Sunday, May 30, 2010

Check it Out: Gymboree's Parents Guide to Play

Assalamu alaikum,

This is a nice resource for parents to have on hand to provide fun, developmentally appropriate (but not all Islamcially appropriate) activities for children birth to two and a half years old. I would recommend this if you have a really young infant, otherwise, many of the activities will be those that you've probably heard and/or read about already.

From the book:
More than 170 activities to stimulate imaginations, expand vocabularies, build skills, and much more!

Here is an activity that we did that was an adaptation of one of the activities in the book:

I really thought that this activity was not going to produce much excitement (or that it would be ignored) but, I was shocked when the squeals of laughter kept coming each time a car was sent into the tunnel and came speeding out the other end. Subhana'Allah, simple pleasures...

You can buy the book by clicking on it in the box below or the next time you're at the library...Check it out insha'Allah!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bargain stores help with homeschooling

Assalamu alaikum,

Many times I've read that trying to homeschool using the Montessori method can be expensive can be. Some of the materials can be costly and not within your budget (this can be true even for schools).

Very seldom do I buy brand new wooden toys because I think I would go broke very quickly (smile). So I peruse the local bargain stores to see what wonderful find awaits me and sometimes, alhamdulillah, I find good things - like this puzzle:

I usually see these types of puzzles selling from $9 - $14.00. At the local bargain store I bought this one for $2.99 alhamdulillah and it was in excellent condition!

So while homeschooling the Montessori way can be expensive, it also can be inexpensive too alhamdulillah (well...if you've got some nice bargain stores around, or if not, try local garage sells too insha'Allah).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Together We Read: June Book Selection + A Giveaway!

Assalamu alaikum,

I love this book! The story is so sweet that I just couldn't wait to announce it as the selected book for June for "Together We Read".  Only You, by Robin Cruise is just a loving, warm, tender story that can be read to infants, toddlers, and kindergarteners. This is a great bedtime or anytime story. And....I love this story so much that I've decided that I will give away a brand new hardcover copy of this book fi sabillillah (for the sake of Allah) insha'Allah.

To enter the giveaway just leave a comment in which you very briefly mention why you enjoy reading aloud to your child and I'll have to go figure out that thingy (hehe) to let it select the winner insha'Allah. I only hope that the book will arrive to the winner before our next Together We Read post but even if it doesn't, the book will still be yours to read to your child over and over again insha'Allah. You can buy the book on or plan now to reserve it from your local library insha'Allah.

To be eligiable for the giveaway, just leave a comment between now and Tuesday, June 1st (before midnight, eastern standard time). The winner will be announced Friday, June 4th insha'Allah.

And I sincerely hope you will all join us as we read, together, Only You by Robin Cruise (or any book you'd like) in June insha'Allah.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Worth the Read insha'Allah

Assalamu alaikum,

Over the last several days, aside from my daily read alouds, I've been (as usual) enjoying my own private reading as well alhamdulillah. I requested these two books from the library (I forgot to mention: there are some things that contridict Islam in the books - please skip that and benefit from the material that is in accordance with the Shar'iah) :

Even before I received them (and started reading them) I'd ordered Baby Read Aloud Basics off of Amazon for...guess how much...a penny! Plus shipping of course but still, a penny! Alhamdulillah! I'm going back for the Read Aloud Handbook too insha'Allah.

If you don't read aloud to your child regularly (here Umm An-Nu'man winces), please grab these books from your local library, find them on Amazon for that penny I talked about, borrow them from someone you know who has them, but get them into your hands and read them insha'Allah. Even if you do read aloud to your child(ren) regularly (here Umm An-Nu'man says alhamdulillah very merrily), they are worth the read (and the penny). And once you've begun reading these two books, your mind will snap awake and say, "Hey! Guess which book needs to be at the top of the daily read aloud list?" And your wonderful, alert mind will readily provide the correct answer insha'Allah: The Quran.

We listen to the Quran each day alhamdulilah and we read aloud from the Quran regularly but not as often as I'd like but our new goal: each day, every day, start the day, end the day, it doesn't matter where in the day but the Quran needs to be read aloud insha'Allah.

Allah revealed to His Last Messenger to mankind over 1400 years ago:

اقْرَأْ بِاسْمِ رَبِّكَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ

خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ مِنْ عَلَقٍ

اقْرَأْ وَرَبُّكَ الْأَكْرَمُ

الَّذِي عَلَّمَ بِالْقَلَمِ

عَلَّمَ الْإِنسَانَ مَا لَمْ يَعْلَمْ

{Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists).

He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood).

Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous.

Who has taught (the writing) by the pen.

He has taught man that which he knew not.}

Surah 96: 1-5

So, what surah will you be reading aloud tomorrow insha'Allah?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A nice Montessori Classroom

Assalamu alaikum,

This is a nice Montessori classroom! So calm and organized! Click here to view the slideshow insha'Allah! I'm guessing this school is somewhere in the states but still, you can get lovely ideas for classroom arrangement (or your child's home environment).

