· For those with really want to be creative – create a Ramadan diorama. Use a box (shoe box or larger) and have your child create a scene or scenes that represents what Ramadan means to them. They can use construction paper, markers, crayons and any other creative materials to make this project. Just have your child draw/create any background scene on the back of the box with construction paper or markers/crayons. Then, arrange items in the box (scenes / items representing Ramadan) and glue them to the box. Supplies needed – paper and a printer (if you desire). Crayons and/or markers; paste or glue; tape; pipe cleaners; cotton balls, anything you can think of!
· Create a Ramadan Wind Sock – just for fun! Supplies needed: A cylindrical cardboard oatmeal box, construction paper, crepe paper streamers, glue, string, scissors, hole punch. Cut the bottom off a cylindrical cardboard oatmeal box. Cover the box with construction paper (any colors you like). Write on the box “Welcome Ramadan” or “Ramadan” or “Blessed Ramadan” or any other saying you would like. Cut some crepe paper streamers and glue or staple them to one end of the wind sock. Punch four holes along the top of the wind sock. Cut two pieces of string about a foot long. Tie the strings to the wind sock (tie the opposite ends of a string to holes on opposite sides of the cylinder). Tie a longer piece of string to the smaller pieces – you’ll hang the wind sock from this piece of string. Hang your wind sock from your window or porch. Obviously, you can also do this for Eid.
· Have your child create their own Ramadan book. You can use construction paper or plain paper 8 1/2 x 11. On each page draw/print out items related to Ramadan – such as “Surah’s I have learned” and “Hadith I have learned” and “Good Deeds I have done.” You can have them do this project each year so they can remember the milestones they have reached each year. I would also recommend having a page regarding things they would like to improve/work on in the coming year as well
Create a scrapbook to remember how this Ramadan is spent (A Ramadan Memory Book) and their memories of this Ramadan. Your children can make one to write or if you child is younger, you can write it down for them and allow them to decorate it or draw pictures to correspond with what is written. Your child can put things in there such as who they broke fast with (if you had visitors or if you went to the Masjid), what types of charity they made (helping others, being nicer to siblings, etc), things/lessons they learned this Ramadan, things they are trying to improve, etc.. You can also put things such as Duas I have made, Qur’an I have learned, etc. The older the child, the more intricate the book. For younger children – you can work to help them understand the concepts and then have them tell you what to write. Then, you can allow your child to decorate the book.
· Make a moon chart – have your child look at the moon each night and draw the way it looks on that day. This way, they can be more familiar with the lunar cycle and we can explain to them how the Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon and why – this could be tailored for any age group (I think). I am intending to do this, insha’Allah and I intend to also print out a sample chart of how the lunar cycle looks so we can keep track of it.
· Create an “I can” scrapbook. Materials needed – scrapbook or papers stapled together to form a scrapbook, samples of your child’s artwork, glue. As your child has mastered skills this year, you can put it in their “I can” scrapbook. For example, label one page “I can paint” and glue a picture that they have painted on this page. Glue in other samples such as “I can color,” I can cut,” “I know my shapes,” etc. Of course – for older children you can write “I can write Arabic” or “I learned Surat An-Nas,” etc.This is a way to give them a sense of accomplishment for the things they have learned and a way that you can teach them to be thankful to Allah for the knowledge He has given them. You can use verses from the Qur’an or Hadith to show that Allah gives us knowledge.
· For ages 3-9 Hadith Flower Pot – You’ll need colored construction paper, hadith printed on white paper. Cut a flower pot design out of construction paper. Make stems out of green construction paper. Make flower designs out of assorted colored construction paper. Glue stems to pot and flowers to stems. I personally would glue the whole thing to a nice colored constructoin paper. Write a hadith onto a white piece of paper and glue it onto the pot and decorate as desired. Each week you can create a new pot featuring a new hadith you want your child to memorize. Place the paper where your child will see it and remind them how the hadith is stated.
