Today’s post in my series of posts about making Ramadan fun for children, is written by sister Naimah, blogger at This Beautiful Life of Ours. Here she shares her thoughts on how to make Ramadan exciting for children.
This is an exciting time for all Muslims, but especially for children for it is that time when families gather more than normal and the masjids stay alit beckoning worshippers to renew their Iman. It is a time when, in our community, there are gatherings every day for Iftar but on the weekends, the crowd is multiplied in astounding numbers. The beautiful words of the Quran can be heard resonating from the speakers, their tones and melody touching our hearts and evoking tears. It is perhaps the only time we long to stand together for extended periods in worship…. But a question that remains most prevalent to mothers like myself, with young children is…how do we make it fun for our children? What can we incorporate into our day to impact these young minds and souls and to foster a deep relationship with our most beloved visitor, the beautiful month of Ramadan? Many of the things I have listed below are things I remember from my own childhood so I can safely say they are tried, true and tested!
1) Countdown to Ramadan. About a month prior begin a countdown calendar; this builds anticipation and kids can visualize the timeline. This can be made by cutting construction paper into strips and creating chains, then linking them together. On each chain, write a hadith, short quote or something Islamic that the child can benefit from. Also, clean and decorate the home together. Remind children about the importance of cleanliness in Islam. And finally, look for the moon that beckons the beginning of this blessed month.
2) Read Islamic Story Books together. Our personal favorites this year are ‘Lailah’s Lunchbox’, ‘The White Nights of Ramadan’ and of course ‘Curious George talks about Ramadan’. Let it be interactive, have the children perform little skits based on the storyline and characters in the story. We also used a workbook last year that I loved and will redo this year with my kids. It’s called “My 30 days of Ramadan activity and Coloring Book”.
3) Make Goody Bags. These can be made for neighbors and friends and serve to teach children about generosity, kindness while also encouraging them to be proud about their identity. Let them help to pack the goodies and decorate the bags and also help with the distribution. Remind them about the Islamic etiquettes of kindness and humility throughout the process.
4) Have Islamic Based “Competitions” for Children. We have a karaoke machine and my kids loves singing to nasheeds, reciting Quran and poems, reading stories, etc. You don’t have to have a machine but it definitely ups the ante. The 2 older kids in my home at 5 and 7 and that’s a great age to start because it builds their confidence and they get a sense of pride reciting their work in front of us. At the end, everyone receives praise for their hard work and talent. ☺
5) Play Islamic Games together. We have ‘Junior Quran Challenge’ which is a great game and we like it, although initially I found it a little too difficult for the age ranges I’m catering to, I have found great improvement in their knowledge base after practicing several times. I also like to play ‘Kids Jeorpardy’. I use a poster board and make different categories and numbers, which each correlate to a question. For example: The category Salah would have number 100, 200…500. Number 200 might be: ‘What is the prayer immediately following Iftar?’ Answer: Maghrib.
6) Begin and End the Fasts Together. This year my eldest has asked me to fast and since the days are about 14 hours long, I suspect he wouldn’t be able to make it but I will allow him to get up and start the fast with us, and as usual, they will partake with helping to prepare for Iftar and then sitting with us while we do that.
7) Pray Together. More than ever, pray on time! Downloading an app on your phone for reminders seems to work best. Children enjoy praying together especially if we make a big deal out of it. For Ramadan, perhaps get your daughters a new hijab and your sons a new kufi and them use that exclusively to pray during Ramadan. Take them to the mosque to enjoin in the festivities there as well. Togetherness as a family and community go a long way in instilling values in our children.
8) Have special Ramadan Activities (Arts and Crafts)– some of the crafts I have selected this year include:
– 99 names of Allah. I will print and laminate all of the names, place in a bowl and each day select a few and talk a little about the selected name so that by the end of Ramadan we would have familiarized ourselves with all.
– paper lanterns- these can be used for décor in their rooms or used to adorn our homes.
– blessings from Allah- I will create an umbrella and using yarn, hang raindrops filled with some of the blessings Allah showers upon us.
– prayer beads- using pony beads or any other beads, they can make their own prayer beads and can also make some for their friends!
– good deeds calendar- Since we should all try to amplify our good deeds this month, I thought it would be a good idea to make a calendar for all children, giving them a goal to meet for the month. If that is met, then they can get a reward at the end of the month.
9) Read Quran Together. We should read more Quran this month and it’s a great time for our children to do the same and for the younger ones to listen. We should also find the time to listen more to Quran so playing it in the car and home is greatly recommended. This also helps us to maintain patience, kindness and humility throughout the day.
10) Get ready for Eid together. Let them help to choose their clothing, help in the kitchen, write invitations to friends, decorate for Eid, etc. It’s very important that they help with the “grand finale” as they would have worked hard and earned it if the above tips are implemented!
About The Author:
Naimah has a Masters in Information Technology and after contemplating a career, she decided to stay at home to raise and abundantly enjoy her children. She currently homeschools 2 of her 4 children, writes passionately about the beautiful journey of life, dabbles in crafts with her daughter, builds forts with her sons and races more cars on the kitchen floor than you would imagine. Her goal is to raise children who understand the foundations and principles of Islam through example and knowledge.