By Kiran Ansari and Meha Ahmed
It is that time of the year again – summer vacation is just around the corner. If you are an average mother with school-age children, you must be wondering how you are going to keep the kids occupied, without having to resort to plopping them in front of the TV all day. Well, look no further… Here are some projects you can do together, which will be both fun and educational.
Attributes of Allah (swt) Quilt
Cut out 4×4 inches of paper squares. Write or print one name of Allah (swt) with its meaning on each square. Encourage children to decorate each square with crayons, stickers, glitter, patterned paper and any other embellishment found around the house. When every ten squares are complete, hang the quilt by punching holes on the ends. Tie them together with yarn or ribbon. Keep on adding to the quilt.
Every week, read a Quranic story to your children about a spider, honeybee, camel, ant, cow, whale and so on. Engage the children in a craft related to the story. You can surf the Internet to find some interesting crafts as well as fact sheets related to each animal.
When children are reading a book or when you are reading it aloud to them, encourage them to make up different endings for the same story.
Make a Jumuah Scene
Using an empty cardboard box, some clay and paint, replicate a scene from a Jumuah congregation. Explain how people of different backgrounds come together for the Jumuah prayer and stand shoulder-to-shoulder in Salah.
Print or write the Duas for the beginning and the ending of a meal (with the meaning) on an 8×11 inch piece of chart paper. Draw a plate, glass and cutlery in the appropriate places. Ask children to draw or colour their favourite foods. Laminate it, so it is easy to clean after meals.
You can do this for various other Duas as well.
Get some attractive diaries for children, which they can use to record their day-to-day experiences during the summer. At the end of the summer, review it together. It might help for the typical back to school essay on how you spent your summer vacation!
Print out a huge map of the world. Encourage children to find out where different things they see around the house are made. If the computer is made in Japan, ask them to find it. Challenge them to find things that are made in ten different countries. Assign symbols to products and put those symbols on the map.
Have the children clean out their cupboard. Make a huge Sadaqah box out of a carton and decorate it. Encourage children to put their toys, books and clothes in the box to be given to the needy. Explain how they should give toys that have all the pieces and work perfectly, instead of stuff they would otherwise throw in the trash.
Make Arabic labels for common everyday words (table, chair, door, etc.). Paste them around the house, so that children can get familiar with these Arabic words.
‘I have’ List
Every time children say a sentence beginning with ‘I want’, make them write a list entitled ‘I have’. This will encourage Sabr (patience) and Shukr (gratefulness).