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Fun programs keep keiki busy on break

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 16, 2011

Spring Break is over and kids have started the countdown of days till schools let out for summer vacation. (For the record, 40 days are left for most public schools.) As the excitement grows for keiki, the stress builds for many parents struggling to find a stimulating program to care for their kids.

Of course, summer school is still available at many public and private schools and the City and County is offering its annual summer fun program ( at parks across the island. But if you are looking for something a little bit different, perhaps something to supplement the standard academics of the school year, here is a sampling of some of the programs offered this year.

Aquarium hosts program for kids

Explore the ocean and learn about sea creatures that inhabit the coast from Waikiki to Diamond Head. Waikiki Aquarium’s “Summer by the Sea” day camp is designed for budding marine biologists, ages 8 to 12.

Participants learn about the animals in the exhibits and watch them being fed during behind-the-scenes tours. Sessions are held Mondays to Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 13-17 and from June 27 to July 1. Each session culminates with a student-led tour of the aquarium.

Students must be confident swimmers and enjoy snorkeling. Cost is $300; $250 for members. For reservations, e-mail or call 440-9011.

HTY aims to get kids acting up

Let your kids express their flair for the dramatic on stage this summer through theater programs sponsored by Honolulu Theatre for Youth or Diamond Head Theatre.

In the Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s drama program, “A Summer of Mythical Fun with HTY,” children create characters, learn performance skills, engage in theater games and try out creative exploration techniques.

The program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. June 6 to July 1, Mondays to Fridays, at Tenney Theatre at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. Classes are held for kids ages 7 to 12. Children work with HTY staff. Cost is $575; scholarships are available. Applications can be downloaded at Call 839-9885.

Diamond Head Theatre’s musical theater experience incorporates singing and dancing into its theater program. Students learn theater games, improvisation, vocal and physical exercises and dance styles.

The first session runs from June 13 to July 22, Mondays to Fridays. Children 7 to 12 years old attend from 8 a.m. to noon and kids 12 to 16 years old attend from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Costs are $700 and $525, respectively.

The second session, for children ages 7 to 16, runs Aug. 1 to 12, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays to Fridays. Cost is $380 and culminates with a performance on Aug. 13.

Register by calling 733-0277, ext. 306.

Bishop Museum is Ed-Venturous

Kids can learn about lava tubes, dinosaurs and Hawaiian history at Bishop Museum’s Camp Ed-Venture, experience white-water rafting at Camp Wet ’n’ Wild or get up close with dolphins and stingrays at the Sea Life Park Junior Animal Trainer Program.

The weekly day camps, geared toward kids in kindergarten through sixth grade, are operated by Kamaaina Kids. Other programs are available at schools islandwide. Program costs range from $160 to $210 per week. Transportation and lunch are available for an additional charge.

Call 262-4538 or register at The deadline is May 13.

Array of fun at Camp Erdman

The YMCA Camp Erdman hosts an array of summer options from a traditional camp experience to specialty programs like horsemanship, rock climbing, surfing and Hawaiian culture.

English as a Second Language camp sessions are also available.

Activities include archery, swimming, exploration of tide pools, fishing, arts and crafts, hiking, kayaking and rock climbing. Both day and overnight camps are available. Fees vary by program.

For more information, call 637-4615; e-mail or visit

UH-Manoa offers kid sessions

The University of Hawaii at Manoa’s summer program for kids combines team building exercises, arts and crafts and weekly excursions in half-day specialty curricula geared toward specific age groups.

Choose one or two half-day themes from the following options:

» Third grade, “Plants & Animals,” studying habitats, habits and growth patterns of plants and animals in the local environment through hands-on experiments

» Fourth grade, “Sea,” act as marine biologists and oceanographers

» Fifth grade, “Sky & Space,” integrated studies in aerospace, meteorology and astronomy

» Fifth to seventh grade, “Drama,” become playwrights and actors

» Sixth to eighth grade, “Fish & Physics,” study aquatic environments and fishing techniques

» Sixth to ninth grade, “Project FRESH,” study food production, consumption, recycling and sustainability on a local and global scale. Solar cooking and edible landscaping will also be covered.

Other sessions include graphic design, robotics, digital media, mathematics, Japanese and Chinese.

Cost for the five-week program, running from June 6 to July 8, is $1,150; or $575 for the half-day program. Sessions run from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Hawaii Laboratory School. Visit or call 956-8176. The deadline is Friday.

Discovery Center gets cooking

Children between the ages of 5 and 8 can engage in creative play at the Children’s Discovery Center’s summer camp. Hands-on, interactive activities are part of the weekly themed sessions including Storybook Aprons (cooking classes based on books), Junior Puppeteers, World Peace Makers, Crazy for Critters and Discover China, June 6 to July 29. Camps run Mondays to Fridays, 9 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 4 p.m. A full-day option is available. Cost is from $150 ($100 for members) for half-day sessions; and $250 ($200 for members) for full days. Deadline is May 20.

All camps include daily visits to the museum’s galleries, outdoor play and a snack. Call 524-5437 or e-mail

Day camp has no fear of dirt

For kids who like to get dirty, the Hawaii Nature Center’s Sensational Nature Adventure Program offers a summer full of forest hikes, stream explorations, nature crafts and insect safaris.

Sessions for children ages 6 to 11 run from 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 6 to Aug. 12 and include field trips, such as beach explorations.

Cost is $300 per week; $250 for members. Extended care is available until 5 p.m. for an additional fee. For more information, call 955-0100, ext. 114.

Zoo pulls back the curtain

Kids go wild at the Honolulu Zoo’s Vacation Adventures weekly day camps for kids ages 6 through 11.

Children will interact with animals behind-the-scenes, talk to zookeepers, create animal crafts and play games.

Sessions begin June 6, and continue weekly through Aug. 8. Classes are from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with after-care until 5:30 p.m.

Children must have completed kindergarten to participate in the day camp.

Children ages 4 and 5 can join the PreVacation Adventures camp held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Each week features a different theme, such as “Survivor!” (animal adaptations) or “Earth 911” (conservation), and each day, a different classification of animal. Weeklong sessions cost $195 ($185 for members) for PreVacation Adventures and $215 ($200 for members) for the Vacation Adventures plus $60 for after-care ($50 for members).

Visit or call 971-7195.

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