Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ramadan Craft Idea # 3: Counting the Days of Ramadan

Assalamu alaikum,

Our third Ramadan Craft activity is a 'Days of Ramadan Counter' (I just made the name up - perhaps you will think of a better name insha'Allah *smile*). This craft activity is suitable for infants and toddlers ages 4 months and older insha'Allah. For infants under 18 months old, you will have to make the counter but after that your little one can interact with it via the view from your arms insha'Allah.

So alhamdulillah, not all craft project examples can come out decently (see the pictures below insha'Allah) but this Ramadan craft activity has an added benefit to it besides hanging nicely in your child's room or wherever you choose to hang it insha'Allah. This craft introduces/reinforces several aspects related to the passage of time and number sense. How you ask?

First: When you take a few moments each day to show your child that the clip on the counter is moving downward to show that the days are passing, this introduces your child to an abstract concept (the passage of time) in a concrete fashion (they see that the crescent moon on the clip is getting lower and lower insha'Allah).

Second: When you tell your child, "Today is the 9th day of Ramadan alhamdulillah. Yesterday was the 8th day of Ramadan. Tomorrow will be the 10th day of Ramadan insha'Allah, you are again introducing words associated with the passage of time. These 'time' words (i.e. today, yesterday, tomorrow) are words that children begin learning as early as preschool and in Montessori classrooms (and probably others insha'Allah) even earlier.

Third: When you say words like 1st of Ramadan, 2nd of Ramadan, etc. you're introducing ordinal numbers. Another concept learned in preschools and kindergartens. You're giving your little one a foundation upon which he/she will later build math skills insha'Allah.

Fourth: When your child hears the numbers (in Arabic or in English) this teaches the numbers to them or reinforces what they have already learned. Depending on the age of your child, you can tap into his/her prior knowledge and have them tell you what number comes before the number you just said, or after the number you just said insha'Allah. Math practice that's fun insha'Allah. ;)

So on to the craft activity insha'Allah. What does it look like? And how do you or your child make it insha'Allah? Read on insha'Allah (smile).

What you'll need (sorry no picture):


  • About a metre and a half of wide ribbon (make sure it's not the satin type - the marker will run and it is difficult to write on. I learned the hard way. It also makes it harder to glue it onto the pencil). This picture shows how I held the ribbon in place while the glue was drying, using a clip.


  • 1 unsharpened pencil
  • 1 piece of string (about 20 centimeters long)
  • Craft Foam
  • 1 Wooden clothes pin
  • 1 fine point permanent marker
  • Non-toxic Glue
  • Scissors
  • Non-Toxic paint
How do I make it insha'Allah? This part you may not like but I don't think I can tell you specifically step by step because it might be a copyright violation but I adapted the idea from the book 'Craft Adventures'. I found it at our local library alhamdulillah. They've got other nice ideas that can easily be adopted for Islamic purposes insha'Allah.

But, here's the finished counter. I think what I would do differently would be to actually paint the pencil too insha'Allah. What do you think? I also attempted to make a new moon again but alas, I still haven't mastered that yet.


Now all that's left to do is....hang it up and enjoy it insha'Allah!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ramadan Craft Idea # 2: Ramadan Centre Piece

Assalamu alaikum,

Ramadan is about ibadah (Worship), Quran, good deeds, and one of the joys of this blessed month is Iftar. Insha'Allah, you are blessed to be among those who enjoy healthy, tasty iftar meals with your loved ones and friends.

Our second Ramadan craft idea, which is suitable for toddlers 24 months and older insha'Allah, will help make the dinner table beautiful and special due to your little one's contribution insha'Allah. This Ramadan centre piece is fun to make and this time my craft project sample looks...decent walhamdulillah (smile). I was supposed to wait until tomorrow to post this but I just couldn't wait! Have a look insha'Allah:



Here's what you'll need insha'Allah:



  • Non-Toxic Paint

  • Paint Brush

  • Non-Toxic Glue

  • Scissors

  • Empty toilet paper roll

  • tissue paper

  • Play Dough

  • Popsicle sticks (15 for the toilet paper roll; 6-7 for the flowers and 1 for the Ramadan Mubarak sign insha'Allah)

  • Construction Paper (different colours)

  • Foam Letters (optional)

  • Cardboard (optional)


How your child can make his/her own Ramadan Centre Piece insha'Allah:

Invite your child to glue the Popsicle sticks to the side of the toilet paper roll. Be sure that they are even or you may end up with a space too small to glue the last one on.


