easter island

The Moai of Easter Island…or forklifts from eBay

This week we took a long flight to Easter Island to learn all about the stone statues, or Moai, that live there! We started off figuring out how in the world one would get there both as an explorer in days of old and as a modern traveler.  We discussed the rich history and mystery of Easter Island and talked about the culture of Rapa Nui and the creation of the Moai. We listened to Polynesian music and brainstormed ideas on how the islanders might have been able to move these enormous statues across the island. My favorite hypothesis was from the child who thought perhaps the Rapa Nuians ordered forklifts off of eBay.

Then, while listening to some Polynesian music (which later spurred an impromptu breakdancing performance), each child was given a slab of clay to mold their own version of a Moai. It’s utterly amazing what these creative, artistic and utterly wonderful children came up with.


We had the Moai twins…









An incredibly kissable Moai…

A small, rather pensive looking Moai…

The Moai who seems to have lost in a boxing match…

And the Moai who, for some reason, reminds me of Sylvester Stallone…


A few fun facts about Easter Island…

  • Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is a Polynesian island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean 2,180 miles west of Chile
  • Easter Island is claimed to be “the most remote inhabited island in the world”.
  • A total of 887 monolithic stone statues, called Moai, stand on the island.
  • The Moai were carved out of volcanic ash and stone inside the extinct volcano Rano Raraku.
  • The statues were carved with hand chisels and a single Moai took a team of 5-6 men approximately one year to complete
  • It is still not known how the Easter Islanders were able to move the Moai from the quarry to their final locations. Legend says they walked.
  • The average Moai weighs 14 tons and stands 13 feet tall and was created between 1250-1500 A.D.

For some super-fun Rapa Nuian fun at home, PBS’s “Nova” aired an amazing program called “Secrets of Lost Empires II: Easter Island” which offers a wonderful introduction to Easter Island and tries to solve the mystery of how the Moai were moved across the island from the quarry to their final locations. Look for it at your local video store or Netflix! Also, Deborah Underwood has written a great children’s book about Easter Island called Wonders of the World: The Easter Island Statues. Look for it and other books on this amazing island at your local library!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s