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Kalakoa! Last-minute gifts for kids

A mishmash of family fun and news

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 1:35 a.m. HST, Dec 22, 2012

Kids are supposed to be the easiest people to shop for, but with Christmas just three days away, there still may be a few keiki you haven't found just the right gift for yet. Here are some last-minute offerings to get your tiny tots' eyes all aglow.

Bowling for zombies

Is your teen a zombie lover? Trying to stay away from the typical gifts of video games, gift cards or cold, hard cash?

Consider a zombie-themed table-top bowling game, which features two miniature bowling balls and 10 handcrafted wooden 4-inch-tall bowling pins. One human pin is even included in the mix. Cost is $14.33 at

Eyes on the prize

Kids often have a hard time mastering the concept of a viewfinder on a camera. The Fuuvi Megane Camera ($81.95, Honolulu Museum of Art gift shop) takes the guesswork out of photography by capturing whatever the user sees. Available in a variety of colors, the camera takes 2-megapixel photos and can record up to an hour of video, depending on memory card size. Recharge the internal battery or download the pictures and video by connecting the camera to a computer via USB cable. Optional keychain and necklace attachments are included.

Birdie love

For a nature-inspired gift, how about a T-shirt featuring a bird from your own backyard? The kolea, or Pacific golden plover, flies to Hawaii from Alaska every winter. The tees, part of the "It's All About Kailua" line, are original designs by Steven Parker and come in bright, primary colors such as red, yellow and blue ($18 from Lanikai Home & Style, 171D Hamakua Drive, Kailua).

Other birds featured include the ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt) and the ‘aukuu (black-crowned night heron), which can be found in the marsh behind the store.

Sizes start at 2T. Call 261-5681 or visit

Mix-and-match car parts

Automoblox, a set of wooden minicars you can take apart and mix and match to make new designs, are the kind of toy that make parents think, "Why didn't they have toys like this when I was a kid?" The sleek automobiles, suitable for ages 3 and up, can be broken apart into individual pieces to reattach via magnets into custom designs, and the colored wheels are interchangeable. Choose from sports sedans, convertibles, hot rods and pickup trucks in different colors. You can even go online and register your vehicle. Available at Thinker Toys for $12 to $15, and

Adopt a critter

When the house is overrun with toys, teach your children about giving back in a way they can understand.

The Honolulu Zoo Society offers symbolic pet adoptions for $100, $250 and $500. The funds go to education efforts, conservation projects, animal enrichment and habitat improvements.

You'll receive a photo of "your" animal, certificate of adoption, animal fact sheet and zoo passes or memberships (depending on your contribution) to visit the animal. Call 926-3191 ext. 153 or email

New-generation Legos

Upgrade your child's Lego collection with Laser Pegs. The pieces form lighted structures when attached to the triangular power source. In addition to the benefits of a construction toy, the pegs bring a lesson in electric circuitry, as units won't light up unless the pieces are firmly attached. Laser Pegs are available at Target; sets start at $21.99.

Presidential aloha

"A President from Hawaii" ($15.99, Candlewick Press), by Dr. Terry Carolan and Joanna Carolan, demonstrates how local values and cultural traditions resonate with President Barack Obama.

This second version of their 2009 book offers vibrant illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon depicting lush island scenery, accompanied by family photos and Obama quotes about helping others, unity and family.

In the description of the aloha spirit, the authors quote Obama as saying, "That's why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them."

Hawaiian words such as akamai, lokahi, mana and ohana are used throughout the book, with a detailed explanations of the terms. A glossary is included. Local pride emanates from the story as it emphasizes to the younger generation the milestone of having a president from Hawaii.

Available at

Eating on the go

The food truck craze is so widespread it has even reached kids' books. "Hawaii's Food Trucks on the Go!" ($12.95, BeachHouse), by Beth Greenway, takes readers on a rhyming tour of fictional food trucks around the island and the variety of tasty ethnic treats they serve. Illustrator Jamie Meckel Tablason gives the trucks charming expressions that will endear them to fans of the Disney "Cars" movies.

The delightful story continues as all the trucks travel from their respective areas to a block party. As in many good children's books, the story ends with bedtime — motors humming as the trucks go home to sleep.

Books that talk back

With all the technology constantly bombarding children, it can be hard to hold their attention with a simple book. Hallmark has introduced interactive books that respond to the sound of your voice. When certain lines are read, the book responds and asks questions of the reader. The child answers, eliciting further automated responses. With dozens of responses programmed into the books, the answers from the characters vary with each reading. Books are available with or without holiday themes for $24.95 at Hallmark stores.

Redbox gift cards cover games, movies

Give the gift card concept a new twist with Redbox's e-gift cards. Visit and click on "gifts" to order gift cards for DVD, Blu-ray and video game rentals. Prices start at $6 for five DVD promo codes and go up to $100 for 50 video game promo codes. Buy before Dec. 26 and gift givers will receive a promo code for themselves for a one-night DVD rental to use before Dec. 31.

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