While you are waiting for the glue to dry, invite your child to make the flowers for the centre piece. You can download some flower templates here and here insha'Allah. Have your child glue the construction paper flowers onto Popsicle sticks insha'Allah. I put grass in my centre piece. If you choose to do that you will need to cut a green piece of construction paper to be 19 cm (long) x 7cm (wide). Roll the construction paper into a cylinder and, using the scissors, cut the one end in several places to make your grass insha'Allah. I also put stems on my flowers by cutting more green pieces of construction paper that were 4 cm long each. I then glued them to the Popsicle sticks before I glued the flowers on.


When the glue dries on the toilet paper roll 'vase', invite your little one to paint the Popsicle sticks in the colour they have chosen insha'Allah.

While you wait for the paint to dry (about 15 minutes insha'Allah, depending on the paint you use), invite your child to draw or glue the foam letters to spell 'Ramadan Mubarak' insha'Allah ( I used a piece of cardboard that was 14.5 cm long x 7 cm wide to make my Ramadan Mubarak sign). Your child will most likely need your assistance here with spelling the words correctly insha'Allah.

When the paint has dried on the toilet paper 'vase', take half of the play-dough and help your child put it inside of the toilet paper roll. Your child can use a large rounded object to push the play-dough all the way down to the bottom insha'Allah (I used the end of a permanent marker). The play-dough should fill just under half of the inside of the toilet paper roll insha'Allah and should not have space between it and the toilet paper roll.



Check to make sure the flowers are dry. If so, insert the tissue paper into the toilet paper roll. It is not a problem if it tears on the bottom because when you insert the flowers, the Popsicle sticks will puncture the paper.

Invite your child to insert the flowers that they have glued onto the Popsicle sticks insha'Allah into the toilet paper 'vase' insha'Allah.



Finally, invite your child to insert his/her 'Ramadan Mubarak' sign into the centre piece and place it on the table insha'Allah!

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ramadan Craft Idea # 1: Door Decoration

Assalamu alaikum,

When Ramadan gets here insha'Allah, why not let everyone know? Here's a way to announce the onset of this Blessed month: A Ramadan Door Decoration. Simple and easy for your child to make and there is lots more you can do with it compared to the example below insha'Allah. Add glitter, make it 3-D, make it special and then hang it on your little one's bedroom door or on the front door of your home insha'Allah.



Here's what you'll need insha'Allah:


  1. Construction Paper
  2. Non-Toxic Glue (glue stick is best for infants/toddlers)
  3. Tape
  4. String
  5. Coloured pencils
  6. Scissors
  7. 7-8 pieces of curling ribbon (various sizes)
  8. Glitter (optional)

How you make it:
  • Cut 7-8 pieces of curling ribbon and set aside.
  • Have your little one colour pages 1 and 2 and cut them out insha'Allah.
  • Invite your little one to decide where he/she wants to glue the pieces on the construction paper insha'Allah.
  • IMPORTANT: When your little one glues the stars on, make sure he/she glues the pieces of curling ribbon underneath the stars insha'Allah.
  • Allow to dry (about 15-20 minutes)
  • While you're waiting for this to dry, with your little one, decide what type of good deeds he/she can do in Ramadan and write them on the cards provided on page 3 of the Ramadan Door Decoration File.
  • When the glue on the construction paper is dry, tape the good deed cards onto the end of the curling ribbons that are hanging from each star.
  • Turn the door decoration over and tape the piece of string to the back.
  • Hang it up insha'Allah!
This activity is suitable for infants/toddlers 18 months old and older. *The younger infants will require assistance with cutting. You can also invite the child to write the words "Ramadan Mubarak" instead of colouring/cutting and pasting the words from the file.
Be Creative and enjoy insha'Allah!

