Sea Turtle Color Sort

Young children learn best by doing.



Because we are always talking about our colors, we practiced sorting sea turtles according to their color.



Using cardboard sea turtles and a Twister board, we placed sea turtles onto their matching color.


This activity fostered an array of pre-math skills, including sorting, classifying, and categorizing items by similar and contrasting characteristics.



Sand Castles

No Hawaiian theme would be complete without a sand castle building adventure!


Using kinetic sand, shovels and tiny buckets, we created several sculptures and adorned them with real shells!


We made several impressive architectural wonders such as Scooby Doo’s house, a choo choo train, and a fire truck.


There are many benefits to sand play, the first being the development of the sense of touch through the texture of the sand.


Sand play also develops the arm, wrist, and hand muscles, strengthening grasping and wrist control.


Lastly, while playing with sand, young children also experiment with concepts such as volume, weight, and measurement.


The Merwin Palm Tree Forest

Using cardboard tubes and green paper, we created a palm tree forest! Located in Maui, the Merwin Conservancy is a lush, tropical forest of palm trees.


We created our very own using our imaginations and a few simple objects.


For instance, each cardboard tube contained two slots (with which students were directed to fill with the “leaves” of the palm tree) that required your little one to think creatively and laterally. Following this, they were directed to place their palm trees onto a blue mat.


Lastly, we added birds and other animals to our forests to continue to fun!


This activity provided several developmental benefits as your little one sifted through the actions of cause and effect, hand to eye coordination, measurement (an important pre-math skill), and the opportunity to think practically about a specific task.


Exploding Coconuts

Your little ones love to explore with the many science activities that we do throughout the week.



These activities not only engage your child, but explain the physical properties of objects, teach cause and effect, and provide the necessary hands-on experience most conducive to learning.



Using baking soda and vinegar, we mixed them, and poured them into coconut halves.



Students then gazed with wonder, watching the fizzing bubbles as they oozed out of the coconut halves.





Monk Seal Habitats

The Hawaiian monk seal is one of the rarest marine mammals in the world. Part of the “true seal” family (Phocidae), they are one of only two remaining monk seal species.


Isolated from their closest relative 15 million years ago, Hawaiian monk seals are considered a “living fossil” because of their distinct evolutionary lineage.


Monk seals are primarily foragers, feeding on a variety of prey including fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans.


Monk seals live in the warm subtropical waters of Hawaii and spend two-thirds of their time at sea.


They use waters surrounding atolls, islands, and areas farther offshore on reefs and submerged banks. Monk seals are also found using deepwater coral beds as foraging habitat.


When on land, monk seals breed and haul-out on sand, corals, and volcanic rock. Sandy, protected beaches surrounded by shallow waters are preferred when pupping. Monk seals are often seen resting on beaches during the day.


For this activity, we created our very own monk seal habitats! Using toy seals, rocks, blue gel and sand, your little one created their very own sandy beach! This was the definite favorite for the week, as your little one applied their understanding of various vocabulary and newly acquired concepts.


Green Apple Coconut Trees

The coconut tree is considered one of the most useful trees in the world. The coconut fruit has water and milk which can be drunk and flesh that can be eaten. From the pulp coconut oil can be extracted.


The oil can be used in cooking, cosmetics and for lamp fuel. Coconut leaves can be used for weaving and thatching (for example, to make roofs). Coconut husks can be used for food bowls and the trunk to build all kinds of things.


To enable your budding coconut tree connoisseur to grasp a better understanding of these magnificent plants, we used pretzels and green apple slices to create our very own! When young children are given opportunities to prepare food, they are practicing a host of important life skills.


When they are given the ingredients to create their masterpiece, they are practicing listening skills. As they are instructed to add ingredients to create their treat, they are learning order of operations. Lastly, as they learn about new foods, they are acquiring new vocabulary, which promotes literacy.


Hatching Sea Turtles

No Hawaii unit would be complete without a study of sea turtles! Sea turtles spend most of their lives in the water, where not much information can be gathered on their behavior.

seaturtleMost of what is known about sea turtle behavior is obtained by observing hatchlings and females that leave the water to lay eggs. Sea turtles, like salmon, will return to the same nesting grounds at which they were born.


When females come to the shore they dig out a nest in the ground with their back flippers, bury their clutch of eggs and return to the ocean. After hatching, the young may take as long as a week to dig themselves out of the nest.


They emerge at night, move toward the ocean and remain there, solitary, until it is time to mate. To apply our understanding of this new information, we created a habitat for our sea turtle eggs, consisting of gravel for the water, rocks, shells, sea turtles, and clear jewels as our eggs.


Constructing a habitat can be a powerful educational tool. It not only provides a means to apply one’s understanding of new information, but conveys that information in an interesting and dynamic way that appeals to young learners.


Kilauea Volcano

From three to five years of age, children continue to develop in key areas of cognition.

volcanoThe most obvious change from toddlerhood is the extraordinary increase in the child’s ability to mentally or symbolically represent concrete objects, ideas, and events.

volcano1This increasing ability to use mental representation allows children to make plans before taking action, and their activities take on a more purposeful direction.

volcano2This varies from child to child, but can be developed with hands-on activities. To help facilitate this, we created small volcanoes as part of our Hawaiian theme. Children started by placing dirt onto trays.

volcano3They then added blue gravel as their “water”.

volcano4Following, they used their pointer fingers to poke a hold into their “mountains”.

volcano6After this, they added baking soda, and for the grand finale, orange-colored vinegar.


They gleefully watched as their volcanoes “erupted” before their eyes!



Hawaiian Coral Reefs

Stretching for more than 1200 miles in the Central Pacific, Hawaiian coral reefs account for about 85 percent of all coral reefs in the United States.

coralreefBecause it is under water and not visible, the importance of the reef remains largely hidden – including its importance not only to the ocean environment and its inhabitants, but also to humans.

coralreef1To help us better understand these complex life systems, we created our very own coral reefs out of sponges, sea shells, blue gel, and toy sea creatures.

coralreef2The objective of our many projects, is to develop the concept (in this case, a coral reef) first.

coralreef3By using concrete materials, your little ones can learn the basic concepts of ideas that they cannot experience firsthand.

coralreef4Your young students use concrete hands-on learning materials that make abstract concepts more clear.