Tag Archives: fun in learning

Ramadan Crafts and Activities

By Maryam Kidwai

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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.

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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.

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!