***If you've not visited for a while, read the posts below for Ramadan Recipe ideas or click on the Ramadan link on the left side of the page under 'Categories'.***

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ramadan Recipe # 2: Ramadan Cookie Card

Assalamu alaikum,

Yummy! Here is Ramadan recipe # 2: A Ramadan Cookie Card. It's the gift you can eat insha'Allah! I found this idea in a book called Bake it and Build It. Your toddler can have fun with the mixing and later decorating his/her Ramadan Cookie Card or you can make the cookie dough ahead of time, and let your little one cut out the shapes he/she would like to "glue" onto their card. After you bake the cookies and allow them to cool, invite your little one to "draw" their chosen Ramadan design onto their card using the icing. *Note: the icing is very sweet. I messed up when trying to draw on my cookie and I tried to eat my mistake but I couldn't do that too often. When/if your little one messes up, it may be a good idea to have a clean damp cloth available to wipe away the mistake insha'Allah. Also, if you don't have an cake decorating set you can pour the icing into a plastic sandwich bag and cut the tip off (be sure to cut very little of the tip off or the icing may come out faster than your little one prefers).

To make this edible Ramadan card all you need is basic sugar cookie dough, icing, and candy to decorate the cookie card insha'Allah.



As you can see from the picture below, my cookie...hmmm...came out....okaay alhamdulillah. The cookie is also 3-D because you can cut shapes out of the cookie dough and "glue" them onto the large cookie card using the icing! I used Smarties (M&M's in the U.S.) and I took a small amount of the icing and added green food colouring to make the masjid green. I also attempted (don't laugh) to make a new moon but as you can see...well....I tried...lol. I also wanted to attempt to write "Ramadan Mubarak" with the icing but....I broke the cookie! Oh well, I suppose there is nothing left to do but....eat the remains of what was once a 'Ramadan Cookie Card' in progress.

Either way, it was a lot of fun alhamdulillah and it took only about an hour for the whole process (but keep in mind that was because this was my test cookie and no children were involved in the process).

Definitely have your child wear an apron for this activity and you will need to assist if he/she wants to write something on the card (that requires developed fine motor skills). Maybe you can guide your child's hand as he/she writes "Ramadan Mubarak".

One last note: Be sure to let the large cookie (the card) cool completely before you attempt to move it. I broke mine that way because I was so excited to start decorating that I moved it prematurely. If you break the cookie you can use the icing to glue it back together again but as I mentioned earlier, I broke it a second time (after I had glued it back together), before I could write anything on it.

Once your little one is all done and the cookie has dried (the icing dries very hard alhamdulillah), all that is left to do is give the Ramadan Cookie Card to a family or friend insha'Allah. I wonder how many toddlers will allow that to happen ;) ...

Enjoy insha'Allah!


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Ramadan Recipe # 1: Semolina Cookies

Assalamu alaikum,

Here is the first of, insha'Allah, several recipes that are little Muslim friendly: Semolina Cookies.

See below the recipe insha'Allah for ideas about how your children can do much of the mixing and shaping of these simple cookies. This activity is best suited for children ages 24 months and older insha'Allah.

Semolina Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup clarified butter
  • 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon orange flower water
  • 30 blanched almonds
Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.

Sift together the cake flour, all-purpose flour, and semolina and set aside. Beat the butter for at least 10 minutes until it is fluffy. Then beat 2 more minutes while sprinkling in the blossom water and confectioners' sugar. Fold in the flour mixture gradually. Then refrigerate the soft dough in covered bowl for about 10 minutes. With the help of a diamond shaped cookie cutter (or any shape you and your children choose), shape the dough into 1 inch sided diamonds and place them 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Then place an almond in the center of each cookie.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in an oven preheated to around 275 degrees F. Do not over bake. Let the cookies cool for at least an hour. They are best served when cooled for several hours.

