Sunday, October 31, 2010

Examples of fatherhood from Shaykh Uthaymeen

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

In an interview with Shaykh Uthaymeen's (rahimullaah) wife, we see examples of the simple things that fathers can do that make such a big difference in a child's life....may Allaah have mercy on the Shaykh and admit him to Paradise...ameen.

This is...beautiful masha'Allaah.

From the interview:

Question 3: How did the Shaykh interact with his children in their private lives?

Answers: His dealings with his sons and daughters fell into two stages. First, in their childhood, he (rahimullah) was keen to be close to them, take care of them, raise some of the Islamic principles in them, and follow their educational achievements. In addition, he made sure to direct, admonish, and incite them. For instance, he would sometimes take the children with him to the masjid to perform some of the fard prayers. Also, he would encourage them to fast some of the days of Ramadan. Furthermore, he would incite them to memorize some of the short surahs of the Qur’aan and reward them on that. In the stage of youth and maturity, he (rahimullaah) was firm concerning their fulfilling of the religious obligations and in discipline in cases of negligence. He would couple that with direction and leniency. At certain times, he was not hesitant to do what was sufficient to change or correct their mistakes. In addition, he (rahimullaah) used to put full trust in them to do certain things so they could learn to depend upon themselves; he used to continuously encourage them on righteousness and check on them regarding that.

And the Shaykh (rahimullaah) with his grandchildren:
...You would also see the signs of pleasure and happiness on him upon receiving his grandchildren. He used to open his cloak to allow them to enter underneath and then inquire about them a few times before reopening it; he would do this several times. Later, he would take them to his library where he kept a special kind of sweets they used to call “halawat abooye” (my father’s sweets). We were keen to ensure that they would not find it, except with him. In addition, despite his busy schedule, he made sure to visit his grandchildren at their homes or in the hospital if any of them were ill; this would have a great influence on them and their patents.

This interview is one of my favourite reads. There is so much benefit in it and so much to take away and apply in your own life subhana'Allaah. If you'd like to read it, you can do so here insha'Allaah.

Reflect and Benefit insha'Allaah....

Check it Out!: Who Is the Beast?

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Sometimes you come across a book that is simply good. This book, "Who Is the Beast?" is one of those books that I like to have in my classroom (and at home) as it is a wonderful read aloud that leads into discussions that young children are very capable of having.

The topic in this book is about something that many children can relate to: being different and people's reaction to what they perceive as 'different'.  Not only can this book be read to children in lower grades (i.e. preschool/kindergarten age), this book can be read to children of all ages all the way up to high school - yes, high school *smile*.

The story is simple and the sentences are simple, repetitive and predictable, which makes it especially suitable for younger children, and the message is one that subtly conveys an important message: that judging another based on how they look is simply not ok. The story encourages the reader to take another look because you may be surprised to learn that what you initially saw may have seemed quite different - and even a bit scary - but perhaps it was not so different or scary after all.

A great library find that will, insha'Allaah, soon be part of my personal collection. And if you happen to be studying animals right now *smile*, and are using the materials from this post, this book may be a nice addition to your animal study...waallahu a'lam. Even if you are not currently studying animals with your little one(s), the next time you stop by the library, check it out insha'Allaah.

If you are a teacher, here (they call the questions philosophical but they are not, they are human need for philosophy, we have Islaam alhamdulillah) you will find a set of questions that may help you start a discussion with your class after the book has been read aloud. These questions can lead a class to discuss how our religion is different and how others have chosen to use this as a reason to dislike us but we can guide children to understand that Allaah and His Messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa salam) told us about this and provided us with Divine and Prophetic guidance to handle these situations with the best of manners, the most excellent speech and the most noble behaviour, when and if they arise. You can take this opportunity to point out that there is absolutely no reason to change oneself if one is following the Truth. Our religion is beautiful and it is a great Blessing from Allaah. Allaahu Akbar...

View pages from the book here insha'Allaah

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arabic Letter Games for Mixed Level Classes

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

These are two games intended for classes with students who have varying levels of knowledge of the Arabic letters. I did these just to see if I am on the right track.  If this is too easy or not conducive to your class setting (for the individual who requested activities for this class situation), please do let me know and I can have another go at it insha'Allaah *smile*. If, however, these are on the right track walhamdulillah, I can (if needed) do a few more games for your class insha'Allaah.

The first game is a letter hunt called 'Find Me':

In the file, there are letter cards for each letter of the Arabic alphabet. There are two sets, one set has a background (sample pictured above) and the other set does not. Students are divided into two equal groups (if possible) and each student is given a card. Group 1 would be given a card from the coloured background set of cards and group 2 students would each receive cards that have a white background.

