Tag Archives: Learning

5 Tips for Students Fasting

By Mona Ismaeil

girl-998988_960_720

Ramadan is just around the corner and with still a month of school to go, Ramadan joins us at a crucial time of the school year. Our children are the future of our Deen and it is essential we keep them excited, motivated and passionate about the practices of our Faith. At the same time, it is incredibly important to encourage education as a way of pushing our Ummah forward to more greatness.

Early mornings, attending classes, worksheets and exams are still business as usual. Here are some tips to help our students master it all.

  1. Inform: Inform teachers, advisors and fellow students of Ramadan. When others know, they can offer our students support. Also, by letting others know, our students can feel empowered.
  2. Diet: It is essential that our students have the fuel to get through the long days. Although it is hard to wake your child up for Suhoor, please do so! As an incentive to them to get up, prepare meals they enjoy eating that will give them good energy for the day to come.
  3. Support/Encouragement: It is very difficult to be the only child in the class fasting or one of just a handful. Be sure to offer your little one the greatest amount of support and encouragement possible. Remind them continuously that what they are doing is a big thing and you are proud of them.  Try different reward systems and trackers to help them see how many days they have successfully fasted.
  4. Be flexible: For young children below the age of maturity (puberty), encourage them to abide by the practice but still give them space for mistakes, accidents and just being children. School is a hard job and children get hungry and thirsty.  Although they are fasting, leave a small snack in their backpacks in case of emergency. By emergency, I mean they ran so hard during gym class that they feel dizzy and sick.  Remember there will be days when fasting just isn’t a good idea.  For example: big exam days, big presentations or generally stressful days.
  5. Educate: Children are much more inclined to do things when they understand why they are doing it. Explain to your children why we fast during Ramadan. Share with them some health benefits too as a bonus!

These children are the future of our Ummah. Inshallah with your support and guidance your children will be righteous Muslims.

About the Author

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a witty 3 year old girl and a sweet newborn boy. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

The First Days of Fasting

By Saraa Mahfouz

kid-1077793_960_720

I felt excitement when I learned that I will be fasting that Ramadan. I was almost 9 years old and Ramadan was during the winter months. The days were shorter and the breeze became cooler.

I remember telling my mom what I wanted for Suhoor; a bowl of my favourite cereal and glass of juice. When my dad woke me up with a slight knocking at the door and coming to my bedside speaking quietly, I immediately jumped out of bed. We sat together at the breakfast table and started eating. My dad reminded me to make the intention and then smiled at me proudly. It was almost time to for school and I brushed my teeth and headed out to the world.

The first thing I did as I got to school was rush to my teacher and tell her I was fasting and that I couldn’t eat or drink all day. My teacher seemed happy but confused as she didn’t know what was going on. She asked if I can explain more and maybe do a presentation to the class. I was really excited and nervous at the same time. At that time I was the only student in the school who wore a hijab. There were other Muslims in the school and many were fasting as well.

After the morning announcements were made my teacher called on me to come up to the class and explain what Ramadan was. I walked slowly to the front of the class and started telling my classmates about how I will fast for the month, no eating or drinking from morning until evening. Of course my knowledge of the subject was limited at that age but I explained to them that I was fasting to recognize the children in the world who don’t have food. Many of the students asked if they can fast as well. It was an exciting feeling and I felt proud of myself. The next day almost the whole class said they were fasting!

Fast forward 15 years later. I have my own classroom and my own set of students. The first day of Ramadan came during the fall. It was the first week of school and Ramadan had already begun. My students were the same age as me when I first fasted and the excitement was the same if not more. This time all the students in my class were Muslim but all of them had different cultural traditions. Students came rushing to me in the morning to tell me they were fasting with the same speed that I once had.

I imagined myself running through those doors excitedly telling my teacher. The students were proud that they were fasting and most of them knew they were fasting for the same reason and more. They wanted to decorate and sing Ramadan songs. They wanted to share their stories of breaking their fast with their families. I looked at them with pride the same way my father did that first morning of fasting. I thought to myself that I couldn’t wait to share the traditions with my own little family.