· For ages 6-12 Another creative way to display a hadith your child is attempting to learn – create a hanging display out of craft sticks, glue, construction paper, markers and ribbon or yarn. Have the children (for younger children you can write it yourself) write the hadith onto wooden craft sticks (recommend a thin point Sharpie). Cut a section of construction paper to lay the sticks on (needs to be large enough to lay out all the sticks). Then, glue the sticks (in order) onto the construction paper. Have the children use markers/crayon/glitter/stickers/etc., to decorate any paper that is not covered by the sticks. Then, punch two holes at the top of the paper and tie with ribbon to hang whereever you would like. Let the project dry completely and then enjoy!
· For ages 4-8. Another creative way to display a hadith your child is attempting to learn – create a chalkboard out of craft sticks, glue, construction paper, markers/crayons, small magnet. Write the hadith on a rectangle of white paper. Cut the black construction paper into a larger rectangle. Give each child two jumbo craft sticks, two craft sticks and a piece of black construction paper. Glue the craft sticks to teh edge of the paper. Give each child a piece of the white paper with the hadith written on it. Have them color it and glue it to the black construction paper. Glue the small magnet to the back of the construction paper. After the glue has dried, hang the chalkboard onto the refrigerator.
· Help your child learn about the moon’s phases and the Islamic Calendar. This will help them learn about how the Islamic calendar is determined. Here are some links:
· If your child is attempting to fast this Ramadan, you could create a Fasting chart to chart the times each day during the month that they fasted and when they broke their fast. This could give them a sense of accomplishment and they could make comparisons between this year and how well they do for years in the future, insha’Allah. All you need to do is print off a chart similar to the calendar where they specifically mark whether they fasted that day or not and when they broke fast.
· Lesson – – with older children – – What is fasting? Do people of other religions fast? What is the difference? (method of fasting / reason for fasting / importance of fasting / length of the fast / etc.)
· Have your child list things they can do during Ramadan to benefit their fast (i.e., pray more, more dua, help others, etc.)
· Explain how fasting is/isn’t accepted – i.e., Give examples from Qur’an & Sunnah – for example, “Reported by Abu Hurairah (raa) the Messenger of Allah, (saas), said: “He who does not stop from false talk or stop from acting upon false talk, Allah will have no need that he abstain from his food and drink.” (Bukhari) reported by Abu Hurairah (raa) the Messenger of Allah, (saas), said: “He who does not stop from false talk or stop from acting upon false talk, Allah will have no need that he abstain from his food and drink.” (Bukhari)” I had read recently an article that mentioned a Hadith which relates that a woman was yelling at her servant (or something similar) and the Prophet (saw) sent her food. When she said she was fasting, he told her to eat because her behavior was invalidating the fast? I’m trying to find the Hadith or the article but haven’t been successful yet.
· Want to teach your children about nutrition? Discuss with your children or list items that are good foods to eat for suhoor and for breaking fast to help with fasting. Which are not? Why? Also give historical examples – such as eating dates to break the fast.
· Lesson – for older children – what benefits can you list for fasting during the month of Ramadan – for individuals and for the society. Use Hadith/Qur’an to help them find other benefits
· Mosque craft – print out a black and white picture of a mosque drawing (I have several and will post them to the files section when I get a chance, insha’Allah). You can do this craft in a variety of ways – 1. Sand art – color sand with food coloring or use sand as-is. When dry, put glue on the picture where you want the sand to stick and sprinkle sand over the picture. Shake off excess sand and reapply where needed. 2. Coloring – have the child use crayons or markers to color the mosque picture. 3. Use glue and any beans/macaroni/rice and have your child put glue on the picture and then have them put the materials where they would like. This activity is just to get you started on discussing what is a mosque? what do you do at the mosque? etc., It helps them become familiar with what mosques look like. Remember to mention the parts of the mosque – such as minbar and minaret, if applicable.
· If you child is learning how to pray – have them “teach” you how to do it – or teach another person – younger sibling or friend. Sometimes the best way to learn is to teach others. You could also do this for wudhu. Here are some websites showing how to pray:
· Create your own mosque using boxes and other containers. Your child can use many items including glue, tape, construction paper, markers/crayon, glitter, etc. to make their mosque unique. If your child is not familiar with the mosque – show them several pictures of mosques or go on the internet and show them mosques so they get an idea how a mosque looks different from other buildings and houses of worship.
