Monday, June 28, 2010

Masjid Center Piece/Mobile Craft

Assalamu alaikum,

We made this masjid centre piece (that could actually be a mobile) craft over the weekend.

and here (below) is sister Oum Alya's that she and her children did masha'Allah. Isn't it gorgeous masha'Allah? Hop over to her blog and see more pics insha'Allah *smile*

 All we used to make this was:

* three cut out shapes of a masjid
* crayons
* three popscile sticks
* gluestick

I cut out the masaajid and then we coloured them together. Afterward, I glued each of the masaajid to the popscile sticks so that the centre piece (that could actually be a mobile) was able to stand on its own on the table.

This is the inside of the masjid craft

A simple colouring activity for a rainy/overcast day alhamdulillah. Here are the masaajid pieces we used to make this. I'm actually thinking of another way to use this craft to go with the other activities I have planned for the July, Together We Read, book, "Who Made the Builders?" insha'Allah.  

By the way, have you entered the giveaway for that book yet? If not, please enter before the 30th for a chance to win a free copy of the book insha'Allah.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Creating a Print Rich Environment: Camels and the Arabic Alphabet

Assalamu alaikum,

"A print rich classroom is one in which children interact with many forms of print including signs, labeled centers, wall stories, word displays, labeled murals, bulletin boards, charts, poems and other printed material."
U.S. Department of Education

*Post Updated - Files Added Alhamdulillah*

The importance of a print rich environment is essential to help children build pre-reading skills that are necessary to go on to become fluent, proficient, strong readers insha'Allah. For toddlers, the alphabet is one of the first things that they begin to learn on their road to becoming readers.

As we continue our summer enjoying ourselves with quality literature, I've been thinking of ways to introduce more print into the environment (visually) insha'Allah. I made this...what do you call it when there is a long line of animals trekking across the desert? I forget...well I made this to help on the road to learning the Arabic alphabet insha'Allah.

I had to back up far enough to get the entire line of camels
The lead camel ends his journey at the Ka'aba and they started their journey across our wall at these two palm trees (all of the letters are not shown in the close-up).

This little procession - that's what it's called yes? - is at eye level but just high enough that little hands won't tear the camels off of the wall insha'Allah. I placed it in the area where most of our read alouds are done but where it is also visible from most parts of the room insha'Allah. I think this can be converted later on to a bulletin board insha'Allah; sandy background, sun in the sky, a few clouds. What do you think?

Here are the files I used to make this: Alphabet Camels (Medium Size w/ Ka'aba included); Alphabet Camels Large (no Ka'bab); Palm Trees.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Slideshow of beautiful infant/toddler classroom

Assalamu alaikum,

Sharing beautiful things: This is a slideshow that shows a gorgeous Montessori Infant/Toddler classroom.

There are lots of ideas to be gleaned for setting up a comfortable, beautiful, purposeful, and fun learning environment for your infant or toddler at home insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

July Book Selection for Together We Read (and another giveaway!)

Assalamu alaikum,

For those who wish to obtain the book selected for July for 'Together We Read', I am happy to announce that the book will be, "Who Made the Builders?" by Mizanur Rahman.

We will not be able to obtain a hardcopy of this book but alhamdulillah with technology we have obtained a flash copy! And....(this is a good and insha'Allah *smile*), I thought of my sisters in Islam who are unable to have books shipped to them in other parts of the world and I decided that insha'Allah, I will do another giveaway! A Muslim Child is Born will give away 5 flash copies of "Who Made the Builders?" for Together We Read" insha'Allah.

To ensure that you get the flash book in your possession in time to do some activities (if you wish), the giveaway will open today (now) and close on June 30, 2010, at midnight, eastern standard time insha'Allah.

If you'd like to get a hardcopy you can visit Happy Books and order your copy now insha'Allah.

I will post the activities for this book on July 15th insha'Allah and you can link up until August 14, 2010 to share what activities you and your child(ren) did with "Who Made the Builders?".