Enjoy insha'Allah!

'Use Your Right Hand' Art Activity

Assalamu aliakum,

This is an activity that I put together to help children learn (and apply) these ahadith (a simplified version):

Narrated 'Umar bin Abi Salama: I was a boy under the care of Allah's Apostle and my hand used to go around the dish while I was eating. So Allah's Apostle said to me, 'O boy! Mention the Name of Allah and eat with your right hand, and eat of the dish what is nearer to you." Since then I have applied those instructions when eating. {Bukhari}

Narrated by Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), who said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) liked to start with the right when putting on his shoes, dismounting (from his camel), when cleaning himself and in all things." (Agreed upon).

Alhamdulillah, as I wanted/intended (and modeled), the toddler intentionally tried to get the blue hands to fit inside of/match the outline of the hands on the poster board subhana'Allah! It was perfectly okay that the blue hands didn't make it (they had soo much fun!). The goal was to work on hand-eye coordination so I'll set this activity out again to allow for more practice insha'Allah.

Can you see in the bottom left corner where the toddler is holding the paint tray?..hehe...refueling!

To make this you will need:

- Small wooden hands from a craft store
(the hands I got can be turned over to be either left or right hands)
- Glue gun
- Sponge (preferably without the coarse part on
the back for scrubbing - it's not easy to cut off!
- Wooden knob
- White poster board
- Non-toxic paint and paint tray
- Newspaper (to avoid a mess on the floor)
- Fine tip marker

Here is what you do:

1). On the white poster board, trace the hands before you start assembling the hand sponge painter.

2). Take one of the right hands and trace it backward (i.e. as if it were a left hand) onto the sponge.

3). Cut out the sponge hand. Set aside.

4). Take both of the wooden hands and, using a glue gun, glue them together back to back. When they are dry, screw on the wooden knob.

5). Take the sponge hand outline and, using the glue gun, glue it to the back of the right hand (the two you glued together).

You're done and ready to paint insha'Allah! And this little hand is easy to clean. Just gently rub with warm water and soap until the paint comes takes less than a minute alhamdulillah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Together We Read update

Assalamu aliakum,

Sis Umm Sara and sis Umm Maimoonah have made an excellent suggestion: they've ask that I announce which books will be used for "Together We Read" ahead of time so those who wish to use the same book will have ample time to locate the book. No problem at all insha'Allah! (smile). I'll announce the book for June on May 31st insha'Allah. Is that enough time? Let me know, and if not, I can post it earlier insha'Allah.

I thought about that but didn't want to seem as if I was imposing the book I chose on anyone..hehe.

I'll also leave the Mr. Linky open longer for those who are trying to find "Where's That Cat?" I know it's on (see the box below) but insha'Allah, you're local library can locate it for you.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Together We Read - First Book Alhamdulillah!

Assalamu alaikum,

(I'm going to alternate buttons for each post insha'Allah...boy, girl, boy, girl...)

Here is the first book we read:

This is a really cute book that toddlers 18 months and older may find very enjoyable insha'Allah. Each page asks the reader if the cat could be in a different place and has a peek-a-boo window with a part of what appears to be the cat, showing. So readers think that yes, there's the cat but when you turn the page....well....I won't ruin it for you (smile).

We did several activities to supplement this book. The first was a direction game in Arabic using cats.

All cards are not pictured. There are cards for on, under, next to, in, behind, and in front of. 

I did this activity Montessori style. I placed one card on the right hand side of the mat and then placed three cards on the bottom in random order. The child was then asked to find the card that matched (i.e. where is the cat that is on top of the car?) and place it next to its mate.

Later, I intend to turn these cards into a memory game insha'Allah. I've include the back of the memory cards if you wish to do that insha'Allah. And the cards are in Arabic only or Arabic with transliteration. 

Then we put together a little book that helps children recall what items were in the shed in the story.

Then I felt this story was a wonderful way to introduce/include a short biography of Abu Huraira (father of the kitten). The book is small (in size and number of pages) and I printed it on cardstock and then had it spiral bound. 



Next, there are two activities to help practice handwriting and learn the word family" 'at' and for working with rhyming words (words that rhyme with shed in this activity).



If you laminate these pages (or use clear packing tape) you can give the child a dry erase marker. This way the little booklet can be re-used insha'Allah.

Here are the files for our activities:

See the crafts we did for this book here insha'Allah!

For linking: You can enter your blog link up until Saturday morning, May 31st, at 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time insha'Allah. **Please leave a direct link to your "Together We Read" post and not a link to your blog's homepage. This makes it easier on everyone to go directly to your post and see what you read and did insha'Allah. Jazakum Allahu Khayran!**

And if you don't blog, leave a comment and share what you read and what you did. We'd love to hear about it insha'Allah!

So, what did you read? Link up insha'Allah!

