Muslim households around the world are prepping for the Holy Month of Ramadan by stocking the pantries and refrigerators with the foodstuff ideal for healthy meals at sehri and iftaar. The same is happening in Pakistani households as we are prep our kitchens for the challenging spiritual experience that lays ahead. Great for the body but have you ever wondered if we are engaging younger children in our communities to learn more about Islam during the holy month? What are some fun ways to involve children and enlighten them about the importance of fasting? How to implement the Practical learnings from Islam in everyday life? but what about the mind and soul?
If providing your children with a primer to the Islamic way of life is of interest to you, we have got you covered. We have tested out apps, crafts and games to keep kids happily occupied during the month of Ramadan. Making the tab the de-facto baby-sitter isn’t recommended, so we have added in a helping of off-line games and crafts to give ol’ imagination a chance, off-screen.
The Islamic Way of Life
Here are some ways you can engage your child/niece/nephew/brother/
While shuttling kids from summer camp or family iftaar, try out the following mobile applications instead of powering up another session of Angry Birds.
Muslim Kids Series: Dua
This app pairs duas (supplications) with audio recitation in a child’s voice. The Dua app has the potential to become the quintessential guide for young kids. The languages option includes Arabic, English and Indonesian. This application is available in the Google Play Store.
Kids Dua Now
Kids Dua Now is geared towards Pakistanis as it includes translations in both Urdu and English. Visually attractive app that has divided the supplications into three age-specific categories,1-4 , 5-8, and 9-12.
Lil Muslim Kid Duas
Designed and developed by the quranreading.com folks, Lil Muslim Kid Duas app is definitely interactive – geared towards children from ages 2 to 5. The simple puzzle interface plus Dora the Explorer map expedition motif is fun and the animated cuddly monster is sure to win over the hearts of all players, young or old!
The Importance of Ramadan
Connecting abstract concepts like Charity and Kindness with Ramadan is a breeze with the Ramadan Kindness Calendar + Jar activity. Mark each day with ‘good deed’ to accomplish, providing focus and fun during the otherwise sweaty summer days.
Ramadan Kindness Calendar
30 Days of Good Deeds for a Ramadan Jar
Establishing traditions during Ramadan – excellent opportunity to create new rituals that will last for generations to come.
Ramadan Journal for Kids 2016
Journaling is an innovative way to set goals regarding fasting, praying and reading the Qur’an during the holy month. Through journals and charts, children can keep track of their achievements throughout the month and choose to narrow down to developing one or two character traits, such as patience or gratitude. What’s different about journaling during Ramadan is that the rewards should come from within, rather than be recognised by parents with gifts or treats. You can work with your children to identify goals to work towards, such as completing all given chores demonstrates personal responsibility. If you have children under ten, they participate by setting half-day fasting goals or skipping a snack; this way they can practice fasting and also feel the spirit of Ramadan. It is important that the children take the lead in setting their goals, so the focus stays on self-improvement rather than to please a parent.
The folks at A Muslim Home School have provided these journals so kids can keep track of their fasts; with a section marking ‘part-fasts’, participation for even the youngest member of the family is encouraged! Kids can colour in stars to mark fasts, check off the pre-printed check-list and fill-in ribbons to record Salat/prayers.
Decorated Glass Zakat Jar
Giving zakat is one of the 5 pillars of Islam, so while it is not mandatory on children to fulfil this obligation, they can understand the wisdom behind it with this simple activity. Children can donate a small amount of money every day of the month up until Eid.
Here are some talking points about Zakat to discuss:
- Zakat is the 3rd pillar of Islam after Salaat (prayer). In total there are five pillars in Islam.
- Zakat is the system Allah gave us to collect our money, put it together and use it to help everyone.
- Zakat is a very important part of Islam. It teaches us to share what we have. It helps us avoid being selfish. “Selfishness” is when a person thinks only about himself or herself, and does not care about others.
- Zakat is a charity system that helps use part of our savings to help out poor Muslim families who can use that money to celebrate Eid or pay for important things like food or clothes.
- akat is the system Allah gave us to collect our money, put it together and use it to help anyone who is in need.
- Zakat’s literal meaning is Purification. In this case, the purification of a person’s wealth and soul.
- Zakat can be paid directly to an individual or to relief and charity organizations depending on an individual’s preference.
Other simple, hands-on activities include making a Mosaic Sun Catcher to decorate the windows, a Ramadan Lantern to illuminate the dining table and funky Fairy Lights to bring some magic to your doorways.
Explaining Ramadan to Your Kids
Ramadan allows all Muslims the opportunity for self-reflection and children have an innate capacity for a deep spiritual connection to Allah. By participating in activities together, questions like ‘Why do we fast?” may come up. Use these instances to frankly discuss the benefits of fasting. Fasting is a spiritual cleansing that is the result of reflection on one’s actions. When older children are fasting, they can begin to empathise with the hunger pangs of the underprivileged across the globe. The act of fasting allows Muslims to develop willpower and self-control while resisting hunger and thirst; this ability empowers restraint in the face of temptations as an adult. Children can begin to understand that fasting is a personal act of worship that Muslims do willingly for the sake of Allah.
Fanoussy – Changing Meal Times – Healthy Fasting Tips- Cartoon clip
There are countless more ways in which we can connect to Islamic traditions and develop spiritual meaning as Muslim parents. Take the initiative to make this Ramadan an extra special time for your family! We look forward your feedback in the comments section below or on Twitter.