Best of HONOLULU Family 2020: LEARN

Our readers’ and editors’ picks for the best places and ways for kids to learn in Honolulu.

Businesses may be temporarily closed because of COVID-19. Check with each winner for reopening plans.

Best Place for Music Lessons




Roy Sakuma ʻUkulele Studios

His name is synonymous with the ʻukulele. Roy Sakuma, a master ʻukulele player himself, opened his studios in 1974 and now teaches keiki and adults in four locations on Oʻahu. ʻUke virtuosos Jake Shimabukuro and Aidan James, as well as several generations of musicians, have Sakuma to thank for the start of their fast-flying fingers and careers. The former students are top billing at the ʻUkulele Festival Hawaiʻi, held every summer Kapiʻolani Park Bandstand in Waikīkī. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 50th anniversary event this year. We can’t wait to celebrate next year, which will mark five decades of showcasing top musicians, including falsetto singer Radiate Helm and more than 700 keiki from the studios. We love that the festival is well-orchestrated—right down to the activity stations, inflatable bouncers and snacks provided to keep young musicians busy before and after performing onstage.—Cathy Cruz-George

Multiple locations.

Finalist: Renee’s Music Studio. 765 Amana St., Suite 203, (808) 741-9088.


Best Mommy-And-Me Yoga Classes




Purple Yoga

Being a new mom usually means “self-care” takes a back seat. But at Purple Yoga, mommy time comes first. Every Tuesday features a grounding yoga session for both mommy and baby designed to stretch and strengthen the postpartum body, followed by tummy time and a massage for baby, blissfully led by mom-of-three and master yogi Cathy Louis Broda.—Suzanne Sasaki

Purple Yoga, Eaton Square, 438 Hobron Lane, Suite 312, (808) 944-8585.


Best Way to Get Advice from a Master Gardener




Second Saturday at the Garden

Don’t know the difference between spinach and squash? Take your baby green thumbs to the Second Saturday at the Garden event at the O‘ahu Urban Garden Center. Volunteers and master gardeners—those who have training in horticulture and sustainable practices as part of a nationally recognized program—hold demonstrations and activities every second Saturday from February through October, and answer any questions you may have. Many workshops are free and include take-home samples. Make sure to save some time for the kids to run through the hedge maze and children’s area with its pizza, animal, sensory and butterfly gardens.—Katrina Valcourt

955 Kamehameha Highway, Pearl City, (808) 453-6050.





Best Art Lessons

WINNER: Honolulu Museum of Art. 900 S. King St., (808) 532-8700,

Finalist: Art Explorium. 1142 Koko Head Ave., (808) 312-4316,


Best Dance Classes

WINNER: Pas De Deux. 94-404 Ukeʻe St., Suite A, Waipahu, (808) 671-0350.

Finalist: 24-7 Danceforce. Windward Mall, 46-056 Kamehameha Highway, Kāneʻohe, (808) 913-4904.


Best Tutoring Service

WINNER: Kumon. Multiple locations.

Finalist: Sylvan Learning Center. Multiple locations.


Best After-School Enrichment Program

WINNER: YMCA Honolulu. Multiple location.

Finalist: Kamaʻāina Kids. (808) 262-4538.


Best Swim Lessons

WINNER: Lēʻahi Swim School. Multiple locations.

Finalist: YMCA of Honolulu. Multiple locations.


Best Sports League for Young Players

WINNER: i9 Sports. Multiple locations.

Finalist: AYSO. Multiple locations.


Best Summer Program

WINNER: YMCA of Honolulu. Multiple locations.

Finalist: City & County of Honolulu Summer Fun. Multiple locations.