Check it Out: Jody's Beans

Assalamu alaikum,

This book was a delight to bring from the library and just in time for spring alhamdulillah. Suitable for older toddlers (36 months and up) and kindergarteners, Jody's Beans is a warm story of a little girls gardening pleasures shared with her grandfather. I truly appreciate books that connect children to their extended family and help forge a link between grandparent and grandchild. The story also incorporates, very tastefully, an introduction to the changes plants undergo during the different seasons and what is needed to properly care for a plant.

There are numerous activities & crafts that can be used with this book.
Here are just a few that come to mind alhamdulillah:

1). Grow your own runner beans.
2). Use Popsicle sticks and pipe cleaners to make the teepee in the book; make paper vines and flowers to attach to the Popsicle stick teepee.
3). Make a miniature notebook about the seeds and how they grow.
4). A practical life activity can include buying runner beans from the store and inviting the child to remove the beans from the pods - this is also great fine motor skill work!
5). Make a mini collage about what plants look like as they change with each season
6). Visit a local farm in your area that grows runner beans and allows people to pick their own produce. Allow your little one to help with the picking insha'Allah.

You can buy the book by click on it in the box below or the next time you're at the library....check it out insha'Allah!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wooden Spool Threading Activity

Assalamu aliakum,

This is a simply threading activity I sat out this afternoon for practice with fine motor skills. 

I found these wooden spools at the local craft store and paired them with a pipe cleaner, which I knotted at the bottom so the spools won't slide off, to make a quick threading activity alhamdulillah.

 The wooden spools are large so small hands can pick
them up without much difficulty. The child can then
focus on getting the spools threaded onto the pipe cleaner.

Here was a modification made for younger infants/toddlers:

Line the wooden spools up (while the child is watching), starting from the child's right (or left if your child is learning to read in English) and ending at the child's left (or right for the English language).

I used a wooden dowel and grabbed a thick rubber band (spur of the moment and wound it around the bottom so the spools would not fall off. A surprising benefit was that the rubber band helped the child hold the dowel to remove the spools.

Simple afternoon work to end the day alhamdulillah. 
Enjoy insha'Allah! 

Felt Story Board: Camping

Assalamu alaikum,

We're enjoying the spring showers here but we are excited for summer because summer is a time for food, fun, and camping insha'Allah! To get ready insha'Allah, we read a small story I wrote (only because I couldn't find a suitable book at the library...hehe)

click on the image to read the story insha'Allah

and then we had fun re-telling the story with this camping felt story board I found at the local bargain shop alhamdulillah.


As many families and communities are preparing for camping trips this summer insha'Allah, I thought this might be a nice way to introduce our youngest Musilms to the joys of the outdoors insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Dragonfly Clothespin Magnets and Popsicle Shed Crafts

Assalamu alaikum,

These two crafts are connected to the book we read for "Together We Read", so this post will be linked up to our first "Together We Read" post this Saturday insha'Allah.  We made dragonfly magnets out of clothes pins but my favourite one, the green one with pink wings, got its wings torn off!....eek! of baby fingers.

and next we made a shed using popsicle sticks and construction paper:

Materials needed for both crafts:

- Non-Toxic paint
- Clothes pins (preferable with the rounded tops)
- Construction paper (for the wings)
- Glitter (optional)
- Paint brushes
- Glue (non-toxic)
- Popsicle Sticks
- Markers

This gives you a sneak peek ;) at what our book was about but come back this Saturday insha'Allah to see the book and all of the activities related to it insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Baby's Day Vocabulary Building Activity

Assalamu alaikum,

This activity is one suited for infants 12 -18 months insha'Allah. It helps build vocabulary and can easily be modified to include gross motor skill work.

Each page has a picture of an item that is normally part of many babies day: diapers, wipes, bibs, etc. Before we read the book Baby's Day, I gathered all of the items that were in the book (those that were suitable for the activity) and then we sat down to read the book.

I then set up all of the items in a circle around us:

That red blurb is the remains of a much handled yarn The other items include: a diaper, a small baby towel, a teething ring, a small drinking glass, a plastic bowl, a bib, a book and some wipes.

To do the activity: Re-read the book and pause at each picture and say the name of the item and point it out to the infant/toddler insha'Allah. Re-read the book again. This time pause at each item and invite the child to find the item and put it into the basket. 

To incorporate gross motor skill work, place the basket at a distance and invite the infant (if mobile)/toddler to run and place the item in the basket. Get excited about it and model how to do this so the child can see how to do it insha'Allah.  

When the activity is done place the basket on a low shelf so the infant/toddler can get it to play with as often as he/she wishes insha'Allah. This book was in our local library but if you'd like to buy it you can fnd it here insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Enjoying the spring weather

Assalamu alaikum,

The spring weather has been so tempting that it's just irresistible. It's that time to enjoy the sun (and some rain) filled days alhamdulillah but insha'Allah, I'll be back to posting some time this week.

Insha'Allah you're enjoying the spring!


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