Creative Learning for Kids

Creativity1Admire your child learning in his early years
Soon after the birth of my child, I started thinking of the most creative ways to make my little child learn. I tried some techniques that proved to be a major success; and hence, I wish to share these with all the mothers who can do wonders by using them.

Exposure to lively objects
Show the child some rotating, and moving toys with lights. The toys that work by pushing the string may help the child learn the trial and error method- as well as- to understand cause and effect of actions.

Building patterns
Build weird patterns using the toys of all shapes and colour. You may stack or make a line or any pattern you want. This will improve the child’s creativity skills as he may think of different ways of using objects.

Interacting while managing simple task
When working in the kitchen and doing a simple task, use appropriate vocabulary to define what you are trying do to. Like while making a milkshake, tell them how to add milk, sugar, and cream and allow them to press the button of the blender. This will enhance their vocabulary and they will become expressive.

Show and tell
Describe everything in front of them using action. If you are usingtoothpaste then show them how to apply it over the brush, and how to brush- that will enhance their recognition and recalling abilities.

What can you see………?
While you are on road or a garden, play this little game, “What can you see?” You will marvel later on how well they will describe the place.

Developing thematic pictures
Collect pictures relating to different themes like family or a market, and jumble them. Sort out to make a thematic picture, widening their mental capacities.

Guess who is who?
Give them simple hints with action, and allow them to guess who you are referring to like flap your arms, glide and make the sounds of the bird and they will guess. Start with simple ones developing their cognitive abilities.

Let’s map out
Hide the object and then tell them to find it by drawing the simple maps. Amazingly they will learn to read maps so early.
Hope you will find these techniques valuable. Insha’Allah.

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10 Tips of safe Pilgrimage with kids

Image courtesy http://ummar-homeschooling.blogspot.com

Image courtesy http://ummar-homeschooling.blogspot.com

Visiting the Holy lands of Makkah and Madinah is the dream of every Muslim; but with toddlers and babies, it can become a nerve wrenching and tiresome experience.

A toddler who needs constant attention and care makes the rituals difficult to perform with heart and soul; and a little can change into a frightening experience (as often witnessed).

Following are the few precautions that would make the pilgrimage safe, sound and a heartfelt experience.

  1. Make the identity cards of every kid displaying name, father’s name, hotel’s name and phone number in bold. Kids should not forget to wear it every time they are out.
  2. Only keep the necessary luggage with you. Use the backpacks, or hand carries as they are easier to manage.
  3. Ahram is not mandatory for kids; but if they clad them, be sure it is not over fitted or loose, as it will greatly irritate the child. Try wearing it at home first. Also tell them the necessities of it. Otherwise, clad them in simple and decent clothes.
  4. Medicines and liniments including Anti-histamines, Calpol, Thermometer, ORS should be kept handy in the luggage.
  5. Goggles and moisturizing lotion should be worn whenever outside- as the weather is usually hot in Arab countries.
  6. A wrist band or a chest jacket must be tied by the mother and the kid at the time of prayers- as this is usually the time the kids get misplaced.
  7. Avoid going to rush area with the kids as it will misbalance you and can result in a fall.
  8. A handy bag with extra baby food, baby wipes, diapers, nappy rash cream, clothes, mosquito repellant lotion should be kept every time.
  9. Be calm and hassle free. Kids usually take a lot of time doing little things. Rotate turns with your hubby while performing rituals like Tawaf and Sai; or hire a wheelchair to let the kids sit on them.
  10. Always mention a union point i.e. a common meeting place- in case anyone gets can reach to that point easily.

Wishing you all a safe and fulfilling journey.

(Part 2) Public restroom etiquettes: Meet the elephant in the room!

rest[…continued from here]

6) Extra-hygiene means extra-danger

In your effort to be super hygienic, don’t wash your hands so many times or do ablution so obsessively that you flood the whole place. Use the water reasonably.

Another extreme is flushing the toilet with foot instead of a hand. People, with hands PLEASE! Acrobatics required to use your foot to flush raise your risk of injury from slipping and falling – if you’re standing on one leg to flush the toilet. A flamingo can do it well, you can’t. It may end you up in way more mess than you thought you can get into, from touching the handle.

Some people go to extra length by not sitting on the seat and hovering closely above it. Now, if you were in the one ply cubicle, the floor art is understandable, because they move with a tiny gush of wind even. So, please, don’t hover above the seat, making it difficult for you to find balance.

You are in a world of communicable diseases, I accept! But a research says that 18% of your phones are more germ-ish than the toilet seat (unless you put the phone ON the toilet seat). So might as well save yourself the extra agony and perch your rear end on the seat. Don’t be a human spaceship.

If you are going all Indian toilet style up on the European toilet, then at least clean after yourself. Your shoe/slipper prints will be all over the seat. Roll the tissue around your hand and just clean it. I’m sure your mother taught you that as well, before you had an accident, in which you lost your memory on cleaning manners. By ‘you’ I mean people, not YOU, of course. You wouldn’t do that, would you!?!