About the Author

Saraa Mahfouz is a mom of two boys (3 and 1) and is expecting a girl in July. She has been an elementary teacher for 6 years and has a passion for sharing her thoughts and experiences with others.  She started blogging in her university years but motherhood and her two busy boys have since become her first priority. Saraa also dabbled in photography for some time. She is very excited to get back into writing and sharing her passion with the muslimmoms.ca community.

Ramadan Crafts and Activities

By Maryam Kidwai

art-supplies-1324034_960_720

Ramadan is right around the corner and I can hardly believe it. The holy month is a time of spirituality, solitude, socialization and a time to feast on savoury delights with friends and family. One of my goals every Ramadan is to indulge a little more in our religious traditions and become a better Muslim in some way. To this end, I also like to involve my kids in the festivities and try to bring them closer to our religion. I find involving them in arts and crafts an excellent way to educate them about the importance of this holy month.

So I have been on a pursuit to identify some fun activities that I can do with my kids this year. Thankfully, there is no dearth of ideas online so the challenge is really to choose the most practical and constructive ones. Below, I have listed some fun crafts and activities that teach something relevant about our beliefs and that are simple enough to do.

http://goodtreemontessori.files.wordpress.com/2008/08/gooddeedscalendar.jpg?w=300&h=232

Good deeds: Create a calendar or a jar of good deeds that children can do every day. The deeds can be as simple as being kind, helping out around the house or hugging a sibling. Check out these links for some great ideas:

Baked goodies: Bake cookies in the shape of stars and crescents. You can also bake mini cupcakes and frost them with stars or toppers that read “Ramadan Kareem.” Some people prefer the idea of dates – whatever you choose, put it together in a beautiful package and share the goodies with your neighbors, colleagues, friends etc. You may also attach a note to explain the significance of the month and the reason behind our fasts.

 

Ramadan journal: Keeping a Ramadan journal is a great way to set goals and keep track of achievements each day. You can keep it simple by using a notebook and a pen or feel free to try some options from the list below:

 

Mason jar lanterns: Mason jars are all the rage these days. So why not make lanterns out of them.

Make beautiful mason jar lanterns with glass paint and gold puffy paint. Use glass paint to paint the inside of the jar. For the outside, use gold in whatever design you like. To add decorative details, you can glue pearls or twine. For easy hanging, add loops of fine-gauge wire. Light them up and your candles are ready to enjoy indoors or out.

 

Screen time: Kids these days love their iPads/tablets. So why not incorporate some religious learning during their screen time. There are several child appropriate lectures on YouTube that you can watch together. You may also download some of these apps:

Sadaqah jar: Make a sadaqah jar out of cardboard, an empty pasta sauce jar or a pringles can. Decorate it to give it a holy vibe and encourage your children to donate frequently and also collect from family and friends. I find this a good way to reinforce the importance of giving, sharing and kindness. It will help teach them compassion for the less fortunate, which is an essential component of our religion. The collected donations can then be given away at your local masjid.

 

Quran time: If your kids are old enough, try learning a new surah with them. There are plenty of short surahs to choose from. You can also read stories from the Quran about our prophets, stories of the sahabah and hadith from the prophet’s life.

Prayer rug bookmarks: Make prayer rug bookmarks using simple items like felt fabric, puffy paint and glue. You can go to the moon with ideas on colors and designs.

 

Ramadan calendar: Indeed, one of the joys of Ramadan is the anticipation of Eid. You can create a calendar as a way to keep track of your fasts and also to countdown to Eid. Here is a link with some ideas:

 

Candy balloons: Ask your kids to choose candy and sweet treats and fill the balloons. Blow up 30 balloons for 30 days. Pop a balloon every night after iftar and enjoy the treats. You may want to save the best treats for the last 10 days/balloons.

