Heihei- It’s Summer!

Being a huge Disney fan, I continue to keep up with all the animated hits (even as an adult) and I have to say, Moana is definitely a modern classic! You’ve got a strong female lead, lots of action and oh my gosh the water! Am I right? They did such an amazing job animating it, it’s like your really there on the pristine beaches of Motunui! With Memorial Day behind us, it’s officially summer vacation here in the south, so I thought a Moana week would be the perfect kick off to our summer lesson plans. Fun fact- Motu Nui is a real Island off the coast of Chile in South America just south of Easter Island, although I’m thinking Moana’s Motunui is meant to be a fictional South Pacific island. Despite all this, I’m also including some Hawaii themed activities this week since it’s from the same general Pacific Island region. Don’t forget to sail on over to my toddler post “Aloha Summer!” for lots of art and sensory play activities like a kakamora plate craft, shaving cream ocean sensory play, and a super yummy Dole whip recipe you can enjoy while watching the movie!


-Tropical flower ABC: I took apart a lei and wrote the alphabet on each of the flowers (one letter per flower, capital and lower case alternating on each petal). Then I had my little put them in ABC order.

-Ocean writing tray: I put some foam shaving cream in a cake pan, added blue food coloring and helped my little use sound spelling to write the words: sand, sun, sea, fish, shell, crab and Moana. I used a paintbrush to smooth the foam out after each word and kept a washcloth handy for wiping fingers.

-Hawaii rhyming practice coloring page: This was such a cute activity that not only worked on rhyming words but also on coloring skills. I got it from Teachers Pay Teachers as part of a “Froggy Goes to Hawaii” set. You just print the coloring page along with the instructions, then read each sentence aloud to your little, allowing them to finish each line with a rhyming word. Then they color the part of the picture that goes along with the rhyming word. (ie. “The Hawaiian islands are so much fun, you can play in the yellow ____”. They say “sun” then color the sun.)

-Letter T writing practice: I printed a Moana themed upper case T and lower case T writing practice page then had my little work on writing the letter T neatly. As he wrote, I had him say “T” to work on recognizing the letter’s name.

-Moana book list:


-Sail to Te Fiti number maze: I made this number maze then “laminated” it with contact paper to use it again (and also to fix any mistakes as my little “found his way” to Te Fiti…and thank goodness because it proved to be a bit challenging for him!) So basically, to get through the maze you have to follow the numbers in order while drawing the path with a dry erase marker. It’s a great way to work on counting and recognizing higher numbers and I definitely plan on doing it again to push his number knowledge past 10!

-Sea creature count and clip: I cut out some squares of card stock and stuck fish stickers on them to match each of the numbers 1-10. Then I wrote 3 number choices at the bottom of each card (one being the amount of sea creatures on the card.) I had my little count the creatures and clip the correct number. I got this from Life Over C’s last year and just pulled it out of the closet for this week’s lessons!

-Tropical flower counting: I got a few silk leis for us to wear this week (they have them at the Dollar Tree right now), and for this activity I disassembled a few, then had my little count how many flowers there were. He’s very good at counting to 29, but gets stuck at the transition to 30, so I made sure I had enough flowers that he was counting a higher number to practice those transitions to the next ten.

-Coconut roll and color: I printed this coconut roll and color page out from Teachers Pay Teachers, wrote the numbers 1-10 in the coconuts, then had my little roll a 10 sided dice and color the corresponding coconut.

Science/Social Studies:

-Te-Ka volcano demonstration: The Pacific Islands were all formed by underwater volcanoes, so we talked about this and then built our own to demonstrate an eruption. For the mountain I just made some cinnamon playdough by mixing 1 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of cinnamon, 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of flour, 1/3 cup of water, and 4 tablespoons of oil. Then I formed the mountain around an empty contact solution bottle (but any small bottle will work) placed on top of a baking sheet. To make the “lava” you can either use the traditional baking soda and colored vinegar OR up the effect a bit by making elephant toothpaste which creates a thicker foam which is perhaps more lava like as it holds it’s shape longer and really makes a clear extra layer on the mountain. To make the “toothpaste” pour 1/2 a cup of hydrogen peroxide into the water bottle (I used a turkey baster to get it in with no spills- a funnel would also work!) Squirt in a bit of dish soap and gently swish the volcano back and forth to mix. Add some food coloring and swish to mix. Now comes the magic- mix 3 tablespoons of warm water with a packet of baking yeast then quickly add it to the bottle and stand back as the volcano erupts into a creamy foam and flows down the mountain! Discuss how in real life the new layer of lava would harden into rock and make the mountain one layer taller. This makes a great sensory play activity too after the demo is over! I got the elephant toothpaste recipe from Hands on as we Grow.

-Find Hawaii on a map: In the spirit of tying fiction to nonfiction, I decided to do some map skills with my little this week by finding and coloring Hawaii on a world map, a map of North America and a map of Hawaii itself. (I had to draw Hawaii in on the world map.) I started with the world map, but in hindsight I would start with the map of Hawaii and zoom out. As a quick assessment when we were done, I had my little find Hawaii on our classroom map of the world too.

Social studies/Art:

-Make a lei: I took apart a few silk leis then had my little re-string the flowers and separators to make his own lei. He chose to make a wrist lei, but your little can make one for their ankle, head or neck too! If you use plastic beading cord it makes it easier to thread the flowers and separators.

-Make a grass skirt: This activity is great for working on scissor skills- it can be done with older toddlers as well as preschoolers if you hold the paper for them while they cut, but it’s more suited for preschool so I’m putting it here! Basically you just have your little snip strips in 2-3 sheets of green construction paper- I drew a “stop line” at the top of the page so he wouldn’t end up cutting it into pieces instead of strips that are connected. Next, tape the papers together so all the loose ends are oriented in the same direction in a large rectangle. Then, tape it around your little’s waist and move to the next activity to learn the hula!

-Hula dancing: We watched and followed along with this awesome “Learn to Hula” video on YouTube. It was so cute and even though my preschooler wasn’t super pumped at first, he had a blast with it and even remembered the moves later and showed them to my husband when he got home!

-Coconut Haupia: This is a traditional dessert often served at luaus that I found in the book “Hawaii” by Ann Graham Gains. You mix a can of unsweetened coconut milk with 1 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 a cup of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 6 tablespoons of cornstarch over low heat on the stove. Once the mixture is very thick like pudding, you pop it in an 8X8 pan and put it in the fridge. It should set into a bar you can cut and serve but I don’t think I had mine in the fridge long enough because it was more pudding-like…almost like crème brulee! It was still really yummy though!

Supply/shopping list:

  • silk flower leis
  • plastic beading cord
  • shaving cream
  • blue food coloring
  • shells
  • contact paper
  • fish stickers
  • clothes pins
  • food coloring, baking soda and vinegar OR peroxide, dish soap, food coloring, yeast and water
  • clay/cinnamon playdough
  • water bottle
  • coconut milk (1 can)
  • sugar
  • cornstarch
  • vanilla
  • 8×8 pan
  • 10 sided dice

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