Category Archives: Learning

Ed’s Note: Welcome Back to School

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Salam Aleykum Sisters!

After a summer break the team at Muslimmoms.ca are raring to get back to sharing their tips, tricks and experiences with you all. For the month of August we are very excited to be exploring ‘Back to School Theme! We have quite a number articles coming your way this month and we’re sure you’ll find them helpful as you prepare your little ones (and yourselves) for school.

Keeping Organized

We know that summer is not yet over, but we do want to help make that transition from summer chaos to school routine as easy and painless as possible. One great article we will have is about tips for keeping your children organized. This will be very important for making your life easier!

The long lost of art of Penmanship and its importance in our times will be talked about as well!

Keeping Educated

Choosing the right school for your child is the first step in a great education. It is important that you have the right knowledge to choose. Will you enroll your child in public school? Private school? Islamic school? Home school? Whichever you choose you should know the pros and cons of each and we are happy to help you with that.

We are excited to offer tips for how to help your child study at home. There is often a disconnect in the studying and learning that takes place in school and what continues at home. For your child to reach their full potential we need to lessen that gap.

Learning isn’t just for children. If you are a mom going back to school, we have some great advice and tips to help you on your journey as well.

Keeping Healthy

A healthy diet is vital for your child’s growth and development. We know packing a lunch every day can be tricky so we have compiled some ideas to help keep your creative juices flowing.

Being healthy means more than just food. It is emotional and mental health as well, we’ll tackle the issue of bullying at school as well.

Keeping Busy

We know that you’ll never be bored but on the off chance you have extra time, we do have some great ideas for how to keep busy while children are back in school.

 

The Muslimmoms.ca Team would like to wish all students a blessed, educational and wonderful school year!

Grow Your Own Vegetable – II

By Sana Athar

Grow your own vegetables

Continuing our gardening series, today we will focus on five more veggies and herbs that you can grow in your backyard.

Lettuce

This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Days to maturity tend to be short. Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows well in the spring and fall in most areas. Lettuce seedlings will even tolerate a light frost. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date for earliest crop. Harden off seedlings for about one week, and transplant outside between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost.

Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate. Planning your garden so that lettuce will be in the shade of taller plants, such as tomatoes or sweet corn, in the heat of the summer, may reduce bolting.

Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the centre leaves can continue to grow. Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday. As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground. It’s best to harvest in the morning before leaves have been exposed to sun.

Grow Your Own Lettuce

Mint

Mint is a perennial with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has a fruity, aromatic taste. The mint family has many varieties, but it will take over your garden,so be careful where you plant it.For growing outdoors, plant one or two purchased plants (or one or two cuttings from a friend) about 2 feet apart in moist soil. One or two plants will easily cover the ground. Mint should grow to be 1 or 2 feet tall. In the garden, plant mint near cabbage and tomatoes.If you don’t want an entire bed of mint, buy some plants or take some cuttings from a friend and plant them in containers filled with potting mix enriched with compost. Remember to keep the plants in a sunny spot.

Minimal care is needed for mint. For outdoor plants, use a light mulch. This will help keep the soil moist and keep the leaves clean. For indoor plants, be sure to water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Right before flowering, cut the stems 1 inch from the ground. You can harvest one mint plant 2-3 times in one growing season. You can also just pick the leaves as you need them. You can also grow the plants indoors for fresh leaves throughout the winter.

Onion

Onions are a cold-season crop, easy to grow because of their hardiness.Onions grow well on raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inches high. Select a location with full sun where your onions won’t be shaded by other plants.Onion seeds are short-lived. If planting seeds indoors, start with fresh seeds each year. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting.

Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more. Cut or pull any onions that send up flower stalks; this means that the onions have “bolted” and are done. Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. Mature onions may spoil in fall weather.

Grow your own peas

Peas

Peas are a cool-season crop, and come in three separate varieties : Sweet peas, Snow peas and Snap peas. To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil,and mulch well. Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F (7 degree C). Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced. Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.

Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then. Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.

Grow your own bell pepper

Pepper

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date. After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors.

Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary. For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size. The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the sweeter they become and the greater their Vitamin C content. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.

