Cultivate love of working with one’s hands, grow an appreciation for hard work, perhaps a glimpse into the life of your great grandparents’ routines in the sugarcane, taro or pineapple fields. Garden alongside your old Japanese grandfather for some quality lessons and talk story, then continue the bonding in the kitchen and at the dinner table.
Foodscapes Hawaii has a variety of gardening services and seed packages to accommodate the most clueless of gardeners. If your thumbs resemble coal more than they do bok choy but you’d still like to teach the kids some useful outdoor skills, Foodscapes can build a keiki-friendly raised-box garden bed on top of your lawn, which is low-maintenance and can be customized to fit any sized yard. The seed collection offerings ($30) include one that is called The Kids’ Garden, with easy-to-grow foods such as mini bell peppers and Oxheart carrots.
While the kids toil away in the hot sun, tending ever so lovingly to their butter lettuce, [greenerpenny.com] editor (and former Weekly editor) Mindy Pennybacker recommends you keep keiki hydrated by giving them kid-size Klean Kanteens. SIGG water bottles are another popular reusable water bottle choice. The miniature sizes (10 to 12 ounces, up to 20 for the bigger kids. $18-$22.) are perfect for small hands and come in appealing colors and designs that will make drinking water fun(!). For the toddlers just watching their older siblings dig and prune, there are sippy top attachments (Klean Kanteen) or hand grips (SIGG) to making drinking a cleaner experience. These bottles are BPA- and toxin-free, with no leaching. Look online if local retailers are out of stock.
After the garden goods have grown, the kids can move into the kitchen to start creating some good eats. An array of local keiki cookbooks is available to teach basic kitchen safety and sanitation, as well as provide easy recipes. Aunty Pau’s Keiki Cookbook, appropriate for reading level ages 4-8, passes local tradition on with recipes for “Haole-Style Roast” and “Ah Sook Soup” (from $3.89 on [amazon.com]). The Magic Shark Learns to Cook ($9.95 at [besspress.com]) includes recipes such as Sharky’s Hawaiian French Toast and papaya smoothies. Want a pro to teach the art of cooking? Check out Sam Choy’s Cooking with Kids ($13.95 at [mutualpublishing.com]), and the little gourmet chefs will be whipping out banana-pineapple muffins, chicken luau and cornflake coconut macaroons in no time while learning cutting techniques, how to crack an egg and more.
For those living the yuppie-turned-soccer-parent life, the Williams-Sonoma fantasy kitchen can live on with the keiki. The company puts out a line of kid kitchen gadgets, meaning that the miniature, colorful and safer versions of grown-up tools will make cooking more accessible and fun for the young ones. There’s the mini red rubber spatula and spoon set ($12), easy-grip grater with a cover ($15), bright orange and green tongs ($12.95) and more. You can also splurge on a kids’ cupcake decorating set for $54.40.