Ramadan is primarily about prayer and worship. It is perhaps the most sacred month for Muslims and it is our responsibility to make the most of the blessings this month brings and at the same time celebrate in all its glory. As someone who grew up in Saudi Arabia, I definitely miss the atmosphere and the enthusiasm with which we welcome Ramadan in Muslim-majority nations. My daughter loves all the decorations and the general vibe during the Christmas/holiday season. She always asks why we don’t decorate our house and why we don’t put up a Christmas tree. While I am not fundamentally opposed to the idea, I do believe that we should celebrate our festivals with all the excitement and glamour that we can, if not more. So this year, I would like to decorate our house some more and I really want to put up lights outside. Something about lights brings out a festive vibe. There are some great ideas for decorating your home. Check out these for some inspiration:

Back home in the Middle East and in the subcontinent, there is tremendous excitement around Ramadan/Eid and I don’t want my kids to miss out. I have bold ambitions but I sure hope I am able to pass on the excitement and the spark of Ramadan to my kids.

 About the Author

Maryam Kidwai is a mother to two beautiful girls. She works as a Marketing Communications professional in the financial services sector. Maryam is passionate about women’s rights and empowerment and volunteers at several organizations across GTA. She loves to travel fearlessly, meet new people and entertain. She has entrepreneurial ambitions and wild ideas. Maryam wants to be a renowned author of many books and dreams of building a little she-shed in her backyard where she can curl up with a book to enjoy the gorgeous sun and the short-lived Toronto summers.

5 Lessons I Learned from My Husband

By Mona Ismaeil

75635_1222423537944_2949785_n

I often hear women talking about how they made their husbands better since marrying them. How “he’s changed” and they glow with pride over the transformation. How often do you hear a woman admitting that her husband made her better? That perhaps he taught her a thing or two about life, love and the meaning of a solid, long lasting relationship? I am one of those women. I have no problem admitting that my husband did just that for me. By loving me, showing me patience and compassion he helped me to see life, love and relationships in a whole other way.

1. It’s okay to let someone into your life fully

This was hard for me.  I had taken care of myself for more than 5 years before marrying and I did everything myself. For so long I wanted to keep myself separate from him in fear of giving him “control” over MY life. This is strange seeing he had fully let me into his life. He had opened all the doors and let me walk in but I was still so guarded. I guess I thought I was protecting myself but I was just doing myself a disservice.  Letting someone in fully is not just about living under one roof, or sharing finances but trusting them fully to make decisions – big decisions – on your behalf.

2. Love and affection can be expressed in different ways

If you are looking for flowers, chocolates and candle lit dinners as a sign of how much your husband loves you, then I would have thought my husband didn’t love me. Those gestures did exist in the start, I won’t deny that but not so much now. With time, I learned to look for other ways he was showing how much he loves me.  The more I looked, the more I realized he didn’t just love me. He appreciated me, cared for me more than he cared for himself and cherished our marriage.

I started to notice that how he showed love and affection was by how much he worked. Sounds strange but he works for OUR future. He works so I can focus on raising our children.  I noticed it’s by the way he looks at me. It’s the way he pinches my cheeks or smiles at me.  It’s the little gestures that take place all day, every day as opposed to a big gesture on an occasion.  Lucky for me, my husband likes surprises, so I get those too!

3. Being “like him” isn’t so bad

I’d be lying if I told you my husband and I were anything alike in personality. We’re not! But as they say “opposites attract”. My husband and I are (I should say were) polar opposites. I was serious, he was all about the jokes. I’m very emotional he’s very logical. I’m a more spontaneous, he’s very calculated.  Like I said we WERE polar opposites. I am not entirely sure what point we stopped being that way. At what point in the last 6 years of knowing each other did I become less sensitive to his teasing and he became more sensitive to my emotions? Sometimes, I hear things that come out of my mouth and think, that sure sounds like Mohamed but honestly I’m not sure where I end and he begins. I am grateful that I have been influenced by his many positive traits and I like to think that he has taken a great deal from me as well. Although we are our own people and we still disagree on many things, but the basis of who we are, our values, our goals and so much more have become exactly the same. That doesn’t mean we have lost ourselves to one another, it means we have grown alongside each other.

4. Spousal support is key to success

Your spouse can make or break your success. Success is defined in many ways. It can be your career, your parenting, your hobbies, your health goals, basically anything you work towards. Your spouse is the single most important person to have support you.