Stay tuned for the third and last part of our gardening series. We hope it starts you on your gardening journey and you can enjoy the fresh, green right from your own garden!

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Images: 123RF

How to Keep Your Kids Busy During the Summer

By Rahila Ovais

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As the end of the school years is fast approaching us, I bet most moms are fretting already about how to keep their kids busy during summer vacations; especially if you don’t have any plans to go out of town during this time.  Since this year’s summer vacation will start in the midst of Ramadan, it presents us with an excellent opportunity to get the kids to brush up on their Islamic studies. Besides reciting Quran everyday as part of their Ramadan activities they can also

  • Memorize a new surah a week
  • Learn a new duaa a week
  • Learn the 99 names of Allah
  • Read a new story of a Prophet a day
  • Read a chapter a day of Prophet Muhammad’s life story
  • Check out Sukainaz CraZy Creations for some fun Islamic arts and crafts

 

At the end of Ramadan there will of course be Eid parties and get-togethers with family and friends, leaving us with lots of time to enjoy the rest of the summer;

  • Visit a local farm for berry picking and other adventures like corn maze, farmer’s market etc.
  • When the heat is on, there is nothing better than to visit a water park/splash pad or hit the beach or go swimming at your local pool.
  • Have a picnic or two; you don’t even have to go too far.  Little kids would be happy to have a small picnic in their own backyard.
  • Take the kids to a zoo.
  • Be a tourist in your own town and visit a historical site or visit a public garden or take advantage of museum discounts.
  • There is lots happening in the city during summer; attend a free event or go to the most popular summer festivals or check out a neighborhood festival.
  • Watch a movie under the stars

Check out more summer activities ideas here: http://muslimmoms.ca/10-fun-and-frugal-summer-activities-for-kids/

About the Author

Rahila Ovais is a mother to four ranging from 20 to 5 years old. She’s called Jeddah, KSA, where she was born and Karachi, Pakistan, where she was brought up, her homes before moving to Toronto twenty years ago. She is also a very opinionated person who has a hard time keeping her thoughts to herself. You can follow her on Facebook: HijabiMommy.

Grow Your Own Vegetables I

By Sana Athar

Grow your own vegetable garden

With the weather clearing up and the sun out longer, many aspiring gardeners start feeling overwhelmed with questions with no one to answer them. Where and how to start? What to do? How to plant? How much sunlight is required? When is the planting season and when is the harvesting season? In this four part series, we will be covering how to cultivate your own vegetable garden.

Get started

First and foremost we need to know where we want to plant our vegetables. Except few vegetables like lettuce and spinach, most require almost six hrs of sunlight. A south facing location is serves best in this case. Before planting, fill your garden with at least 3-8 cm of compost. The soil in the vegetable bed should be loose, be easy to turn over and dig. Vegetables need daily watering when at the seedling stage. Mulch helps retain moisture, encourages earthworms and fosters microbial activity in the soil. Crop rotation is very important too. Don’t plant the same thing (or a related plant) in the same spot two years in a row as plants from same family are vulnerable to disease and insects. To make free fertilizer collect leaves in the fall. Place them in a thick layer all over the garden and then let the worms do the work of turning them into leaf mulch. Start from a small garden. Each plant has a different set of timings for planting. Vegetables and herbs that are easy to grow and maintain are tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans , radishes, lettuces, green onions, cilantro and mint.

Green Beans 

Pole and bush beans (more commonly called green beans) are a tender vegetable and a great addition to any garden, great eaten fresh off the plant or incorporated into a recipe. Pole beans will grow in a climbing vine and require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet but do not require support.

Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting. Seeds can be sown outdoors any time after last spring frost that is end of April. For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every two weeks. Water regularly, from start of pod to set. Water on sunny days so foliage will not remain soaked. Beans are picked at an immature stage, when the seeds inside have not yet fully developed. Look for firm, sizeable pods and snap or cut off the plant. Do not tear the plant. The plant is ready to harvest from mid-June to mid-November.

grow your own herbs

Cilantro

Coriander/cilantro is a fast-growing, aromatic herb that grows in the cooler weather of spring and fall. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander. Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (so it is past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavour.It is best to choose a sunny site that will allow cilantro to self-seed as it is ought to do. Plant in an herb garden or the corner of a vegetable garden. When the weather gets warm, the plant will quickly finish its life cycle and send up a long stalk which will produce blossoms and later seeds. Little plants will sprout during the season and the next spring. Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil.

