I know it might feel early, but it feels to me like a good time to start preparing for Ramadan. I have been conversing with a very lovely sister via the e-mail and she kindly gave me some great pointers for activities to prepare children for the month of Ramadan and to do during that special period.
I asked her if I could post some of her ideas on my blog and she was happy if it benefitted others, so I have pasted below:
1. A five pillars model, the inspiration was from here http://www.crayola.com/lesson-plans/detail/pillars-of-islam-lesson-plan/ We took an empty cereal box, covered it with wrapping paper. And after placing the pillars on them, used corrogated card as a top, with a printed sheet with "5 pillars of islam" written on it. We also had print outs with the names of each pillar that the kids could colour in and stick on the tissue rolls.
This activity was to highlight sawm being a pillar of islam.
2. Mobile of the different phases of the moon. (paper plate, the shapes cut out from white card)
3. Charity box made using card and a template of a cube with a lid (to highlight sadaqah).
4. Quran bookmarker - though some of the kids can't read Quran, purpose was to get them excited and more enthusiastic about the Quran.
5. We had flashcard words, and had key words (that we wanted the kids to learn) that were printed out and then stuck in their jotters. So at the end the kids were taking away a jotter with them with a glossary they were familiar with.
6. And of course Eid cards!
We also acted out a fasting day, where we were pretending it was the night before ramadan, we were looking for the ramadan moon. Then we all went to sleep (going through the etiquettes) and getting up for suhoor, them going to school and fasting and so on, going through the sunnah way of doing things, and the adaab. I loved this activity with the kids - we asked the kids what they would say at school if someone asked about fasting, and if someone would try to persuade them to have something to eat, as after all, no one was looking! But there responses were amazing and just too cute!
And we had a tasting session - this obviously went down really well! The children were giving sunnah foods - dates, olives, cucumber, fig rolls (figs being sunnah), and honey. We went through the etiquettes of iftaar/eating etc as we were going along. the kids also got to make/eat dates covered in nutella spread sprinkled with coconut which, as you could imagine, went down a treat! the kids also loved the fig rolls.
We also played Islamic games (entirely made up!) and narrated stories when time permitted, as well as stating and finishing with duaas.
Our Islamic nasheed was the Months of Islam - if you want the kids to learn anything, sing it! I am still amazed at how quickly kids pick up things when it's sang in a nasheed. Another fab one is Ramadan Moon by Yusuf Islam, a free nasheed - it's availabe without music on the net.
The source that this sister recommended was Ameena’s Ramadan Diary written by Sara Kabil and Abubakr El-Banna. She suggested that the book is something a person should really be looking at reading at least a month and a half before Ramadan to get the most out of it.
Sahl reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said, “There is a gate in paradise called Ar-Raiyan, and those who observe fasts will enter through it on the Day of Resurrection and none except them will enter through it, It will be said, ‘Where are those who used to observe fasts?’ They will get up, and none except them will enter through it. After their entry the gate will be closed and nobody will enter through it.” (Bukhari)
Links to Eid and Ramadan Crafts and Children's Activities