· I have a friend that makes a gingerbread mosque each year with her children. They really enjoy it!
· Create a replica of a Masjid. While this paper craft is made to look like the Taj Mahal, it looks like a good replica for a Masjid as well.
· I don’t know about everyone else – but I find it truly amazing how we can tell time by the placement of the sun. The wonders of Allah’s creation never cease. You can create a sundial to teach your child about the prayer times and how the Sahabah used to know when to pray (when they didn’t have watches). Also, you can use this to know when it is time to break fast, insha’Allah.
· Create a mini Qur’an book that the children can decorate themselves. I am thinking of doing this with my girls and insha’Allah I will try to provide a template when I get an opportunity. It will just be a booklet printed on several 8 1/2 x 11 pages folded over and put together. I don’t know if nice Arabic art is available on the net – I will have to see. What I am thinking is to have the short Surahs written on one side in Arabic text and in English text on the other side. I imagine having Arabic decorative art on the outsides of the page that my children can color nicely and decorate themselves. Then we will staple or nicely put the book together with ribbon and we will learn out of it during Ramadan, insha’Allah. This way, they feel as though it is their special Qur’an book.
· If you child knows some of the Qur’an, have them teach it to someone else – a younger sibling – a friend. Teach them the excellence of teaching others the Qur’an.
CHARITY AND MODEL BEHAVIORS
· Find elders in your community and have your children spend special time with them this Ramadan.
· Make crafts or homemade gifts to give to others. We usually make craft items as part of our learning – but this time make it with a goal in mind – to share with others.
· Help make the iftar meal when people come to break fast at your home or in the Masjid.
· If you do not wish to have your child cook, simply have them decorate a bag/container and then put dates in it. They can give it to someone and ask them to break their fast with them. Show them the blessing of helping others break their fast – in action.
· Help put together easy snacks for others. I have even heard of recipes where you can put the ingredients in a bag/bottle and then write the recipe down and give it as a gift for an easy to make food for people’s iftar or suhoor. For example, a recipe for bran muffins or something similar.
· If your child has outgrown their toys or if they just have too many, have them pick out a few toys that they are willing to share with others and have them give it to another child who is less fortunate. Perhaps your mosque could set these aside a box where a mother can discretely look through them if she is needy and pick a toy for her child. It would be even better if you go and purchase a new item and do this. It does not need to be toys either – you could also set aside food items for those who are in need. This could be your way of showing your family charity in action.
· Lesson – – List with your child what types of things can be a charity. For younger children you may have to explain it more and perhaps call it “being nice to others” if they don’t understand the concept of charity. After you list them together, show them other things that are considered charity using Qur’an and Hadith (removing harms from the road, a smile, a date, etc.). This should expand their understanding of what charity really is according to Islam.
· Lesson – – for older children – – Discuss why we give zakat and what are its benefits to society as a whole. Compare and contrast a society that uses Zakat as a system and one that does not. Discuss how it helps and what purpose it serves in the community. Since I personally don’t know of a society that truly implements this system (as it was done during the time of the Prophet (saw)) – I would suggest looking through historical references in the Qur’an, Sunnah and any other historical texts that would help you see how it worked and how it benefited the society.
· For ages 5-9. Helping Envelope. To get your child in the spirit of helping others – – you’ll need: an envelope, colored construction paper, scissors, stickers/crayons/markers, ribbon, buttons, small magnet. Cut construction paper into lengthwise half-inch strips. Give each child several construction paper strips and help them write down ways in which they can help their family (wash dishes, set the table, put away toys, etc.). Decorate the envelope as desired. Glue a small magnet on the back of the envelope to hang on the refrigerator. Tell the children to give the envelope to their family and allow a family member to draw a strip whenever they need help – then the child will fulfill the need, insha’Allah.