It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly throughout the growing season. They require about an inch of water per week for best growth. Once the plants are established, they do not need as much water. Keep them moist, but be careful not to overwater them. Harvest while it is low. When the cilantro grows its stalk, cut off the plant after the seeds drop and let it self-seed. The large leaves can be cut individually from the plants. For the smaller leaves, cut them off 1-1/2 to 2 inches above the crown. You can also remove the entire plant at once; however, this means that you will not be able to continue harvesting for the rest of the growing season.

grow cucumber in your garden

Cucumber

Cucumbers are a warm-season vegetable planted outside in the ground no earlier than two weeks after last spring frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost damage. Do not plant outside too soon! For an early crop, start cucumber seeds indoors about 3 weeks before you transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC). Before you plant outside, select a site with full sun exposure. Water consistently; put your finger in the soil and when it is dry past the first joint of your finger, it is time to water. Inconsistent watering leads to bitter-tasting fruit. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the leaves. Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit. Cucumbers are best picked before they seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get yellow. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp.

Next week we’ll be sharing tips on how to plant and harvest lettuce, mint, onions, peas and pepper.

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Islamic Crafts: Time Chart For Salat

By Sukaina Imran

Islamic Crafts: DIY Time Chart For Salat

As a Muslim Mom, I find it tough to bring up my children with Islamic values in a non-Muslim country. Growing up in Pakistan, we never had to make any special efforts to mark our religious occasions like Eid or Ramadhan. After moving to the US and having my daughters, I started putting my education to use at home. I started decorating my house for Eids and doing small craft activities about Islam to engage with my children and help them understand Islam easily and in a fun way. May Allah keep all our kids on the right path. Ameen.

This easy DIY Salat Time Chart is the perfect craft to keep your little ones busy, teach them about Islam and the second pillar of our faith. More than just a crafting activity, it strengthens quality family bonding time as you talk your children through the process, guide them into making the chart and instill in them the significance of all the prayers and their timings.

Things you will need

  • Foam cardboard
  • Label maker
  • Paper clocks (or you can use small disposable plates to make clocks)
  • Glue gun and stick glue
  • Trim of your choice

Instructions

  • Cut your foam cardboard according to the size of your clocks.
  • Print names of Salat with your label maker.
  • Paste everything on your board with glue stick.
  • Use the glue gun to stick trim for a nice border.

 

About the author:

Sukaina Imran is a Montessori trained teacher from Pakistan. She moved to the US after getting married and worked in an Islamic school in Texas for three years. She also has a child psychology diploma. After the birth of her first child, Sukaina quit formal work and decided to put her Montessori teachings to bring her children closer to Islam.

Spring Break Do’s and Don’ts

By Mariam Mazhar 

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March break panic has set in!  Not heading to a sunny beach? Neither am I but I have set up some do’s and don’ts for March break that will not break my bank and will keep the kids busy and happy. If you cannot take days off from work; do not fret. There are many different half and full day camps available depending on your child’s needs and interests. You can choose from sports, arts and crafts, robotics or academic-based camps. But if you are a stay at home mom or you are lucky enough to take some time off here are some good suggestions or you.

Do not wake up early

Your kids have been working hard for past ten weeks (yes it’s been a while since winter holidays ended). They have been occupied with homework assignments,  their music lessons, soccer practices and what not. Let them sleep in and let them rest their tired bodies. Remember a mommy’s body also needs rest so please hide your alarm clocks.

Do not hate the cold

Spring is just around the corner. And even if it doesn’t get warmer over the March break do not hate the last bit of snow, rather enjoy it. Go snow tubing, skiing or skate boarding and end your winter with some wonderful memories. If you find it pricey go tobogganing on the nearby hills.

