Our blessed month of Ramadan is here! Ramadan is a time for fasting, increased prayers, and increasing our good deeds in general. In the midst of our efforts to improve our worship, we mustn’t forget that our little ones still need attention and activities to keep them busy. This is particularly the case for children who are trying to fast. Here are 5 great activities we can engage in with our children, that can increase our worship while entertaining them.
1. Make an Islamic question and answer game
- Gather a set of index cards or simply neatly cut several sheets of paper the size of index cards.
- Work together with your children to develop questions about Islam.
- Write the questions on one side of the card and answers on the other.
- Attempt to put together at least 50 question and answer cards.
- This can be an activity for one day or however many days it takes to complete 50 questions.
- During a lull in the day, sit down with your kids for a game of Islam Question and Answer.
- Everyone can gather around in a circle on the floor.
- Place the cards in a single pile in the center.
- Choose who will go first, and that person selects a card from the top of the pile and reads the question out loud. (If the child is too young to read, the mother can read the question for her.)
- After reading the question, the child should attempt to answer it, if she gets it correct she keeps the card. If she gets it wrong the card is discarded and the turn passes to the child on the right.
- The winner is the one who has the most cards after the pile is emptied.
If there is a big difference in ages, players can play in groups, teaming up younger kids with older kids and team members can assist one another in answering questions.
2. Read or listen to children’s books about Ramadan
Another rewarding way to spend enjoyable time during Ramadan is to read books about Ramadan. You might be surprised to find that some books on Ramadan can be checked out at the library. Others can be ordered inexpensively as used books from amazon.com. Here are a few titles to get you started:
Ramadan By Suhaib Ghazi, Holiday House
Suhaib Ghazi reveals the wonders of fasting as he narrates Ramadan, the story of a young Muslim boy, eagerly performing the duties of this holy month. Ghazi weaves together the details of Islam and the practices of Ramadan with entertaining and easy-to-read text, both necessary elements for young readers. As a side note, I found one error in Ramadan. The story mentions that travelers and pregnant women are not allowed to pray. It should read they have the option to pray. Suitable for ages 7 to 11 years.
Celebrating Ramadan By Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, Holiday House
Also published by Holiday House, is another fine Ramadan Book, Celebrating Ramadan. This inspiring book for Muslim youth, allows them to see the beauty of Islam’s cultural heritage and diversity. Celebrating Ramadan is also about a young Muslim boy named Ibraheem, a fourth grader, who celebrates Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr with his family.
One of the first pictures in the book shows Ibraheem’s family on the steps of their home. Ibraheem’s mother is from Egypt and his father is Bosnian American. His mother, modestly dressed in hijab, as well as the multi-ethnic blend of his family set the stage for the theme of Islamic diversity in this attractive book. Suitable for ages 10 to 13 years.
Aliyyah’s First Ramadan (YouTube Video)
By Shirien Elamawy Illustrated By: Mohamed Qovaizi
What a nice delight! It’s a cute rhyming storybook read by Abdullah the puppet. The story explains the concept of fasting in a fun and easy to understand fashion for young kids. Aliyyah, the main character, attends a non-Muslim school and struggles to fast in this non-Islamic environment. The story has a warm and engaging ending.
For more books on Ramadan or Islamic themes in general, there is a wonderful website that offers exclusively Islamic materials for your enjoyment, at soundvision.com
3. Let your child help prepare iftar
One of the most rewarding feelings during Ramadan is knowing that you’ve accomplished a full day of fasting and can finally settle down to eat iftar. Why not allow your child to join in on preparing this special meal of the day.
- If you’re having vegetables, allow your child to help wash them off in the colander or by hand.
- If you’ll enjoy delicious samosas, egg rolls or other wrapped treats, show your youngster how to wrap the mounds. If a few of the wrapped treats aren’t folded perfectly, that’s OK.
- And of course desserts are a joy to prepare. Let your child add the ingredients for the cookie dough. He can mix it, too—some kids may need a little help. Your little one can also spoon the lumps out onto the cookie sheet.
Think of ways your child can join in during food preparation time. Let your child know that the person who feeds a fasting person gets blessings from Allah.
4. Make gifts for family and friends
All good deeds during Ramadan are multiplied. Think of small crafts you can make with your child to give away to loved ones.
- You and your daughter can make beaded bracelets. You will need elastic beading string and plastic beads from the department store. Many stores provide beading sets for kids. Even dollar discount stores sometimes offer simplified versions of beading kits. This is a creative and entertaining way to pass the time away while having fun.
- Make a scrapbook of hadith or ayats from Quran. Pick up a notebook, scrapbook or photo album from your local discount store. On the first day of Ramadan select hadith or suras from Quran to read to or along with your children. Type or write out short hadith or surahs and place them in your scrapbook. At the end of Ramadan you will have a wonderful collection of Quran and hadith to refer to and read as a reminder.
Now you have 5 new ideas on how to entertain your children to keep them busy while learning about our blessed month of Ramadan!