Makes 2 dozen

How the kids can do most of the mixing insha'Allah:


  1. In advance, set aside an area in the kitchen where the preparation will take place insha'Allah (like a child size wooden table for example).
  2. Have all of the measuring cups and ingredients in one place insha'Allah (ex. have all of the materials that will be used for mixing - measuring cups, spoons, etc. - in one cabinet that the child case easily access insha'Allah. Have as many of the ingredients as possible on a low shelf in the fridge that your child can reach without difficulty insha'Allah). Have a wet towel on the table for cleaning up spills and wiping up afterward insha'Allah. *For the spoons, measuring cups, bowls, etc.: Try to have materials that your child can handle without assistance or very little assistance. Make sure the materials are real and not fake. IKEA, for example, has many child size utensils that really work in their kids section. You can also buy them online here insha'Allah.
  3. Tell your son/daughter that together you will make special cookies for Ramadan insha'Allah. Explain that he/she will have fun mixing most (if not all) of the ingredients for the cookies insha'Allah and then he/she will make them into different shapes that show different things about Ramadan (i.e. masjid, moon, prayer rug, etc.).
  4. Before you begin, take the child to wash his/her hands and explain that whenever we prepare food or eat food we wash our hands insha'Allah. If washing the hands is done in the bathroom, this is a great time to either introduce the dua we say before entering the bathroom: (بِسْمِ الله ) اللّهُـمَّ إِنِّـي أَعـوذُ بِـكَ مِـنَ الْخُـبْثِ وَالْخَبائِث . {(Bismil-lah) allahumma innee aAAoothu bika minal-khubthi wal-khaba-ith. ‘(In the name of Allah). O Allah, I take refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.}’ or to reinforce it insha'Allah. You can also take this opportunity to teach/reinforce the dua we say when leaving the bathroom: غُفْـرانَك . {Ghufranak. ‘I ask You (Allah) for forgiveness.’}
  5. Bring the child back to the kitchen insha'Allah. Give the child a tray that he/she can manage to carry unaided insha'Allah. You can buy them online here insha'Allah.
  6. Slowly tell the child the things you will need to make the cookies insha'Allah. Tell the child where the items can be found (i.e. I have put all of the bowls, spoons and measuring cups in this cupboard). Have the child take out one item at a time and place it on the tray (be sure not to allow the child to overload the tray) and carry them to the work area insha'Allah. *This may require more than one trip*
  7. Repeat the process with the food items that will be used in the recipe insha'Allah.
  8. It's a great idea to have a child sized apron for your son/daughter to wear insha'Allah.
  9. With your child, one ingredient at a time, tell the child how much of each ingredient the recipe will need. Show the child the different measuring cups and allow him/her to fill correct cup with the required amount of flour, sugar, etc. insha'Allah and put it into the mixing bowl. Repeat until all ingredients are in the bowl.
  10. Allow the child to use his/her spoon to mix the ingredients insha'Allah.
  11. Invite the child to use cookie cutters or their hands to make different shapes that show things that we use or that are associated with Ramadan.
  12. After the cookies have been placed on the baking sheet and put into the oven, with the child, clean the area and invite the child to return the materials to their proper location insha'Allah.
This will take patience (on your part) but subhana'Allah, the child's enjoyment and the learning that takes place is well worth it. If you prepare the environment ahead of time, this activity will be a memorable one insha'Allah.
Side Note: I had this recipe saved on my computer and do not remember where I got it (same for the picture). I will gladly list the source of both if I find them insha'Allah.
I hope to have time to come back later in the week and provide an explanation of the benefits of preparing the environment for this activity (and others). It is easy to simply mix the batter yourself and invite the child to make the shapes but it is an educational exploration for the five senses to patiently teach the child how to make the cookies on their own (with your supervision of course).
More to come insha'Allah...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Positions of the Salat Activity

Assalamu alaikum,

Now this idea I'd like to hear how it goes with your kids insha'Allah. If you have any suggestions/additions, I'd love to hear them insha'Allah.

This activity has several goals:

This game, "What is He Doing?" will insha’Allah, help children learn the names of four different prayer positions. It will also help children practice completing movements quietly, calmly and slowly. Children will be introduced to the concept of seriousness in the prayer and learn that this is not a time for talk or play because we are standing in front of Allah. Insha’Allah, this will lay a foundation for later development of khushoo’ (calmness) in the salat.