So leave a comment, and on June 30th, the thingy will pick five winners insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Muslim Paper Dolls

Assalamu aliakum,

Dear Sister Umm Danyal who has kindly illustrated several book covers for me has designed some adorable paper dolls for me. So many children enjoy playing with paper dolls; such a wonderful activity to inspire the imagination.

So you can imagine how happy I was when I opened my email and there they were! After some careful cutting and colouring we will be ready to have imaginary play time insha'Allah. We decided that they are brother and sister and that there are lots of adventures to be had with them insha'Allah.

Hopefully I'll come back and update this post because I'd love to share these with you all insha'Allah. So check back later this evening and insha'Allah, the file will be here to download.

Here they are alhamdulillah!

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Blog! You're invited!

Assalamu aliakum,

I've got a new ( blog alhamdulillah!

My new blog is just a quiet, comfy space where I'd like to share great kids books, information on literacy, lesson planning, and thoughts on education in general insha'Allah. It'll be a "from the classroom" perspective and maybe even a bit more personal (we'll insha'Allah. And depending on which grade I'm teaching next school year (if Allah decrees that I'm teaching next year insha'Allah), this blog will follow along with the curriculum of the grade I'm teaching.

My new blog is called, "The Well Read Muslim because I'm a strong believer in Muslim children being competent readers and I want our children to be those who enjoy and love to read insha'Allah. Stop on by - of course you're invited!

The Well Read Muslim

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Together We Read: June Book & Activities

Assalamu alaikum,

The book we read in June for Together We Read was, Only You, by Robin Cruise.

And then...
The first line of the story gave me an idea. The first line reads:

When sunrise glows peachy rose at dawn,
I love the way you stretch and yawn.

Well, I had to change the part about yawning when I read it aloud because yawning is from the shaytaan (I didn't even notice that when I chose the book subhana'Allah- someone pointed that out to me later) but the part about dawn gave me this idea: to learn some of the dua that we say in the morning after the fajr.

So I painted (well tried to the first scene from the story:

This is hanging on the wall at toddler level. In the morning, the windows in the larger house open to reveal:

Two of the adiya'a that we say in the morning.

The small house on the left side of the picture says, "Adhkar As-Sabah" (Morning Supplications).

So now each morning, we can open the windows of the house and say the adthar as a way to learn them insha'Allah. The dua cards can be changed so when we have learned these insha'Allah, I'll put a new dua in each window insha'Allah.

To go along with the poster, we made a little book of dua:

These last two pictures show how small the book is compared with a sheet of A4 paper and then the back cover of the book. There are 19 pages with dua on them (I think one repeats).

After this we did games about the parts of the body because throughout the story different parts of the body are mentioned and the person reading aloud will read that he/she loves the child's hand in theirs, their hair, etc.

The first game

The second game

There is also a wheel that has only four body parts (for beginners)

We took turns spinning and whatever body part we landed on we said the name of the body part and looked for the matching card. If we got it correct we keep the card, if not we put it back. The cards can also be used without the spinner for other games too insha'Allah. We put the cards from both games into one deck and placed them face down. We took turns picking a card, naming the body part and then indentifying it on our own bodies. We then put the cards back into the stack/deck. We also talked about how each of our body parts is a gift from Allah and we talked about what we use each body part for (i.e. the ear is used to listen to Quran, ahadith, the speech of other humans and the sounds that animals make, etc.). I also wanted to order this Body Parts Felt set but it seems if you live outside of the United States then the shipping is prohibitively expensive so we left it.

I did not have the chance to put the body parts cards in Arabic with the transliteration but I made a pronunciation chart. If you'd like to use the little book of dua you can download it here (Arabic/English) and the Dua Book with Arabic Transliteration here and if you'd like to use the body parts games you can download them here insha'Allah.

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

Monday, June 14, 2010

Over in the Meadow - A Beautiful Book

Assalamu alaikum,

We have read and re-read this book many, many times since I brought it home from the library. I like the story so much that I grab the book and volunteer to read it aloud frequently.

I also checked out the same story but illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats.
If you like his art work then you will like this version of the book insha'Allah.