Think about what happens if a man is required to travel for work but his wife makes this difficult, or makes him feel bad about his decision because it will keep him away from the family. Does he move forward in his career? No. Does their relationship improve? No.

Let’s not make this just about the men and not just about careers. Think about if you enjoyed doing something, like being active, Islamic studies, book clubs, etc. but your husband is always getting in your way. He won’t watch the kids, or he asks you to do other things when you have a fitness class you want to get to. Perhaps he invites people for dinner on an evening you have a halaqa you want to attend.  Will you be able to enjoy your hobbies? No. Will your goals be met? No.

No matter the goal, your spouse’s support and willingness to sacrifice is the most important things you need to succeed.

5. There are still great men in the world

It sounds cliché right from the start I know but it is the truth. In our lives we come across so many men who are bad that at some point we start to believe that that’s all that is out there. We run into cheap men, liars, sell outs, impolite men, hypocritical men, unrighteous men, and others of their kind. How often do you actually meet a good man, let alone a great man? We often are so skeptical when we meet a genuinely nice guy that we doubt their intentions. We wonder how can he possibly be THAT nice?! Most of us look at our grandfathers and fathers as the exemplars for what a “real man” is supposed to look like. How many women can truly say their husband is at that level? Times have changed men AND women. Our generation is so different. The way we view the world, life, the future, and relationships has changed. Our lives are about having more but giving less. Taking it slow, but getting out fast.

My husband taught me that a fight doesn’t mean it’s over. He has this annoying habit of getting over arguments fast and I most definitely do not! The fact that he does, has likely saved our marriage on more than one occasion. We talk things through, no matter how hard they are to address. He works hard for US. He believes fair is fair no matter who you are dealing with. He treats people with kindness, respect until they do something to deserve otherwise. He has shown me that hanging on to your principals and beliefs is what is most important in defining who you are but will not hesitate to make exceptions for his family.

We can only grow as individuals if we are willing to learn from each other. Who better to learn from than someone who loves you, cares for you and wants the very best of this world and the hereafter for you?

About the Author: 

Mona Ismaeil is  the Associate Editor Muslimmoms.ca. She is also an elementary  teacher turned blogger and writer. Mona is the proud owner of Modern Hejab and stay-at-home mom to a sweet little girl. She loves to travel and see all the world has to offer with her family.

Advice to My Younger Self

By Khaula Mazhar

old-typewriter-keys_426-19314856

Unlike the very “cool” advice Helen Mirren said she would give her younger self, that is, to “tell people off more frequently”, I suppose mine is quite boring and dull. You know just regular, ordinary, not-so-cool-people stuff. Maybe it’s because I am not 70 yet, maybe it is because I am Canadian and we are just too polite to tell people off all the time. Maybe because I am trying to cut down on potty mouthness.

So it’s a tough one, you don’t want to sound clichéd, and you do want to bestow all your worldly knowledge and experience on the unfortunate younger generation who seem to be doing everything wrong (exactly like you at that  age).

So what would I tell my younger self or a younger someone else?

  1. Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t be so busy wishing you are 18, 21 or 25. Once you get there you will realize it was all a lie. You don’t have more freedom, you’ll just have more stress because you aren’t where you were expecting to be. And you still won’t be sure of exactly where it is you want to be. Enjoy those young days of freedom and parents’ lectures, because once you are on your own you have to deal with all the (fill in the blank with your choice of bad word) yourself. No parents to deal with it for you, you will be on your own.

  2. Do not party too hard once you are 18,21 or 25. Focus on exactly what you want and think of how you can get there, take opportunities, network, volunteer. Don’t become a party pooper though either! Balance is the keyword.

  3. Do enjoy every second, no matter what. Learn from the failures, laugh at your embarrassments (they will make great chapters for your memoirs in later life), treasure even the tragedies. They are what make you stronger, more determined and grateful when you win life’s little battles. Never think “If I had another chance I would change this or that”. Think “I would do it exactly the same”, your future is what you can change. Not your past, embrace it!

  4. Forgive others. But don’t be gullible. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you give anyone a chance to hurt you again. That is stupidity.