The Secondary Goal of the Game: Children will practice their fine motor skills by rolling and unrolling a prayer rug insha’Allah.

The game includes a lesson plan, the activity (spinner with arrows) and extension activity in one file insha'Allah.

The extension activity has picture and word cards to allow the child to practice matching the picture showing a certain position of salat with the name of that position. This extension is for older children who are learning to read alhamdulillah. Children around 4 years old may enjoy the extension of the game insha'Allah.

The game itself can be played with children as young as 24 months old because the pictures show the positions that children are familiar with from seeing family and friends do while praying. Many times children joyfully fling themselves onto the floor (fully laid out..hehe) to emulate the position of sujood. Take advantage of this joy of learning and keenness to imitate and build upon your child's natural curiosity and desire insha'Allah.

Enjoy the game insha'Allah!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Arabic Alphabet Game II - All Letters

Assalamu alaikum,

Jazakillahu Khayr dear sister Umm Abdul Basir. This sister emailed me with a request to have a second Arabic Alphabet Game that includes all of the Arabic Alphabet insha'Allah. Dear sister, I hope you and your family enjoy this game insha'Allah.





This second game is a little more challenging and is most appropriate for children ages 36 months and older insha'Allah. However, you know your child better than anyone else. If your child is requesting to learn the Arabic Alphabet, then by all means, teach him/her insha'Allah.


This game has three different ways to play insha'Allah:

Directions for Play
  1. Print the game board, game pieces and Picture Identification Chart.

  2. Laminate for durability (optional). It is recommended that you mount the game pieces on card stock, cut them out and them laminate them or at minimum laminate them insha’Allah. This will not only make them last longer insha’Allah, it will make the game easier to play for options b and c (below) and prevent the game pieces from being easily moved or lost insha’Allah.

  3. Print spinner (English numbers spinner, Arabic numbers spinner, English numbers spinner numbers 1-8).
  4. There are three ways to play this game insha’Allah.
  • Have the child spin the spinner and move his/her piece the number of spaces indicated on the spinner. Have the child say the name of the letter that they have landed on. If they do not name the letter correctly, say, “Jazakillahu Khayr. You said (the name of the letter the child said). Please tell me the name of the letter you landed on insha’Allah.”

  • The same as ‘a’ above but when the child lands on the letter, have him/her find a game piece that has the picture that starts with the letter they landed on. Have the child place the game piece (with the picture) over the letter they have landed on. Keep playing until all letters have been covered with a game piece insha’Allah.

  • Use the game as a matching game. Give the child the game pieces and invite him/her to match all of the game pieces to their corresponding letters on the game board. CONTROL OF ERROR: All game pieces have the letter that the picture on the game piece starts with. This will help the child visually match the letters on the game board to the letters on the game pieces insha’Allah.
Enjoy the game insha'Allah!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Nice Montessori Website (from what I've seen)

Assalamu alaikum,

This site, Wikisori.org, seems like a nice resource for parents/teachers who use the Montessori method of education. I haven't had a chance to browse the site with depth but so far what I've seen looks very nice.


I hope to spend some time browsing around the site and insha'Allah, there will be much that we can benefit from insha'Allah. They have albums that have detailed lesson plans (called presentations in Montessori education), and the materials & information they have starts at 3 years old. Topics they have include: Practical Life, Language, Math, and Science.
Insha'Allah, you'll find something that you can use in your home and/or classroom insha'Allah. I've added it to the list of Useful Websites (on the left hand side of the page) to make it easy to find again if you should wish to do so insha'Allah. Enjoy insha'Allah!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Ramadan For the Littlest Muslims

Assalamu alaikum,

Insha'Allah, Ramadan is 1 month and 5 days away (based on the sighting of the moon insha'Allah)! We'd like to start getting prepared for this blessed month by posting arts/crafts, activities, recipes & baking that the little ones can participate in insha'Allah, and other resources that may help us make Ramadan truly special for the littlest Muslims insha'Allah.


With so many non-Muslim holidays surrounding our children, some parents find it challenging to help their kids see how Ramadan is far superior to the holidays that, because of the marketing and advertising supporting and bolstering them, compete for their attention and loyalty. We seek Allah's Help in this and all matters.

