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The Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man is a delight for children and a fun way to teach about Hawaii's vibrant culture. We all need to learn more about the way others live, and it will bring humanity in an interesting way for the children.
The book is the basis of the Hawaiian culture lesson plan for preschoolers offered here. This highly animated story of the gingerbread man - with a Hawaiian twist - is sure to become a classroom staple for you in the future.
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Before reading the story, introduce the children to the Hawaiian leis and grass skirts. Hawaiian culture is built on respect and love for family and neighbors. Flowered leis are a big part of this wonderful culture and they symbolize the partaking of a celebration. They can be worn anytime, but must never be refused. As a golden 'unsaid' rule, it is best not to be the one to refuse the gift. Those who are very familiar of this culture, say this about the flowered gift:
"Leis were symbols of love, of a spiritual meaning or connection, of healing, and of respect. There are many references to leis, or as the circle of a lei, being symbolic of the circle of a family, embracing, or love itself" 
Grass skirts adorn those who dress for the hula or the performance of dance and song. Hulas are another major part of the Hawaiians' history, and they are typically accompanied with the musicians playing instruments like the drum, guitar, or ukulele. These skirts are a very important piece of clothing worn by the females, while the males usually wear pants or trousers.
It may be helpful to have actual leis and/or grass skirts for the children to see and touch. You may even wish to have the children creat their own grass skirts and leis by following the simple directions provided here.
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Making a Hula Skirt
- large paper bag - one sized for groceries
- colored markers or paint
- kite string or yarn
- glitter (optional)
1) Cut off the top portion off the bag.
2) Place the yarn or string around their waist, and tie it.
3) Cut the string and fold the bag over, then glue down the top.
4) Let the children decorate the bag with paint, and let it dry.
5) Cut the bag into strips half way to the waist.
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Creating Your Own Hawaiian Lei
- colorful decorative tissue cut into one inch squares with a hole punched into each square
- a colored ball of yarn
1) Measure the yarn and cut it long enough for a lei.
2) Knot the string at one end,
3) Show each child how to thread their yarn with colored paper squares.
3) Make sure that they are alternating between at least two different colors to create their leis, but they can place many colored squares in large bunches at a time.
4) Once threaded, help them tie a knot, to close it up.
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Reading the Story
Spend time reading the story together. Ask the children to identify the main character, and why he was running in the story. The gingerbread man is easily imitated by asking the children to run in place. Have them repeat the most memorable phrases within the book, in unison.
When you are done, it's time to party! Acquire some easy to follow Hawaiian Luau music to play. Let the children wear their skirts and leis. You can even help students create their own drums!
Do you have other ideas for helping children expand their knowledge through hawaiian culture lesson plans and activities? If so, be sure to visit the comments section below.
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"Customer Reviews: The Musubi Man: Hawaii's Gingerbread Man". Amazon.com. June 22. 2009 <http://www.amazon.com/Musubi-Man-Hawaiis-Gingerbread/product-reviews/1573060534/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1>.
"Hula Skirt Info". Hula Dance Headquarters. June 23, 2009 www.huladancehq.com.