Keiki Con Report 2016
This year was my son’s 3rd time going to a convention. Normally, it’s a bit stressful there are a lot of people there and so many cosplayers he gets a little overwhelmed. Of course, he is still a preschooler so it’s only natural for him to feel this way. Although, the conventions here in Hawaiʻi are laid back and do not draw the same numbers that bigger conventions do it can be a scary situation for a child.
As such, I almost always hesitate to go to a convention based upon my son’s reactions. I try to go on the last day of the convention because it is normally a slow day. Some conventions even have kids activities for the little one before 5 but the majority of them do not. Which as a parent I find really frustrating. I want to share my love of some fandoms and even some panels but often times these things are really not kid friendly. I want to find a convention that really has things for kids. A whole play area to let them run around in a safe place. Kids have a lot of energy and get worked up with all the people, sights, and sounds. If there was truly an area that was kid friendly, with panels geared at kids. Panels that are fun and incorporate fandom kids games, and maybe even a kids comic library I would be down for that! Hey convention leaders wanna hire me? I have tons of ideas!
It can be really difficult as a parent to sit at panels with a little one. The last convention my son sang the Imperial March during a lot of the panel. We were all the way in the back so thankfully only a few in the back could hear him and chuckle at his adorable singing voice. Yet, again this is not the ideal situation. As much as it is awesome to go to a convention without my son it often becomes expensive. I have to pay for my tickets, parking, lunch, photo passes or merch and then childcare for the day which is always more expensive than the entrance to the con. In reality, I know that it is not always feasible to have a space for children. Conventions are not targeted at kids and some families simply suck up the extra cost or don’t go until their children are much older. I wish I could get on a panel of a convention and just offer a space with events all day for little ones to enjoy. Even a space with the overly tired ones could come and relax like the child room at Disneyland. A quiet space to chill out and maybe take a much-needed nap.
I was looking up information about Comic Con Honolulu on their facebook page. During my search, I saw Comic Con Honolulu was going to be at Keiki Con.
Just in case you are not aware keiki is Hawaiian for children.
Thinking to myself what is this one-day event I went and checked it out right away. Keiki Con is a family friendly “convention” held every year. It is not a traditional convention the sense that there are panels and celebrity guests. Rather, it is outside with tons of activities for the kids. There was balloon artists, bounce castles, a mobile gaming bus, a cosplay contest for kids 17 and under, and so much food. Each booth had giveaways hosted throughout the day. This was just the kind of convention I was looking for to keep my child entertained and tired by the time we came home.
Keiki Con had activities mostly outside but for the more fragile things they had an indoor space in the community center. The Hawaii Lego League was on hand as they are at many conventions with a building table. I couldn’t get my little guy away from the table, and I’m really thrilled I found a Lego school to join and let him build every week. There were music events throughout the day to include some Taiko and the kids all got a chance to learn a few Taiko rhythms.
I’ll report on that later!
Local artists from Mana Comics and more were insides. There were children’s drawing tables and free art crafts. A totally sweet Instagram spot that I missed a chance to snap a photo at and so much children geared merchdise it was a toy paradise. The Honolulu Zoo was there to quiz kids about the animals in the zoo and even held a scavenger hunt to encourage kids to learn more about zoölogy.
There was so much there that I really found this is the kind of convention I’d love to see happen in other places. It still had a fair amount of geeky activities mixed perfectly with STEM learning. I’m only sad I will get one more chance to attend before we leave Hawaiʻi for good. I found Keiki Con to be the perfect way to introduce your little one to a convention, with all the fun and none of the crazy. Except for perhaps that pre-naptime meltdown. That’s going to happen no matter what. To top all of this Keiki Con is free! So, there is no downside except that your little one might not want to go into the bounce castles. It was a well-organized convention and the only downside, like everywhere else on Oʻahu, is the parking situation was just terrible. I had to wait for someone to leave to find parking. I think if there was a Keiki Con on the mainland like this it would go off with a hit, ample parking a must!
I made a video of the day over on my youtube account. Let me know what you think! It has highlights of the entire day!
Do you have kids conventions in your area? Are you a parent and wish there were more kid friendly comic conventions?