So, here is our plan insha'Allah: Starting at the end of this month insha'Allah, we will begin posting ideas, crafts, etc. to make the month of Ramadan special for our Muslim children insha'Allah. I've already began compiling craft ideas and I'm keeping an eye out for Ramadan recipes over at Saha wa Afia. I've started writing Ramadan poems for this age group that can either be read to them or be used in various craft projects insha'Allah.
And we'll have a special section just for Ramadan so that way, when you need an idea you don't have to search through the age categories insha'Allah. Quick, easy and insha'Allah simple. So check back because we're getting ramped up for the Blessed month of Ramadan insha'Allah! Ah, I can't wait!

You know what? Why wait until the end of the month?! Let's start now insha'Allah. Here's the first Ramadan Actvitiy pack insha'Allah. I found this at Freewebs.salafisisters.com. It's got lots of great ideas for children 3-4 years old insha'Allah. So enjoy and insha'Allah there's more to come!

Oh! If you've got ideas that you use with your little ones, please do share insha'Allah! Our goal is to benefit as many Muslim families as we can insha'Allah.

Photo Credits: Sweets by Julie70; Computer & Planner by Cygnoir

Monday, July 13, 2009

Make your own Islamic Sewing Cards

Assalamu alaikum,

You know those nifty Sewing Cards that we use so often to help children refine/practice their fine motor skills? Well, why not make your own Islamic Sewing Cards? After a long absence, I've taken a few moments to post this wonderful summer craft idea that is great for road trips or just giving the kids some quiet time. And why restrict them to summer? Use them all year round insha'Allah!

Sewing cards give children time to focus on an activity that is repetitive and calming. The repetition gives them practice at mastering a skill and they will need to settle themselves (internally) and focus because of the fine motor skills required. Sewing cards are also used with children who express an interest in learning how to sew. No matter what you use the cards for, an extension to an Islamic activity you've just taught, a road trip activity or just a quiet time activity, your child will benefit in several ways insha'Allah. Among the benefits are: the use of sewing cards helps children work on their fine motor and finger skills - both of which are important for later use in writing and drawing insha'Allah. And more importantly, seeing their religion represented in everyday activities reinforces the universality of Islam and fosters their sense of belonging insha'Allah.

What I've done is give you some shapes/pictures to get you started in making your own Islamic Sewing Cards insha'Allah. Download the shapes/pictures here insha'Allah and the directions are below insha'Allah.


What you'll need insha'Allah:

  • Cardboard or Card Stock
  • Islamic Pictures/Images (download here insha'Allah)
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Yarn
  • Blunt needle or tape
  • Hole-punch



How to make Islamic Sewing Cards:
  1. Find some cardboard or card stock that is durable and the size you will need for the shape/picture insha'Allah.
  2. Cut out the picture/shape that you would like to use insha'Allah
  3. Glue the shape/picture onto the card board and cut the cardboard or card stock around the image.
  4. Use a hole-punch/paper-punch to make evenly spaced holes around the edge of the shape/picture. Make sure the spaces are far enough apart to allow your child's hands to manipulate the needle through the holes insha'Allah.
  5. Cut a piece of yarn so it will be long enough to be stitched around the edge of the entire shape/picture insha'Allah.
  6. Thread the piece of yarn through a blunt needle (or you can tape the end of the yarn that the child will put through the holes insha'Allah).
Show your child how to do the activity and once they engage in it, move away and allow them to focus and enjoy insha'Allah!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Subhana'Allah! 12 Days!

Assalamu alaikum,

Subhana'Allah! It's really been 12 days since I've posted anything?! Please forgive me. I thought that with school letting out, my time would open up a bit but it has been quite the opposite subhana'Allah. Is that happening to anyone else?

I've tried to buzz my co-blogger and see if perhaps she can fill in while I'm sorting things out over this way insha'Allah. As soon as we come up with a solution insha'Allah, I'll post with an update insha'Allah.

Jazakillahu khayr

Sister Umm An-Nu'man

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