Parenting can be tricky. When overloaded with information on how to raise smart and successful keiki, modern day parents can easily feel uncertain about their choices. Take a moment and tune in to your core values. Your personal core values constantly guide the way you teach and correct your keiki, like reminding them to mahalo someone after they are given a gift, clean up their toys when they are done playing, or share with a friend. Your value system is the inner compass of your ʻohana, navigating every parenting choice you make.
Spending just 10 minutes a day fully present in play with your keiki develops a long-lasting bond and helps with overall development. This is why Tūtū and Me Traveling Preschool uses play to reinforce its featured Hawaiian values. Here are three playful activities that teach the value of aloha.
Infants: Birth–12 months
Keeping infants clean is aloha! After meal time, get two damp washcloths and give one to your infant. Make an animated expression of excitement and say, “Ho‘ema‘ema‘e (time to clean)!” Take your washcloth and playfully wipe parts of your face. Encourage your infant to grasp the other washcloth and imitate you. They may not wipe with the same finesse as you, but enjoy the moment of playful connection with your infant. Ho‘ema‘ema‘e— all clean!
Toddlers: 12–24 months
Showing affection with toddlers is aloha! Create a “Honi (kiss) Me Obstacle Course” where your toddler can crawl through a large box, climb over a cushion, bounce on a pile of blankets, roll across a blanket, and then end with a playful honi from you! They not only get the win of aloha and honi from you, but also build strength, balance, and coordination.
Preschoolers: 24–48 months
Enjoying healthy food with preschoolers is aloha! Give your keiki the role of head chef and design simple chef hats out of paper for the both of you. Visit a local farmer’s market and have your chef keiki help choose produce that are ready to bring home to eat. Help your chef keiki peel, slice, or chop the fruits or vegetables. Arrange them on a plate in a creative way. Be mindful of safety as you teach your keiki how to handle any sharp utensils. Maika’i (congrats)! Your chef keiki just made a farm-to-table connection in a playful way.
Check in with your values regularly as you play, teach and guide your keiki! Find more at pidf.org/ohana-activities.
Partners in Development Foundation draws on ʻike kupuna, ancestral wisdom and knowledge, to inspire and equip families and communities for success and service using timeless Native Hawaiian values and traditions. PIDF serves the needs of young keiki, their caregivers, and economically vulnerable youth and ʻohana, visit www.pidf.org to learn more.