Invite the students to seek out the student who has the letter that matches the letter on their card. This exercise requires that students ask each other to see their cards, thus exposing them to seeing many Arabic letters as they search for their matching partner. You can also ask the students to add language to the activity by asking them to say to a student (as they are searching for their match), "Assalamu alaikum. I have the letter ___. What letter do you have?" The other student would then respond, "Waalaikum assalam. I have the letter ____.  Subhana'Allaah, my letter does not match your letter." The students then move on to the next person and repeat the same dialogue. This ensures each student hears a variety of letters as they search, which insha'Allaah will help them with recognition and memorization insha'Allaah. 

Control of Error is built into the game in the following manner: there are different flowers on each letter card (no two flowers are the same on any given letter but the letters on both sets of cards each have the same flower to match - i.e. the alif card with a coloured background has the same flower as the alif card with the white background). If a student believes she has found her match, both students can self-check by verifying that their flowers are the same, if they are not, they know they need to continue their serach insha'Allaah.

The second activity is for students who have a firm grasp of the letters and may be ready to begin identifying the letters as they look when connected:

This activity is called 'What Letter?'. Each student is given a card (like the two cards pictured above). The student is then given a Do-a-Dot marker (pictured below) or some sort of marker (i.e. a penny, plastic chip, etc.) to indicate the correct answer insha'Allaah. I recommend laminating these cards to allow for the use of the Do-a-Dot marker and so that they can be reused insha'Allaah.

The students then look at the picture and words and mark on the bottom, in the circles, which letter is highlighted in red above. The students do not need to be able to read the words, they only need to be able to identify the highlighted letter and know what that letter is and what it looks like in isolation. When the student is done, he/she can switch cards with another student who has accurately completed his/her card and cleaned if off before switching insha'Allaah.

To the requester of these materials: If you feel that these activities are of the type you feel may benefit your students and would like a few more, please leave a comment and I will do my best to upload more games/activities insha'Allaah. Or, if you need something different please also leave a comment and I will...what do they say? Go back to the drawing board insha'Allaah *smile* . Jazakum Allaahu Khayr.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Check it Out!: Move!

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

'Move!' by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page is a fun book for toddlers because each page involves movement. While reading the book, parents/teachers can pause and invite children to imitate some the movements mentioned in the book, for example: walk, leap and jump.  As I am not sure about imitating animals movements, I did not chose to invite children to imitate movements specific to animals that humans do not do, such as slither...waallaahu a'lam.

The text does not rhyme but children may enjoy the interesting illustrations and the fun facts about how animals get from place to place...and the chance to get up and move is usually welcome for children in this age group (smile). This book may also be a great read aloud to go along with the activities in this post.

Next time you're at the library, check it out insha'Allaah! 
Enjoy insha'Allaah! 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Arabic Animal Activity: Fish

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Here is another activity to go with the 'Animals in Arabic' activities from this post.  At present, we are not studying animals but since the PDF file looked fuzzy, I printed it to be sure it would print alright...alhamdulillah it does. And the activity was really enjoyed here alhamdulillah...*smile*. We even had a chance to use the bulletin board made from recycled materials from this post alhamdulillah!

Children are invited to correctly place the fish in the bowl according to their colour. Inside of the fish bowl each fish's colour is written in Arabic. Children have to glue the fish in the correct space.

Here is the worksheet (it has Arabic, English and Transliteration) before we did the activity.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Animals: Arabic Vocabulary Activities

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

These are some activities for learning the names of different animals in Arabic. Sis Umm Sara, please let me know if you had something different in mind or if these activities are too easy, not enough, etc.

The first is similar to Bingo:

In the file there are two game boards and two sets of name cards. Each child gets a game board. Cut out the name cards, shuffle them and place them in a stack between the children. The children take turns picking a card and matching it to the correct animal on their board. If the name card they picked does not name an animal on their game board they return the card to the bottom of the stack. The first to correctly fill their game board wins. Download "What Is That" Game Here insha'Allaah

The second activity is a small reader that talks about animals on a farm:

This reader has Arabic and English text but no transliteration. This was done to assist those looking for short, free down-loadable children's books in Arabic.The colour word brown is also learned/emphasised in the story and the children have a small drawing and colouring activity at the end of the book. Download "On Our Farm" book here insha'Allaah

The next activity is intended for young toddlers. These are two piece puzzles that have the names of the animal on the puzzle in Arabic and English (with transliteration):

After printing and mounting the puzzles on sturdy cardboard (or cardstock), cut them in half. Mix all of the puzzle pieces together (to make the activity more challenging) and invite the child to correctly match the Arabic name of the animal with the English name. The control of error is the picture of the animal. If the child incorrectly matches the pieces, he/she will notice that the pictures do not match and the child can self-correct insha'Allaah. Download Animal Puzzles here insha'Allaah (4 puzzles in the file)