We like the story as illustrated by Anna Vojtech. The illustrations are beautiful and the use of subtle colours just won us over. The rhyme is attributed to Olive A. Wadsworth and is great for infants and toddlers. After the Quran and Ahadith, this story can be used as a springboard to pointing out the stunning ayaat in Allah's Creation. His creations, big and small, form their own communities and many of the mothers care for and nurse their young as do humans. This is a gentle rhyme that not only introduces counting but can be used to teach empathy and kindness toward animals as well insha'Allah. This seems to be the kind of book that we will read again and again over the period of many years insha'Allah.

The next time you're in the library...check it out insha'Allah! I think you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Nature Observation Lesson Plan for 2 Year olds

Assalamu alaikum,

This is an activity that is excellent for this time of year. You can easily incorporate tawheed by talking about who made all that the child observes. You can also mention ayaat in the Quran where Allah mentions the plants and living things He has created. Some ayaat include:

وَأَنزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ

And We send down water (rain) from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein.
{Suran Luqman: ayah 10}


وَالْأَرْضَ مَدَدْنَاهَا وَأَلْقَيْنَا فِيهَا رَوَاسِيَ وَأَنبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِن كُلِّ زَوْجٍ بَهِيجٍ

And the earth! We have spread it out, and set thereon mountains standing firm, and have produced therein every kind of lovely growth (plants).
{Surah Qaf: ayah 7}

Montessori “Twos” Activity: Observing Nature Close Up

Photo Credit: Per Ola Wiberg

This Montessori Twos activity is an excerpt from the NAMC Twos A manual that offers a sensory exploration in the outdoor environment.

Primary Goal

Expanding experience of the natural world.

Secondary Goals

Developing sensory skills; developing language; developing practical life skills; developing the ability to observe quietly; developing respect for other living things.

   Photo Credit: William Cho

Outside area where there is grass and where the child can sit or lie without harming garden plants. Use a long rope to mark off a small area about 2 feet in diameter.

Child-size magnifying glass.

Clothes and footwear appropriate for outdoors.

Safety note: Stay conscious of the weather. If the sun is shining brightly, there is a chance the magnifying glass can burn the child or the grass. Choose an overcast day or choose to do this activity in the early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is not so hot.


This Montessori activity appeals particularly to the interests and abilities of twos 30–36 months old.

In advance, rope off the area where you want to present the activity.

Invite the Montessori child to go outside and look for interesting things.

With the child, get the magnifying glass, then put on outdoor clothing.

Outside, show the child the area you have roped off. Lie down on the grass on your stomach, with your head and arms inside the marked-off area. Invite the child to lie down beside you.

Hold the magnifying glass just above a blade of grass and move your eye close.

Observe quietly for a few moments, then pause and smile at the child.

Offer the magnifying glass to the child. Show him/her how the magnifying glass makes a blade of grass or a stone look larger. For example, look at the blade of grass with just your eye, then look at it through the magnifying glass. To model respect for the earth, do not pick up stones and do not tear up blades of grass to look at them.

With the child, quietly look at any interesting things within the roped-off area, such as dandelions, tiny plants, leaves, sticks, and pebbles. If you see an insect, point it out to the child and invite him/her to look at it with the magnifying glass. Again, to model respect for the insect, do not touch the insect or try to pick it up. For example, say: “I see an ant. It looks big when we look at it through the magnifying glass, but it is really very tiny. We don’t want to hurt it, so we won’t pick it up. Look how fast it crawls.”
 Photo Credit: UGAardener

Stay with the child for a few minutes, quietly looking at interesting things and watching for and identifying insects.

Invite the child to continue the activity. For example, say: “Now you watch.”

Give the child time to continue the activity.

As soon as the child begins focusing on the grass, quietly get up and let the child work undisturbed. As with all outdoor activities, remain nearby to watch for the child’s safety.

If the child does not start or does not seem to know what to do, ask: “May I help?” Then gently guide the child’s hand to pick up the magnifying glass and hold it to a blade of grass or a stone. As soon as you feel the child engage, gently remove your hand and allow the child to work on his/her own.

