Ramadan is right around the corner! As you gear up for this special month of fasting by improving your recitation, calculating your charity, stuffing your freezer and weaning off that morning cup of coffee, you might also be wondering how to make Ramadan more significant for your children. Well, fret not, for here is a list of 10 things that are sure to not only educate your children about the meaning of Ramadan, but also make it fun! These tips will have your little ones saying, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
1.Make an advent calendar.
Before Ramadan starts, make a calendar counting down to Eid day, with your kids: a poster board with dates to peel off, or 30 balloons filled with goodies for them to retrieve by bursting everyday at iftar. Whatever you choose to do just make sure it is interactive, where the kids can move things around by sticking, peeling, bursting, crossing out, etc. For each date, add something to be revealed or won, for example, a good deed to carry out, a sticker or a small prize.
2. Make a Ramadan charity box.
Children are innately generous and giving, and this is the best time to tap into this beautiful quality. Help them make a box and decorate it as they like. Each day have them put just a dollar in the box at a particular time. Not only will they look forward to plopping a coin into the box daily, but also feel very good about themselves when they take their heavy charity box to donate to the masjid on Eid day!
3. Home-made prayer rug.
Cut out a piece of cloth, or just use an old towel! Have your kids decorate the rug with patchwork, paint, block print or just fabric crayons. They will love standing up for prayer on their personal prayer rugs!
4. Ramadan care packets for those who need them.
Brainstorm a list of items to put into a Ramadan gift bag with your kids. Make sure you let them come up with the main ideas and try to incorporate their suggestions into the project. Take them shopping for the items, take time out to help them fill bags or baskets with the items, and deliver them to people who need them.
5. Come up with Ramadan goals.
When Ramadan starts, ask your child to come up with reasonable and age-appropriate goals they would like to achieve during the month. Examples include completing a certain number of fast-days, raising a certain amount for charity, carrying out a certain number of Taraweeh prayers. When your children are coming up with the goals, remember to keep them achievable, but needing some effort, and with clear incentives dependent on the goal.
6. Keep a journal of deeds.
This will both make them feel good about themselves and encourage them to do more just to jot it down! One way is to sit with them nightly before bed and have them reflect on the wonderful things they did that day. Help them consider the simplest of things, like smiling at someone, being kind to an animal or helping put away groceries because no good deed is too small!
7. Make Ramadan lanterns.
This is one of the most common arts-and-crafts activities for all occasions, and never gets old! There are many kinds of lanterns to make and hang up around the house creating a festive atmosphere. Use different colors and have your kids decorate them with beads, stickers and drawings to make your home come alive.
8. Organize a Ramadan scavenger hunt.
This one will take some planning on your part, but the results will be worth the effort! For each day of the month send the kids on a hunt for an answer or clue. For example, you can ask them to flip to a certain chapter of the Quran and find out how many times Allah’s name is mentioned. Or they can scan a few short verses to find answers to questions about the lives of the Prophets. They can check-off the clue they found each day to find a prize waiting for them at the end of the month! An alternative is to have a scavenger hunt for specific days of the month, or just on one day of the month.
9. Prepare iftar together.
Once a week, let your children take the lead in preparing iftar. They will learn an important life skill, and earn reward for feeding fasting people!
10. Make Eid cards.
A great way to wind down Ramadan with kids is to encourage them to make Eid cards for friends and family. You can set aside some time each day, or have an Eid card making party during the last week of Ramadan. Perhaps even earlier if you are planning on mailing them out. Your children will love decorating the cards and filling them with Eid greetings. This is a great way to get them excited about the upcoming Eid festival!
Whether you decide to try all these ideas or just a few, remember your ultimate objective: to make Ramadan educational and fun for your children by creating a festive and exciting atmosphere filled with love and laughter so they learn to love this blessed month, and the entire family celebrates it to the fullest.
With lots of good wishes for you and your family, Ramadan Mubarak!
Nabila Hoda was born in India and moved to the United States at the age of 7. After completing her schooling and higher education, she worked full-time as a corporate accountant while teaching weekend Islamic school at the ADAMS Center, a very active Islamic center in the US. Currently pursuing a degree in Arabic and Tajweed as well as a Diploma in Education, Nabila finds herself passionate about teaching young children. Nabila has been living in Singapore since 2011 with her husband and 3 children.