also compete to see who can hula the longest in "Hula Hoopla." In the first round, kids compete in pairs. After every kid has had a chance to compete against another kid, all the pairs round winners hula at the same time in a championship round. The kids who hulas the longest without stopping wins.
Have the kids see how low they can go with a limbo competition. While two adults hold each end of a stick or taut jump rope high, the kids take turns dancing underneath. Lower the stick with each new round, after each kid has had a chance to go under at each level. Any kids who touches the stick, stumbles or falls while going under is eliminated. The last "lowest" kids wins.
Tropical Relay Race
Divide the kids into two teams and have them form two lines. Each team gets a beach bag containing a grass skirt, Bermuda shorts, sunglasses, a straw hat and a lei necklace. Place two beach chairs in front of each team, roughly 15 to 20 feet away. The first player on each team puts on every item in the bag, runs to the chair, runs back to his team, removes the items, puts them back in the bag and passes the bag to the next player in line. The team that completes the relay first wins the game.
Jim Radenhausen is a freelancer who began writing professionally in 1998. A resident of Reeders, Pa., he spent over two years working at the "Eastern Pennsylvania Business Journal." Radenhausen received his bachelor's degree in English/professional writing from Kutztown University in 1997.