Grass skirts are worn by many different tropical peoples all over the world, including the Polynesians and the Zulu tribes of Africa. Grass skirts are most commonly associated with Hawaiian hula dancing. Dressing up in another culture's signature costume is an excellent way for kids to learn about other cultures.
The first documented existence of grass skirts used in hula dancing was made during the 1700s by Captain Cook, during his explorations in the South Pacific. Most historians, however, believe that hula and grass skirts predate this documentation by many years. Hula dancing was done as a ritual and celebration by the Polynesians of Hawaii. Both men and women wore hula skirts during these rituals. Hula skirts were traditionally made of ti leaves, a plant indigenous to Hawaii. Modern grass skirts are now made of different materials, due to the decrease in the abundance of ti.
Traditional grass skirts are made of dried grass that is cut to just above the ankles. Authentic grass skirts will be brown or green, although occasionally some skirts are coloured festively with natural dyes. Typically these skirts are made of dried grasses or leaves, including raffia and hala leaves. Traditional skirts for kids can be worn for hula dancing classes or performances or to encourage exploration of Polynesian culture. Grass skirts for children can be ordered online or purchased at Polynesian culture stores.
Costume grass skirts for kids usually come in luau or hula dancer packages that also include artificial floral leis and wristbands. These costumes come with grass skirts made of traditional natural fibres or the more economical skirts made of artificial or plastic materials. The artificial skirts are usually green, while the traditional natural skirts will be brown, much like real grass skirts worn by the Polynesian people. Children's grass skirt costumes will be tailored to be shorter with a smaller waist to accommodate a child's body and are available for many different age groups.
Grass skirts for kids can also be made at home. This will allow you to make the waist the perfect size and customise the length specifically for your child. Homemade grass skirts can be as traditional or as festive as you like. Raffia is a natural fibre that can be purchased at most craft stores. Sew strips of raffia to an elastic waistband to create an authentic-looking grass skirt. Grass skirts for kids can also be made at home by attaching streamers or crepe paper to a waistband, for a fun and festive look.