Do not stay indoors

Your body needs daily dose of exercise. Bundle up your kids and go for a morning walk. Look for early signs of spring, listen to the birds chirping, spot some squirrels under the bush and keep your fingers crossed for some sunshine.

Do not plan something for everyday and every moment

A healthy amount of boredom is okay!  Don’t constantly rush in to alleviate boredom. This will help motivate your child to find new ways to entertain himself.

Do not spend too much

Even if you are not travelling, having kids at home means pizza nights, trips to mall  and march break camps. If you have the luxury of staying home with kids during March break than you can cut that extra amount of spending by cooking with your kids and attending these free fun activities:

Spring Break at Indigo

Indigo|Chapters is holding FREE in-store spring activities across Canada. Daily themes include: Dr. Seuss, Lego, Klutz crafts. (Check chapters.indigo.ca for further details)

Tip: Get there 15 min before start time to get a good spot.

Sugar bush and Maple Syrup Festivals

The trees will soon be tapped and now is the time to layer up and get out seeing how maple syrup is made. Generally a low budget outing.  For more details check out our previous article on the Maple Syrup Festival.

The Home Depot Kids workshops

I don’t know if these are across Canada, so please contact your local store. The kids’ workshops are a great opportunity to build something with your kids. The activities are FREE and usually can be made within an hour.

Toys “R” Us Spring Break events

Toys “R” Us has spring break events. Check online or call before heading the store and some events might not be free or might require to purchase the material or toys.

Public Library

Public libraries will be holding free Spring break events (in Toronto they offer both English and French events). Check your local libraries. Some events might require prior registration.

Public Swim & Skate:

Some community centers offer free swimming and skating (or for a toonie) during March break.

Tip: Go 15 minutes ahead of time to avoid disappointments

Visit your local mall

Another great spot to find free activities is your local mall. Check your local paper or mall websites for daily events including crafts, stage shows, science fun, concerts and more.

Tip: leave your credit cards at home to avoid extra spending

Plan your summer garden

Visit your local nursery or hardware store to buy seeds and required tools. Whether the garden is a large plot in the backyard or a few planting pots off the back deck, give each child an area of responsibility/opportunity. Allow them to plan what they will plant for the growing season.

Movies for cheap

Some cinemas show classics and old children’s movies for toonies. Check cinemas in your city and the screenings available.

Whatever you choose to plan for your kids, make it fun and memorable. After all that’s all that matters.

About the author:

Mariam Mazhar is a teacher by profession, with a passion for kids, cakes and creative writing.

 

Choosing The Right Tablet For Your Child

By Aaisha Zafar Islam

Tablet for Kids

Handheld computing devices have fascinated the tech community for a very long time. While many manufacturers had flirted with the idea of a tablet since early 1990′s, it would be a good two decades before Apple and Steve Jobs’ vision catapulted tablet into the public domain. The first generation iPad was released worldwide in early 2010; in the four years since we have seen tablets literally take over our lives, changing the way our future generations learn and are even babysat!

In our part of the world, tablet technology is all pervasive. There are tablets that meet most budgets, from coveted ‘retina display’ ones to those that are more easy on the wallet. Price points also depend on other factors, including configuration of the device, its model, make and of course which age group it has been manufactured for. So how do you decode the jargon, make sense of the specs and chose which one is right for your child?

According to age

Thanks to smartphones and touch screen devices, our children are exposed to fiddling with screens at a very early age. In some cases, as soon as they have fine-tuned their gross motor skills! As mothers we are often guilty of handing over our phones to soothe a crying child, but does your toddler need a tablet all her own?

If you are in the market for tablets for young kids there are two notable brands that offer a child-friendly ‘tablet’ experience. With a camera, newer versions include wi-fi as well and their prices go upwards of 80 CAD. You might be able to score a good deal at seasonal sales.

One thing to keep in mind with these tablets is that they are all tied up with their own OS and app stores. Unlike grown up tablets, there are no free apps and anything that catches your child’s fancy, or looks like a good learning app that would sustain their interest for long is going to cost.

Then there’s the age factor. Though they list the appropriate ages as 5-9, truth is that even a five year old who has experienced his parent’s tablet, or a smartphone, is going to outgrow it soon.

