String Games On The Beach

Halau Hei
Ka HeiHei O Na Keiki

string games on the beach

Weaving stories and String Figures
help children and adults,
residents and 
find the Spirit of Aloha through play

The cord that connects the cultures of this world is made up of many strands. Through string figures and storytelling, we can teach children how to weave love and harmony into the pattern of their lives. It is our intent to develop health and wellness through the arts, using words, images, feelings and movement. The focus is holistic. Woven into the fabric is an awareness of nature, culture and the arts, spirituality, communication and literacy.

We have been influenced by the way children have been taught during the passage of time in Hawaii and Polynesia. The kupuna’s (elders) would watch the children and determine their strengths. They would then teach to these strengths. The children were taught to look and to listen. Observation and awareness were skills that were valued. “Watch me and do as I do” was echoed in their family. The extended family of tutu’s, aunties and uncles would tell them stories and the oral traditions were passed down from their ancestors. Visiting storytellers and competitions would be held. Games would be played and the child’s skills would again be observed and nurtured. The Spirit of Aloha was highly valued. Western thought and the mix of cultural values have influenced changes in how children are educated today. We want to bring back some of the traditions of the past and weave them into the fabric of today. Reviving the art of string figures and storytelling creates an atmosphere of learning that reflects the values held not only by Hawaiian traditions but also of traditions expressed in the peoples of cultures from around the world.

String Figures are called Hei in Hawaii. In 1928 a man named Lyle A. Dickey recorded over 115 different Hawaiian figures. Many of the figures came with stories and chants. String figures have been found in almost all of the cultures of the world and new ones continue to be created. Many people remember the games of Cat’s Cradle, Cup and Saucer and Jacob’s Ladder but there are thousands more. Most people no longer remember how to make the string figures. We want to bring back the memories and revive this ancient art.

© 2011-20 Lois & Earl Stokes