  5. Forgive yourself! But don’t make the same mistakes. That is also stupidity.

  6. Always help others along the way. You do have time, there is no race unless you make it one, and it always pays to do good for good people. Surround yourself with good people.

  7. Don’t ever waste time on getting back at someone, that is not cool. Karma is a (insert bad word here) let her take care of it for you. She does an excellent job.

  8. Some of us are late bloomers. Just go with it. You may have to put everything on hold because of your kids. Put it in hold! They grow up too fast, their childhood will not come back, opportunities will.

  9. Stop to smell the roses. Always take time out to read a good book, watch a good movie, spend time with your best friends, go on a date with your husband, visit your elderly relatives.

  10. Never look back with regret. If it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t. Believe that God has something better planned for you and move on.

  11. Do NOT tell people off more often, smile and walk away. It is way more irritating to them that you didn’t react, that you don’t give them enough importance to take their (your choice of bad word) to heart.

Now go on and be awesome!

About the Author:

Khaula Mazhar, author of Mama Loves Me, has written for Dawn Pakistan and now bestows her wisdom upon the world at her blog. Last time she counted she had five kids, however the vast amount of laundry has given her doubts. This is a cause of constant distraction as she tries to finish writing the next NYT best-seller.

How (NOT) to Teach Your Children to Play Ludo

By Rahila Ovais

IMG_2975

I am sure all moms from South Asia are pretty familiar with the board game Ludo; the beloved family amusement in life before internet and computers. It was our favorite entertainment during  summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights; where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move. For those of you who don’t know what Ludo is please refer to the game rules here.

Over this past winter break in an effort to keep the kids entertained with a new activity every day and after ruling out Scrabble and Taboo, we decided to have a game of Ludo one night with my kids; MJ 19 years old, MJ2 13 years old and DJ who is 5 years old. You all can probably already imagine how the night went given the ages of the players.

As per the rules, the one who rolls the highest number on the dice goes first and you need to roll a six to get your pieces out of their giant square boxes. Well lo and behold, the little one rolls a six, talk about beginner’s luck!  Not just one six but three times! At this point MJ2 claims DJ must have a trick up his sleeves to be able to roll out sixes every time; she is now determined to find that out by hook or crook. After several cheating attempts she gets her way. Meanwhile MJ still hasn’t been able to roll a single six! She claims that she does not cheat like MJ2.  This in turn makes MJ2 furious and an argument takes place which requires referee intervention. (Kindly note: a normal Ludo game does not require a referee) MJ makes MJ2 lose a turn as payback for cheating; there is another argument and intervention where DJ then draws a map on a paper outlining the order of each player’s turns.

Another rule of the game is you must take out one of the opponent’s pieces in order to enter the pathway to your corresponding “Home”. You can do this by landing on top of an opponent’s piece.  The piece that is taken out goes back to the corresponding player’s giant square box and the player has to roll another six to get it out. For example, if you roll a four and your opponent’s piece is 4 squares in front of you then that piece goes back in.  Again DJ having beginner’s luck is able to keep taking his sister’s pieces out! In fact at one point, he rolls a four and MJ2’s piece is one square ahead of him and he insists that the piece needs to be taken out as it is in his way!  MJ loses her patience at this point. This time, along with intervention there is a lot of begging and babying to get them to continue to play.

By this time the beginner’s luck for DJ has worn off and MJ2 rolls the dice where now she can take his piece out.  DJ does not accept it, claiming she can make one of her other pieces go and leave his alone; MJ2 insists she has to take his piece out to enable her to go “home”. (Rule: if you cannot take out an opponent’s piece before reaching your corresponding “Home” section and you have no other moves available, you will have to go through the entire board again).  We are all at the height of frustrations, trying to explain the rules to a 5 year old and 13 year old (over their yelling and screaming, between fits of laughter). MJ and MJ2 still argue about the rules and little DJ pitching in where he could.  Emotions running high and voices even higher to the point where nani has to interrupt her prayers and come back to intervene.

 In the end, DJ having his patience maxed out, simply messes up all the pieces on the board, claiming the win as he was the only one who had all his pieces out (while all others had only one or two or no pieces out); a full ten minutes of entertainment!