7) Patience is virtue, lying is not

You may usually find a long line in front of washrooms, in places where there are little to no WCs available. Usually, the queue would literally be hanging by the bathroom doors (if handles are available that is, otherwise – hanging by the holes). You may just want to stand in line calmly, because the person in front of you deems every move from you as a line-breaking threat, and they have thought of every clever way to stop you. It may include physical violence as well. What impatience does to human beings sometimes!

There are times, when calm is a word in dreams only. You will enter a stampede and the next thing you know, you’re in a washroom.

And even though it sounds like a better option than waiting in line, and you may want to be the one to start that stampede through witty pretense – but it’s not! It usually involves pushing, shouting, hitting, lying, knocking each other down, etc. (perhaps hair pulling as well). Bad deeds don’t add up to success. Even if you manage to push all other contestants in line, it won’t feel like a victory. So avoid being in that group.

Don’t claim ownership of the bathroom. Or tell people that you’re waiting for your family member in there (thinking we all are after all brothers and sisters since Adam and Eve were our greatest fore-parents). Your turn will come, Insha’Allah, don’t worry.

Save yourself from unnecessary lies. (And who doesn’t know, lying is bad anyway.) Don’t render your Hajj/Umrah or any religious act that you are going to perform afterwards or performed before, useless.

8) Your kids are YOUR responsibility

Help the little ones before you help yourself. Their level of control is zero, as compared to yours. But first commode in the first row is always the bad choice, because that’s where the most uncontrolled splatters are. Which of course makes sense – they couldn’t make it any further. So walk a little (or perhaps run like a wind), holding your gag reflexes on standby, as you poke through all the stalls anticipating post-culinary exploration disaster. But there will be a cleaner one; I can guarantee (almost 90%). Don’t lose hope. Just un-witness the ones witnessed in line.

When you’re making sure that your kids are not eating their own boogers, also make sure that you are not the one sticking it on the walls. If you find such things, don’t feel ashamed to clean it off with the help of tissues, etc. I have personally witnessed women picking up someone else’s baby’s diapers and throwing them into the trash bags and cleaning up the area, just to provide better environment for the newcomers. It’s not an easy task. May Allah (swt) reward them immensely. Ameen

So, please! Those with diaper-clad babies – when you change the diaper of your baby, please, throw it into the dumpster. Babies’ faces are cute but their feces are not. Don’t just roll it in the air and let fate decide its destiny. Thus, when you clean after yourself, please, do that for the baby as well. Man or woman – whoever is taking it for the team.

9) Don’t abuse the toiletries

Sometimes the flush is not working, because of too much toilet paper clogged inside (or too much dinner). You may see the dustbin beside the pot, empty! And you wonder why do people throw everything around, while there is space for everything given? People who lead adult-lives, by the adulthood they should know how to use a chair with a hole in it. It is something that they have been taught to use and have been using since fifteen years or so. Definitely we are the disease!

If the faucet sensor doesn’t work once, no need to constantly hit the poor thing, because it may fire back, by automatically turning itself on, when you will least expect it. Be gentle with the public property. You don’t want to go outside explaining people that it’s not what they think it is.

Forego the hand dryer altogether, because it probably won’t work anyway. Because you may stand there with your hands outstretched (crowding the place) waiting for some magic to happen – but it won’t. If the restroom looks well-maintained, then probably it will work, but usually it doesn’t; and all you do is make the crowd turn into a mob.

Save people some space and wipe your wet hands with tissue instead, if you wish.

Under dire circumstances, don’t jiggle someone else’s door handle angrily. Either you will lock them inside permanently or break the handle. Both ways, your future isn’t bright.

Don’t take your overloaded purse/bag inside the toilet. Sometimes the hooks aren’t very strong. Sometimes there are no hooks at all. Either way, draping it around your neck may be the last resort. Hand it over to someone close outside the restroom. Don’t bring them in, just so they could wait outside your stall, holding your bag. It will crowd the area unnecessarily.

(If you think this all as a mere exaggerated joke, I would just say you’ve been extremely lucky. But these guidelines will help you in the future, whenever you get out of the warm folds of your home sweet home.)

10) Stay God-conscious

Jokes apart, this is something serious, because one of the grave punishments includes someone not being conscious about cleanliness.

We can’t single-handedly eradicate the lack of hygiene issues in public restrooms, but we can dilute its strength. We will not be fighting. We will go on patiently and will always work upon this issue, until it doesn’t need to be worked on anymore. This is just a small step towards some basic awareness – but a small step is better than nothing, better than an intangible ideal.

 

Please, make purification your half faith! Our religion is so beautiful and complete. It teaches us how to live a life – from the smallest details to the biggest of issues, and bathroom etiquettes are the very basic of life.