· To give your child a more interesting way to learn types of charity, trace their footprints onto different colored construction paper or have them do it themselves. Then, have them cut out the footprints. On each footprint, put a work of charity that a Muslim can do for one another (i.e., feed the poor, remove a harm, etc.,). Then, place the footprints on the wall in a walking pattern. Above the footprints write on a piece of construction paper “Follow the example of the Prophet Muhammad (saw). . .”
· Help your child keep track of their good deeds: http://www.abcteach.com/MonthtoMonth/Holidays/ramadan_cards.htm
· Help your child develop a Personal Plan for Ramadan: http://www.soundvision.com/Info/education/development/ramadanplan.asp
· Think of behaviors you would like to see your child improve on (or get together with the child to discuss which behaviors they would like to improve) and make a list. Then, from that list – make a chart to track when they have improved in their behavior. Thus, if they don’t like to help clean up, put up a star on the chart whenever they help clean without too much coaxing. Or, if they don’t like to share, put a star on the chart, etc. Then, each time they do these activities, you can stress how Allah will reward them, insha’Allah, for doing these things and for making an effort to improve themselves.
· I know lots of parents (myself included) who often forget to use praise for our children often. For whatever reason, stress, our demanding schedules, etc., we forget. Make a chart to show when you remember to use positive reinforcement with your children. This is a way to help improve ourselves and our relationships with our children and we can discuss this chart with our children to show them the importance Islam has put on love and kindness. Perhaps we can start some good habits from this, insha’Allah.
· Not too long ago I was having problems with my daughter listening to me. I created positive reinforcement cards (a.k.a. love coupons). They are small cards (index card size or smaller) that I would give her when she would really amaze me with her good behavior. For example she would clean her room without moaning and groaning or help her sister when her sister was hurt. On each card (coupon), I put things that I was willing to do with her anyway as a prize – such as “Read a story with mommy” or “Family Game Night” or “go for a walk” or “go to the park”. Then, whenever I saw her acting really well – I would tell her she could have a card. Then, when we had a chance that week – we would do whatever was written on the card as a reward. She never expected these cards, but she fully enjoyed redeeming them and her behavior improved (a lot of times children just need us to notice them when they are being good but with housework, other children, etc., it can be hard). This could be a good way to get our children on the path to improving their behavior with a little help and hopefully it will be fun for all involved.
· Thankfulness Project – Print off leaves or any other shape you prefer to use. Each night at dinner – or perhaps after dinner – have everyone in the family write down on a leaf something they are thankful for. Put the leaves in a basket near the table so you can do the same each night of Ramadan. After Ramadan – the whole family can gather together to look over the leaves and relive the memories of what they had written down. This would provide a good discussion on those who are below us – meaning those who do not have all that we have in our lives. To take it even farther – you could try to think as a family how you could share these Blessings from Allah with others.
· Since Ramadan is a time to remember Allah’s blessings, sharing them with others and being thankful – why don’t you have your children write a note or make a craft and give it to someone special in their lives. If you write a note – if they are young, have them tell you why they are thankful for knowing this person. If they are older – have them make the note/card themselves. Too often we pass up chances to thank people for sharing their lives with us and sharing this beautiful religion of ours. This is also a reminder to ourselves – let people know how much knowing them has added to your life – you will be glad you did!
· Since Ramadan is also a time when we try our best to repent and seek Allah’s forgiveness, teach your child to seek forgiveness from others, as well as Allah. If they have done something wrong – now might be a good time to ask for forgiveness. Have them write up a card or just simply do something nice for the other person involved (for example a Sister or a friend whose toy they had broken). Try your best to help the child find ways to make amends for the situation and teach them the value of “owning up” to one’s mistakes and asking for Forgiveness.
· Have a talk with your child – discuss with them good behaviors and bad behaviors. Ask them what they would improve about themselves and why (for example, share my toys with my Sister). You can set up a chart to see how they progress during Ramadan. Also, you can look through history (Qur’an & Sunnah & Historical stories) to see examples of people who had the same problem and how them overcame it. Discuss with them how they can improve.
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become pious.” (2:183)