I couldn’t help but reminisce this is exactly how the games used to turn out when we used to play during our summer breaks, family sleepovers or power outages through long winter nights where everyone is an expert on the rules of the game, always bending the rules to favor their own move.  What mattered most in the end was the laughter over ice cream with chocolate sauce after refusing to speak to each other for two hours.

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.

39 Things I Learned in My 30′s

By Rahila Ovais

Picture 7

2015 marked the year when I celebrated the last of my birthdays in my 30’s.  Besides the fact that I still cringe and cry every time I discover a new grey hair; my 30’s were the years when I really embraced aging.  Being a young mom, I spent my 20’s in child rearing and career building. Now that I approach the big 4-0, I can honestly say that my 30’s were the learning years. Here is a list of things I have learned……

  1. Allah has perfect timing; never early, never late. It takes a little patience and it takes a lot of faith. But it’s worth the wait.

  1. Believe in the power of prayer with conviction.

  1. Before you judge other people’s actions, ask yourself “Have I been in this situation before?” If not, don’t judge!

  1. Learn to always mind your own business.

  1. Hurt me and I may forgive and forget, I may even turn another cheek, but if anyone hurts my family I will turn around and bite.

  1. Don’t let anyone tell you “you can’t”.

  1. I am not a morning person but oh the wonders you get to see when you wake up early.

  1. “Kill them with kindness; bury them with smile”.  Smile when taking a compliment; also when being criticised. Smile when you don’t have an answer.

  1. Worrying doesn’t improve anything.  Most problems get worse if we take them too seriously.

  1. Don’t undermine yourself by comparing with others. You are in no competition with anyone.

  1. Envy is a waste of time; you already have all you need.

  1. Do not change your own hopes and wishes to make others happy.

  1. A handwritten greeting card, a handpicked wildflower bouquet or a home-made cake; these are the things that matter.

  1. Take lots of pictures of your kids when they are young, they grow up too fast but do not forget to make memories in the process.

  1. It’s never too late to do anything you want.

  1. Life would be boring if everything was perfect.

  1. Patience is needed with everyone but most importantly with ourselves.

  1. Men are from earth, women are from earth; just deal with it!

  1. Before making a choice, always ask yourself the most basic question. “Can you sleep at night with the choice you made?”

  1. Spend as much time as you can with your grandparents. You will miss them a lot when they are gone.

  1. The best person who can help you out of your problems is the one you see in the mirror.

  1. There is nothing wrong in being the first to apologize. It is equally important to accept an apology wholeheartedly.

  1. Nothing should stop you from standing up for what is right; sometimes  being kind is more important than being right.

  1. “Honesty is the best policy”. Never cheat or lie.  My mom did a fine job of teaching me that, now I can not lie to even save my life.

  1. Express gratitude. Be the first one to say “thank you”; people will always remember that about you.

  1. Keep your sense of humour.

  1. Age is just a number and grey hair happens; this is your time to be creative with it.

  1. If time permits, volunteer you time for others.

  1. Holding on to grudges takes a lot of energy.  Forgive often and wholeheartedly.

  1. The key to being happy is to expect nothing from others. You are in-charge of your own happiness. Go buy those goddamn 4 inch heels if that’s what will make you happy!

  1. Teach your kids to enjoy the wonders of life. Spend time outdoors in nature and marvel at the sunsets and full moons together.

  1. When life gets crazy, do something normal. And if life gets too normal, do something crazy.

  1. You children will become who you are; so be what you want them to be.

  1. Write down all the funny things your kids say when they are young. They will be all grown up in the blink of an eye.

  1. Save that last piece of chocolate for yourself.  Sometimes there is nothing wrong with being selfish.

  1. You will eventually become your mother, be proud of it.

  1. Take all the learning opportunities that arise when you are trying to teach your kids.

  1. Keep your promises.

  1. Life is a circus; It’s a balancing act and a juggling routine. Have fun!

 

Share the lessons you have learned as part of growth?

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.

Spring Break Do’s and Don’ts

By Mariam Mazhar 

Picture1

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.