For young children, tablets cannot be labelled as an essential learning tool. They make a good babysitter and your child might learn some new things. However, at such an early age it is best to limit children’s screen time and not rely overmuch on smart devices.

For older children, they can learn to share screen time on your own tablet, or you can get them their own, but make sure to monitor how much, and how they use technology.

OS and apps

There are two main Operating Systems that most tablets rely on: iOS by Apple and Android by Google.

The iOS is more user-friendly and has a more sleek interface. Then there is the iTunes app store. Just this past June the app store surpassed more than 1.2 million apps with more than 75 billion downloads. Whatever your need, there is sure to be an app for that.

Android, the Google based OS, lacks the polish and finesse offered by iOS, nor is it as user-friendly. However, like most things tech, one learns fast. If you are looking for a more budget friendly tablet, look for an Android based one. Instead of numerical, all versions of Android are named after sweets: it started with Alpha and the newest version is called Kit Kat!

Google Play, Android’s app store currently boasts more than 1.3 million apps available to users, signifying their rapid pace of growth.

Windows has also introduced their versions of tablets based on the Windows 8, however it is yet to gain widespread acceptance with the public. Little public appreciation in turn means a poor choice of apps.

Storage

Space becomes an issue because any and all apps you download are stored on your tablet. You also need space for any media you store on it. The iPad starts with a minimum of 16 GB while Android based tablets can range from 4 GB and upwards.

iPad does not offer any external storage option, you can store your data or pictures on iCloud. There is a minimum available for free but you can increase that space through buying a subscription

Some Android based tablets do offer the capability to extend storage/space through an external drive. If you do not plan to store much data or need that many apps, even a basic 8 GB tablet would serve the purpose.

Storage space is a deciding factor in pricing for tablets, so keep that in mind when searching for yours.

Display, dimensions and weight

The first generation tablets were nearly 10 inches of touchscreen display and weighed around 1.5 pounds. Mini version of the iPad came out three years later, reducing screen size to just under 8 inches and shaving off weight to around 0.7 pounds.

iPad also upped their game with their ‘retina display’ touch screen and ‘air’ versions that pack the same functionality in a lighter, sleeker pack. Of course these frills and fancies come at a higher price.

Android tablets, while adhering to similar screen dimensions, vary in terms of weight, image/display quality as well as how responsive their touch screens are. You get what you pay for; bear that in mind when considering a cheaper tablet. It is better to ‘invest’ in quality. Some cheaper tablets are not as responsive to touch or are prone to ‘freezing’ often. You don’t want that kind of frustrating wait on your hands!

Finally weight. When you look at a handheld device, you prefer something light and easy to hold that would not leave you with a Repetitive Strain Injury! Weight should not be a deciding factor in buying a tablet, but it should surely be considered, particularly when you add a tablet folio, casing etc. for handing it over to your children. Every gram counts!

Price points

As explained above, a lot of factors decide the price point for a tablet, including big brand names. Android tablets are easy on the pocket, but you still want value for your money and for that you will have to spend. Big brands spend big money over research, quality control and value customer satisfaction. When price is a concern, always search for reviews of the tablet you think is best and then decide.

Handheld computing devices are a valuable learning tool, however as parents, we have to make sure that our children are not glued to their screens. Life is the greatest teacher, and our children should be able to experience, learn how to observe and then decide how to act. That is something no app can teach.

 

About the author:

Aaisha Zafar Islam is the executive editor of MuslimMoms.ca and a strong advocate of limiting children’s screen time.

Do your children have a tablet of their own? Or are you considering getting them one? How do you decide how much screen time has been enough for them?

Five Ramadan Activities – A Must For Every Muslim Mom

By Hafsa Taher

ramadan banner

The holiest of months is finally here. Most often, in households with young kids, we find that the little ones are left out of the whole Ramadan experience. They watch their elders and learn from them, but there should be other ways to get them into the spirit of things and more involved in celebrating Ramadan.

It’s not just about abstaining from eating and drinking during daylight; there is so much more to Ramadan. Here are five activities and crafts that can make this Ramadan as memorable for the young ones as for their elders.