The last activity is a habitat match:

These cards are black and white. Read the sentence to the child (I forgot to put the sentences in English but each card says, "I live in ______ {the name of the picture on the top of the card}. The places named are mountains, garden, swamp and forest) and then ask them which animal might live in that habitat and invite him/her to either colour or place a game piece marker over the correct answer. Download Habitat Match cards here insha'Allaah (4 cards in the file)

I also intentionally made the postcard for the letter Noon to contain animals that start with the letter Noon. You can download it here insha'Allaah.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Postcard for the Letter Noon

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillah, here is the postcard for the letter Noon.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Preschool Developmental Checklist

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

This was shared with me the other day and I thought perhaps it might be helpful to those who are homeschooling preschool aged children.

This checklist is one that teachers in this school district use to assess preschoolers development throughout the school year based on standards that have been established in their district, however, many (if not all) of the standards are fairly common enough that you may find this helpful when assessing your own child(ren) insha'Allaah.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Winner! of the Last Smart Ark Giveaway

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Our winner of the last Smart Ark giveaway is.....

And number 6 is sis Umm Maimoonah! Mubarak dear sis!
Please send me your postal information and I will get this amazing giveaway in the mail to you insha'Allaah!

Jazakum Allahu Khayran dear sisters for entering all of these wonderful giveaways and guess what?.....there are more giveaways coming...check're going to love them insha'Allaah!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Allaah Created Nature Mini-Workbook (Book 6)

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillaah, here is the sixth (and last) workbook that supplements Umm Maimoonah's six week long range plan. In this mini-workbook, children learn that Allaah Created nature and that it is not a separate entity that has the capability to create. They have beginning consonant sound work, handwriting practice and more alhamdulillaah.

Insha'Allaah, I will be posting one more workbook which is book one (1) for Sis Umm Maimoonah's long range plan. Insha'Allaah your children benefit from the books.

**If you have not already entered the last Smart Ark giveaway, click here to enter now insha'Allaah! The giveaway closes this Sunday, October 24th at midnight Google time.**

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Postcard for the Letter Thaa

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillah, here is the postcard for the letter Thaa.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

If you have not already entered the last Smart Ark giveaway, click here to enter now insha'Allaah! The giveaway closes this Sunday, October 24th at midnight Google time.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Postcard for the Letter Ta

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillah, here is the postcard for the letter Ta.

**Don't forget to enter the last (and amazing masha'Allaah!) Smart Ark Giveaway. Click HERE to enter insha'Allaah!**

Last Smart Ark Giveaway!

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

I decided to combine the last two Smart Ark giveaways into one amazing one! I realized that two of the products are great for kids that are older than the target age range of this blog so I thought those sisters who have children older than five might enjoy getting a gift for them too insha'Allaah.

Have a look insha'Allaah (I think you'll love it insha'Allaah!):

For the younger children:

A delightful colouring book...this is just wonderful masha'Allaah! 

And for the older children:

A beautiful journal masha'Allaah!

 Sample pages

And...bookmarks to go with that beautiful journal!

Aren't those gorgeous?! Masha'Allaah!

This amazing giveaway opens today, Wednesday, October 20th, and will close Sunday, October 24, 2010, at midnight Google time, insha'Allaah. To enter, just leave a comment briefly mentioning how you would encourage your children to journal and why you think it is a good habit to introduce to children and please make dua' for Smart Ark insha'Allaah!

Enjoy insha'Allaah! and Barak Allahu Feekum Smart Ark!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Postcard for the Letter Alif

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillah, here is the postcard for the letter Alif.

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Book for Bear

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Here is a quick, cute craft to use when studying the letter Daal.

A Book for Bear
(Dub Dub)
The ears and tummy are soft terry cloth.
Great mutli-sensory experience for infants and young tots.

For the paper on the inside, you can use regular white paper or any colour paper you'd like. Cut out as many bears as you'd like for your book to have. Staple them together with your front and back pages.

To make this little bear (which takes about 15 minutes to make), all you need are three (3) bear cut outs and an old terry cloth towel that is destined for the bin. Take one of the contruction paper bears and cut three holes - 1 for the tummy and 2 for the ears. Glue sections of terry cloth onto the second bear cut out (without the holes). Glue the bear with the holes onto the bear with terry cloth on it. Use the last bear cut out for the back cover.  You can use construction paper for the front and back covers or if you'd like to allow an infant or young toddler to handle it, glue your bear covers to cardboard insha'Allaah.

Once you've stapled the paper inside, write a personalized story for your little one or allow your child (if old enough) to dictate the story to you and then invite them to illustrate their story insha'Allaah. Perhaps, they'd even like to read their story aloud to the family that evening insha'Allaah.  