When the child has finished the Montessori activity, encourage the child to return the magnifying glass to its proper place and hang up her/his outdoor clothing. If necessary, do these tasks with the child. This completes the activity.

Make sure that the magnifying glass stays available — on a low shelf, for example, for the child to work with when she/he wishes.

Extensions to this Montessori activity could include exploration of plants and insects in the outdoor environment, reading reference books about what you have observed, drawing pictures, bringing in found objects such as pine cones, shells, pieces of a tree stump, etc., for further work with the magnifying glass.

Courtesy of: North American Montessori Center:

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Spring Flower Arabic Colours Matching Game

Assalamu alaikum,

We have seen some stunning flowers lately alhamdulillah. Just beautiful, vibrant colours that Allah has placed in His creation. To compliment what we have been seeing, I made an Arabic colour matching game using painted wooden flowers and popsicle sticks for the stems.

I painted wooden flower pieces different colours. All of the flowers are the same type to allow the child to focus on colour instead of variation in flower designs. Then I took popsicle sticks and wrote the names of the colours in Arabic on one side. On the back of each stick I painted the corresponding colours of the flowers (this is the control of error in the game, more on that further down insha'Allah) - one stick to match each flower.

The flowers in the bottom right hand corner are gold, silver and yellow but due to the lighting you can't tell.

To play, all of the flowers are laid out. The popsicle sticks are then placed on the table with the colour sides facing down. The child will see only the colour word written in Arabic. The child is then invited to match the 'stem' with the correct flower.

For older children, place the sticks word side up. Invite the child to read the colour name (or you can read it for them insha'Allah) and then invite them to find the corresponding flower to match. The child can check their answers by simply turning the stick over to see if the colour on the opposite side of the stick matches the flower they matched it with (Control of Error).  

For younger toddlers, you can simply have them match the coloured sticks to the correct stick and tell them the name of the colour in Arabic.

You can use cut out flowers from magazine or you can make flowers from construction paper to play this game. Your stems can be made from cardboard, construction paper or whatever is handy and will work insha'Allah.

Enjoy insha'Allah!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Newspaper for Toddlers

Assalamu alaikum,

Last night I decided that as part of providing a print rich environment, I want to introduce the newspaper insha'Allah. So today, I googled newsletter template, found one that I liked and put together our first issue of the Muslim Tot Times!

Here's our first issue. It has a poem about the Quran, a story of one of Ummahatul Muslimeen (the Mothers of the Believers), an introduction to writing a letter, learning a dua and colouring. All of the graphics are courtesy of Easel & Ink. I also mounted this on cardboard for easy toddler handling insha'Allah.

Here's a close-up.

and a screen shot (because the pictures are not so clear...overcast day). If you'd like to read our first issue, you can download a PDF version here insha'Allah.

Insha'Allah, each two months I would like to do an issue and make this type of reading regular and familiar insha'Allah. This is just one part of our Summer Reading Program and insha'Allah it will continue even when the summer is gone.

Do you have a family newspaper? If not, why not start one insha'Allah?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Giveaway winner (and a surprise)

Assalamu alaikum,

It's Friday! Alhamdulillah, I'm very happy to announce that the winner of the June book selection for the "Together We Read" give away is: not just one person but two! I decided to give away two books! So...our winners are: number 5 which is sister Umm Aaminah and number 11 which is sister Alizah Ali. Both winners were chosen by

Tayyib dear sisters, please email me and send me the postal address where you'd like your book, Only You sent and insha'Allah, I'll get it in the poste to you!

Mabruk dear sisters and jazakum Allahu khayran to everyone who participated!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New things coming soon insha'Allah!

Assalamu alaikum,

It's been quiet here lately in my little corner of cyber space but it's so hard to sit in front of a computer when the sun is shining! Trips to local lakes, parks and trying to find a garden, have taken us outdoors alhamdulillah (and I forgot the camera each time subhana'Allah!

I will post some activities in the coming days and tomorrow I'll announce the winner of the giveaway insha'Allah!

See you all tomorrow insha'Allah!

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