Welcome Ramadan

Ramadan preparation for the kids in our house means making a “Welcome Ramadan” banner and ordering a “Welcome Ramadan” chocolate cake. As kids devour the cake, I find it a perfect opportunity to start conversations about what Ramadan means to them. We start with discussing the banner we made and then move on to other topics related to the month.

The best part about this banner is that it is perfect for all ages. The kids can be as creative as they want – or parents can make it as quickly and simply as they want. welcome Ramadan

You can make your own welcome Ramadan banner by downloading this simple template here. You can also download a professionally designed Ramadan Banner by Sakinah Design.

I feel this is really important because you want your child to know that Ramadan and Eid are very special holidays for Muslims just like other non-Muslim holidays are for the other children they know. Take time to decorate and prepare your home for Ramadan and Eid.

Ramadan Calendar

To make each day fun and interesting, make a 30 days calendar, Advent-style. Last year we made 30 paper cones using construction paper and taped them to a poster board. The paper cones were numbered, so on day 1, I would place a task / challenge for my niece to complete or a treat for her.

Ramadan Calendar

Jannah Steps has compiled a list where you can buy one easily or make it yourself.  Here are some Amazing Ramadan Advent Calendar Ideas.

Ramadan Crafts

Download printable and craft activities for kids to do during Ramadan.

MyRamadanFun.com has a great collections of crafts for all ages. If you are a Pinterest-er, you  can follow my Free Printables board.

Good Deeds Jar

Based on your child’s age, brainstorm a list of good deeds they can do. Write them on individual slips of paper – 30 in total. Throw them in a jar, and every day the child picks a good deed to do for that day and one for each of the 29/30 days in Ramadan.

Good Deeds Jar

Good Deeds Jar

Prepare for Eid!

Eid preparation should really be done now and not during the last 10 nights. Decide on what you and family will wear, Eid gifts to buy – get it done now!  Have your children help you make shopping lists, shop and pack gifts. Prophet Mohammed (saws) said, giving gifts increases love. Save something they really want for Eid.

Here are my Top 6 Eid Gift picks.

The Prophet Muhammad (saws) said:

“Upon death, man’s deeds will stop except for three deeds, namely: a continuous charitable fund, endowment or goodwill; knowledge left for people to benefit from; and a pious righteous and God-fearing child who continuously prays to Allah, for the souls of his parents.”

- Muslim

May Allah (SWT) help us raise children who love his deen, who are God-fearing and amongst the leaders of this ummah. Ameen. Wishing you all a productive and blessed Ramadan!

About the author:

Hafsa Taher is the founder of HafsaCreates, an online store for handmade greeting cards, card-making kits and tutorials. Crafting for over 10 years, her goal is to make card making convenient, easy and fun for all. Check out her Ramadan blog at MyRamadanFun. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram.

Do you have some more craft and ideas to involve your little ones in Ramadan festivities? Do share with us on our special Ramadan forum.

7 Ways To Keep Learning Through Vacations

By Mariam Mazhar

Summer is finally here, and so are the much awaited summer holidays. Parents usually have mixed feelings about summer vacations but kids certainly count days for the academic year to end and fun to begin!

This is a tricky time for nervous parents when they take on the challenge of keeping their children physically busy and mentally active during the lazy and hazy days of summer. It is not as hard as it sounds. It just requires some planning, one week of toughness and rest of the seven weeks will go on smooth. Parents just have to be mindful of the fact that it is not just about killing time but about utilizing summer holidays and preventing ‘brain drain’.

Keep Learning…

Your child doesn’t have to fall victim to summer brain drain. You can make an effort to keep his brain engaged during the summer and provide enriching experiences without even trying too hard. Here are a seven easy ways to do that:

Travelling

Are you travelling this summer and anxious because you have young kids? Not to worry at all. You should be glad that you are providing your child with opportunities to study geography, religions and cultures. You can do a whole lesson on Social sciences around it!