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Postcard for the Letter Meem

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

Alhamdulillah, here is the postcard for the letter meem. I have received several emails asking if the entire alphabet is available...jazakum Allahu khayran. Unfortunately, no, the entire alphabet is not yet available. I am uploading each postcard as I finish it so insha'Allaah, I will at some point in the near future *smile* complete a postcard for each letter. Please continue to check back...jazakum Allahu khayran!

Enjoy insha'Allaah!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Together We Read (October): Activities and Resources

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

My apologies for the late entry.

Alhamdulillah, this is a delightful book. Not only was it enjoyed but I learned a lot and had so much fun too subhana'Allaah!

First, here are a few crafts made from recycled materials insha'Allaah:

Instead of tossing these things in the bin,

add paint, glue and some imagination...and you get:

Close-up view below
The cardboard is the background material, using markers and paint, the scene was drawn. The chairs are made from the egg carton box as is the bottom of the table. The backs of the chairs are scrap cardboard pieces.The tablecloth is a piece of scrap cloth and the table top is the lid from a baby food container. The flower pot is the plastic top from a milk carton and the flowers are foam and pipe cleaners.

Using the cardboard from a large diaper box, you can also make a mini-bulletin board for your toddler to display their work.
This can be re-used each time you change themes or have something new to add insha'Allaah. You can really get creative with this because you can design your own borders and backgrounds! And there is no need to print anything so you save paper and ink. Great way to reduce the amount of paper you use. All you need is construction paper for the background of the bulletin board and decorate the parameter any way you'd like! Use old wrapping paper, make the border three dimensional - lots of possibilities here.

Here are some activities that you can do with children to extend this read aloud insha'Allaah:

Sequencing Cards for how paper is made

Help children understand all of the natural resources that are used to make paper. With them, discuss how exhausting these resources by wasting will only lead to hardship for mankind by placing stress on the environment. Discuss their role as a Muslim in preventing further damage to the planet.

What Can Be Recycled Sorting Mat
No cards are provided for this mat so that children can put into practice what they learned in this story insha'Allaah. Using old magazine, books, newspapers, etc. children can find pictures of things that they can recycle that fall into the categories on the mat.

Help the Earth Reminder

Children can put together this Earth Reminder to help them remember items that they can recycle (many of which were mentioned in the story). Mount on sturdy cardboard or use two paper plates and allow children to assemble this handy recycling reminder!

There was so much to do using this book masha'Allaah. Here are more ideas of crafts you can make using materials that usually go into the bin and then end up in landfills subhana'Allaah.

  • Diaper boxes are some of the best things to use for crafts! Large and durable, you can make:
    • mini-sofa for your toddler
    • mini-bulletin board for your tot (pictured above)
    • 3-D pictures (pictured above)
    • play fort
    • shoe rack for the family's shoes
    • play refrigerator
    • play mini-closet for dress-up time
    • mini shelf (cut of the side flaps and use them as dividers to help separate your child's toys for easy selection insha'Allaah)
  • Boxes of any shape and size can be used for an assortment of crafts that would create a list too long or a blog post masha'Allaah! *smile*, but a few examples are:
    • as sis Umm Maimoonah does, use them to make learning cards
    • store small game pieces and toys
    • use them to store felt food...yum yum!
    • make mini towns to play with using toy cars
    • make a 3-D picture frame that holds small objects that are special to your child (glue several different sized small boxes together after cutting off their side panels)
  • Baby food containers (glass and plastic)
    • make goodie bags and put them into the clean plastic cups with lids to give away at Eid parties
    • when going out, cut up cheese and fruits and put them into the cup. Replace the top and pop it into the diaper bag insha'Allaah.
    • Put small, tot safe, crackers for your little one to munch on while out in them (i.e the baby food containers).
    • With the glass containers: make snow globes
  •  Empty egg cartons, cereal boxes, tea boxes, etc.
    • place them in your child's pretend play area

There is much, much more subhana'Allaah and I'm positive that you have a plethora of ideas that you can add to this list. Please do! Together, sharing ideas for ways to reduce waste on the planet, we can give our children hours of crafting fun, save money, and contribute to repairing the planet insha'Allaah!

Zaynab and Zakariya is an excellent springboard to launch a recycling theme in your homeschool or classroom. The story length lends itself to children four years old and up and is a delightful read. You can get your copy of the book here insha'Allaah.

Enjoy insha'Allaah and I hope you link up to share what you and your child(ren) read, Together, this month.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Reader Submission: Felt Sandwich and Bag of Chips

السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته

A reader sent this picture to me and I looove it! Masha'Allaah, I love the bag of chips! Bear with me with the felt food posting will pass insha'

Isn't this great?

Jazakillahu Khayr dear sis!

Enjoy insha'Allaah!


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