Welcoming Ramadan With Kids
I hope everyone is having an easy and blessed Ramadan. A few moms asked me how I cope with keeping my kids busy in Ramadan. Having different schedules and unusual sleep patterns makes it more challenging, and it is harder to keep our children's schedule the same. However in Ramadan, we do less strenuous things and more reading & craft type activities. Bedtime is still the same for the young, but whoever fasts gets to stay up an hour and a half later, to eat and enjoy time with mom and dad. I will share our ideas on how we welcome Ramadan. Ramadan and the two Eids, is a big celebration in our home as we really only celebrate these two occasions in the year. We take our kids for the moon sighting drive for both Ramadan and Eid when we can. When our children search for the crescent moon, they get a feel of the special occasion, and love this cherished tradition. These are the memories that will stay with them when they are adults one day, and they will pass it onto their children one day inshAllah.
During Ramadan these are the 10 most frequent things we do with our little ones:
Decorate the main areas of our home
Color/write/draw in a Ramadan booklet
Do some type of craft daily
Read Eid and Ramadan stories, and learn Ramadan poems
Make a Ramadan candy chain
Do Ramadan Quizzes
Listen to Ramadan CDs or the recitation of the Quran
Dress-up and use perfume with scented oils
Give our neighbours a basket of fruit and sweets
Learn the moon phases
One Ramadan, we purchased a packet of balloons and allowed each child to inflate two of their favorite colored balloons with a balloon pump (saves a mommy from going dizzy). Then they wrote their name on the two balloons & decorated it with markers. We strung two sets of six balloons together with dental floss (it's nice and strong), and put this aside for the next step. I had a banner made at Vistaprint.com for under $7 shipped, and we also bought a string of lights from Amazon, and some tinsel from the Dollar Store. We hung the banner above our living room's curtain rod and added the six balloons on either side. We decorated the wall above the banner with the string of tinsel and tinsel stars. We then strung our Ramadan lights across the bottom of the banner and our decorations were complete.
Another Ramadan we took some construction paper, cut it in half, and wrote one letter of the words, 'Ramadan Mubaruk' on different colored paper. I divided the letters between the kids to color and decorate as they wished. When they were done, we used a single-hole punch, and punched some holes at the two opposite ends of the top of the page. We strung dental floss through the holes to make one big colorful homemade banner as a beautiful homage to this blessed month.
2. Ramadan Booklet
I printed some Ramadan pages from a few websites such as, crayola and primary games, then stapled this together for my kids to use throughout Ramadan. They colored and decorated a page or two each day of Ramadan. I printed a few extra writing pages for my older kids so that they are able to write about Ramadan as well as color. I have started to create our own Ramadan printable booklets, look out for them under the Downloads section of Muslimommy.
3. Craft Ideas
Everyday we do something crafty like painting, playing with clay, cutting from magazines and pasting on collages, coloring with crayons or markers, letter writing, drawing or enjoying puzzle time. I lay a plastic cloth on my kitchen table and secure it with big office clips (to keep it in place) so my kids are free to be true artists, and I don't worry about a big mess. We also have puzzle time and use floor puzzles or jigsaw books.
We read Ramadan stories or any other Islamic stories as we have a library of books that I have collected over time. We have the book, 'Eid and Ramadan Songs by Fawzia Gillani Williams', and my kids memorize her cute poetry. In the early evening when daddy comes home, they put on a show for the family.
5. Candy Chain
We make a Ramadan candy chain by stringing candy to a long piece of string. Each child gets one candy off the chain, at the completion of a Ramadan day. Our kids do not consume a lot of candy other times, so they really appreciate the daily piece in Ramadan. It also helps them to know each day's Ramadan date. Some parents may not be fond of the candy idea and this can be replaced with sweet notes or other items. The purpose of this idea, is for our kids to think of Ramadan as a very special month. To make the candy chain, we stick with candy that had holes, such as Lifesavers or anything in a packet so that we could use a punch to make holes, and add it to the string effortlessly. We then hung it over a hook inside our pantry door.
6. Ramadan Quiz
When daddy comes home, or an hour before Iftaar, we try to do circle time with our kids. We aim to do this every day, but sometimes it is just too hectic. My hubby searches on the web for Ramadan Quizzes for kids, and he finds many sites with Q & A's about Ramadan and Islam. We reward each answer that our kids get correct.
7. Listen to CD's
We play CDs such as "I look I See 2", which has a perfect song by Yusuf Islam on going to see the Ramadan moon. Our kids sing it in the car while we sight the moon. Sometimes we just play the CD while they read a book or dance around. I also try to play Quran while they do their crafts or puzzles. There are many children's CD's at Noorart.com.
8. Dress Up
Our kids dress more fancy in Ramadan by wearing their best clothes if they wish to. We allow them to use some perfume oils, and it is a nice time to teach good hygiene and etiquette by relaying stories about our Beloved Prophet (saw)'s grooming habits.
9. Gift Giving
We buy some fruit, some sweets or cookies, and make small Ramadan baskets which we put outside the doors of our neighbors or give it out to other special people, (like the mailman). We add a note to say, "It is our blessed month of Ramadan, and we would like to share it with you", and thank them for being wonderful neighbors or super helpers.
Our kids learn the about the different phases of the moon. I found nice print-outs at dltk-kids (scroll to the bottom for the templates). We printed each phase on a page, numbered and named it, then hung it on our wall during Ramadan. My kids now look at the moon and say things like, Daddy, see the gibbous moon!", as they now appreciate and realize the different phases. Uncle Milton Moon in My Room, found on Amazon or in most stores, is another great moon phase learning method. It is a nice gift for an older child, and even serves as a night-light for younger siblings.
Last but not least, they add some coins from their money-box to a jar for charity, which they will give to the masjid towards the end of Ramadan. They also each have personal items which they keep in their 'private drawers', and exchange gifts with one another. There is a lot more we could do, but these are the just a few that is do-able with a big family of little ones. Hope these ideas help, have a blessed Ramadan Mubaruk from me and the Muslimommy crew!