Travelling gives children an opportunity to explore different parts of the world or their own country and culture. What they had been reading in books and seeing on TV comes alive for them, so turn it into a productive learning opportunity. Plan trips together, look through maps and google places that you are visiting, estimate distances and mileage and don’t forget keeping a  travel journal.

Discovering nature

No budget for travelling this year? Not to worry. You have a whole world for your kids to explore right in your backyard. Grow fruits, vegetables and all sorts of plantations together. Get them involved in gardening – when they find it has got too tedious since gardening needs patience, get them to at least water the plants to instill responsibility in them.

Looking closely at flowers and drawing them develops the skills of accurately recording and transferring information. Ask them to keep a ‘growth chart’ for plants to track down their growth.

Do not forget all the creepy crawlies and frequent ‘visitors’ to the backyard in the summer! Investigate about the frightful bug found under the rock or the enchanting bird that you saw in the tree. You can do a whole lesson on Life Sciences right in your backyard!

And remember, when you are out and about in the sun, make sure you have proper sun protection on!

Keeping a daily diary

Get them to write at least one daily account of how their day has been. Keeping a record of all the fun activities done during the holidays is purposeful, relevant and a good keepsake too. For young kids it can be a colorful drawing on canvas or chalkboard. Just do not let them detach from the wonderful world of paper and pencil.

Pocket money and math lessons

Giving kids a weekly allowance during the holidays is a great way to teach them money management skills. If you have never done it before, try it this summer. Take your kids to spend their pocket money at the dollar store for new craft supplies or get a treat from the ice cream truck to teach some addition and subtraction on the spot. It gives them hands on experience and makes math a relevant and enjoyable experience.

Grocery shopping

Instead of keeping your kids at home with your spouse or going grocery shopping when kids are busy with their extra-curricular activities elsewhere, take them with you. You will most probably spend double the time and end up buying some not-so-needed items but it will be a good learning experience for them.

Before leaving the house, get them to prepare a grocery list. If they are little older they can make a budget for grocery shopping, estimate prices and help you buy accordingly. You can do a whole lesson on healthy eating right in the grocery store. How’s that?

Catch up with reading 

Reading is a life long passion, make it a part of your daily routine. Assign a special corner in your house for reading.  A special couch or perhaps a new lamp will fascinate them, pull them away from gadgets and closer to books. Keep reading material always available, be it magazines, newspapers or flyers. Take reading outdoors or read in the park. Visit your local library to borrow books. Check out second hand book stores or do a book exchange among your family and friends. Turn it into a fun activity and involve them as well.

Cooking and Science

How about a science lesson right in the kitchen? You can teach them about solids, liquids and gases while baking a cake or while boiling rice! How about adding a math component to it by making some predictions and doing some estimation? Math and science can be so much fun and authentic when done in the kitchen.

A little bit of brain work every day can help retain skills and make next academic year better from day one. It will save them from brain drain and will get them geared up for new educational challenges. Most of all, it will help you remain sane and more in control as a parent!

You can also read through more fun and frugal summer activities here.

About the author:

Mariam Mazhar is the Education contributor at muslimmoms.ca. She is a teacher by profession who contrives ways to stimulate her students’ learning during the school year and her own kids’ during the summer holidays

Enjoy your summer and don’t forget to share with us how you have been doing!

Reading – My Passion

By Aruj Sipra

read

Image : www.broadheath.coventry.sch.uk/

 

 “Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”

- Maya Angelou

When you think about Reading, what comes to  your mind? For me, it’s more than just reading books, it is like opening a door to allow in more light.  Reading is an important requirement for gaining wisdom and knowledge. Reading certainly helps to develop our power to imagine, broaden our intellectual horizon and helps us develop learning skills. Reading a written subject and developing an understanding of it is a skill that is cultivated over time. It helps to makes a personality more cultured.

Born into a family that loves reading and who are literally walking, talking encyclopedias, I acknowledge that reading is in my blood. It became a joke in the family that “if somebody wants to meet my father or uncles, he would probably need a full day to enjoy their company, not just few hours.” Why is that? You must be wondering! The reason is they are jam-packed with not just worldly knowledge but with lots of practical experiences in life and they all yearn for sharing them. One has to have a genuine excuse to leave early.