Little Activities to Teach Children About Ramadan
Parents and teachers often look for ways to make Ramadan a learning yet exciting experience for children. Here are some suggestions on how this can be done.
Muslims around the world treat Ramadan with utmost respect and try to work on their spirituality during the holy month. However, most Muslims spend their time fasting, praying and reading Qur’an alongside their regular daily chores/tasks. Seldom is it realized that very little children, who are not obligated to fast or are too young to fast, need also be shown the beauty of the fasting month.
Helping Children Celebrate Ramadan
There are many ways in which a Muslim family can make the month of Ramadan significant for children. Following are some suggestions on how to make Ramadan more exciting for little children:
Encourage children to sit with the rest of the family at the table for iftar (meal at sunset) even if they are not fasting. Keep their favorite food item on the table to entice them but this will eventually teach them to see how others break their fast and the emphasis on timing and unity during the month. Similarly, children can go with their father to the mosque for Maghrib prayers (prayers at sunset) and break the fast with the larger Muslim community.
Take children to the Taraweeh prayer (special Ramadan prayers at night) so that they can get used it and know about it from an early age. Children may sit or stay in the back of the prayer room if they get tired. If it will not disturb others, parents can bring their children’s books to keep them occupied so long as they can feel the sense of unity and respect of Ramadan.
Prepare food boxes for iftar to distribute amongst the poor in the community. Children love helping in the kitchen, preparing these boxes and would even enjoy handing those out in the community. This will teach them the concept of charity which is so important to Islam.
Similarly to reinforce the concept of charity and to remind children of those who are needy and living in worst conditions, parents can take an empty jar and ask children to decorate these with glass paint or stickers. They can collect charity from their family or at a mosque and then give it to the poor.
Make a fun Ramadan calendar at home – make grids on a big piece of paper and ask children what good things they can do each day. The parent can jot these down on the grids. Alternatively, cut square colored pieces for each day and link them with a ribbon to make 29 or 30 days of Ramadan. Hang it in the childrens’ bed room or play room. Each day can have a thing-to-do written on it and it could be something as simple as “smile and say salaam (hello in Arabic literally translated into peace) to people you meet,” “help grandma with one thing she does,” “say sorry to someone you hurt” or “buy and wrap a gift for a cousin.”
Correct children if they behave wrongly or say unacceptable words and remind them that it is Ramadan, a month when good habits are to be reiterated. Parents can give rewards to their children for behaving well during a certain week or after each 10 days of Ramadan. It could be their favorite food, or a toy they had been longing to have.
Give children pocket money each day, and by the end of the week tell them to give one-thirds of it in savings, one-thirds to spend and one-thirds on charity.
If your child is into painting or writing poems, ask them to make a painting or write a poem about Ramadan or an Islamic theme. There are several project ideas online that teachers or parents can do with children during Ramadan. Ramadan project ideas can be found on sites like KiddyHouse.com
Spending time with children sometimes reiterates the faith and teachings for adults as well. Part of the responsibility every adult has is to bring up children in the best way that they can, not just by feeding and clothing their children but to also participate in their intellectual upbringing