 

Basically, a good policy is:

 

Try to leave the vicinity in the condition you would wish to find it. Treat it like you usually treat your own toilet at home, especially when the guests are coming. Be the best version of yourself that ever existed. Be the super-you. You got it in you somewhere, so just be that.

 

Be the change you want to see in the world. And if we, Muslims, are not going to practice the best of the manners taught by their religion, how are we ever going to preach? Actions speak louder than words. Even if nobody is watching you, Allah (swt) is. Angels are taking notes. You will be rewarded. Insha’Allah.

 

May Allah (swt) guide us all to the best behaviour that wouldn’t hurt us or people around us. Ameen.

Worthy Clicks for Parents

Point-and-click

By Ruhaifa Samir – Freelance journalist and staff blogger at yello.pk and perceptions.org.pk

http://www.muslimkidz.com/ and http://www.islamicplayground.com

Age: 4- 10 years

Genre: Islamic games

Both sites have a range of games to teach children basic Islamic concepts as well as Arabic. Crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, quizzes, stories, colouring pages and printables are some of the other features of the websites.

http://www.mytestbook.com/

Age: Grade 1-8

Genre: math, science, reading, grammar and general knowledge

Mytestbook.com provides parents the opportunity to test their child according to their grade levels to see where they stand. There are many online worksheets as well to give children practice in areas, where they need extra help.

http://readwithmeaning.wordpress.com/2010/11/25/chapter-112-Al-ikhlas-the-purity/

Age: 6 onwards

Genre: Explanation of the Quran

“Using toys to make learning fun” is the motto of this very interesting site, where “Lego” blocks are used to help explain to children what the Quran says. Selected verses and Surahs have been covered with more on the way.

 

http://www.youtube.com/user/productivemuslim

Age: for the whole family

Genre: Islamic social awareness

This YouTube channel has short animated stick-figure videos to drive home important messages to today’s Muslims. From small children to grown-ups, all can benefit from reminders on how to be productive Muslims!

Summer Fun For Everyone

Fun can mean different things to different people, and it differs across the globe.  Naba Basar shares delightful ways to have family fun this summer.

Many people think of ‘fun’ only in terms of Haram things or behaviours. It certainly does not have to be this way. Allah has made clear to us what is allowed and what is forbidden. In the following Ayah, He warns us:

“O you who believe! Make not unlawful the Taiyibat (all that is good as regards foods, things, deeds, beliefs, persons, etc.) that which Allah has made lawful to you, and transgress not. Verily, Allah does not like transgressors” (Al-Maidah 5:87).

FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY

Indoor Games

When was the last time you played “Pictionary,” “Scrabble,” or “Checkers” together as a family? You may be surprised, how parents transform into kids, when they celebrate victories over their children.

On the Road

There are always interesting places we have never seen and yet others that we hold in special memories and would like to return to. A trip for performing Umra can become a great vacation. Field trips to farms and factories are not only fun but also educational.

Camping

Summer is a superb time for camping, both with family and friends. While pitching tents, building fires, fishing, boating, or hiking, nobody will find the time to get bored.

Conventions

Get on the ball and keep track of all the conventions and workshops. There are many to choose from. Select a few with the most interesting themes and plan ahead for attending them. Conventions are great for meeting new friends.

Libraries

Encourage imagination of your children by reading books to them. Check with your local library and sign up your kids for a summer reading program. During summer, most bookstores have sales, where you can buy books on cheaper rates. Your local library can also provide ideas for summertime activities within the city.

TEEN TIME

Biking

Dust off the bikes in the garage and find a path in a park. Organize competitions, hold races, or time the laps.

Bowling

An exciting and interesting way for teens to have fun. This activity works great for both small and large groups.

Cooking Dishes of Native Cuisines

An innovative way to learn about different parts of the world. Search for recipes online, in your local library, or at bookstores.

E-pals from Muslim Countries

In chat rooms, teens can find good Muslim e-pals. By making friendships all around the world, your children will expand their worldview and learn new languages. However, this activity does require the supervision of parents.

Community service

Volunteer your time and services to help out others in need and support. It is a great learning opportunity, which will strengthen the Deen of your children.

JUST FOR KIDS

Backyard Campouts

Let your children invite over their friends; grab a tent, some sleeping bags, and flashlights. Do not forget mosquito repellents!

Painting

You can prepare homemade finger-paints by mixing together soap flakes, water, and food colours.

Pet Detective

Teach your children to observe an animal or an insect for a day. Discuss with them the observations.

Islamic Timeline

Record the discoveries of Muslim scientists. This is an educational yet interesting project.

Zoos

Always a fun place to go to for seeing Allah’s creatures.

Museums and Art Galleries

Visits to museums and art galleries will allow your children to explore different cultures and to develop a taste for art.

Parks and Beaches

Take advantage of your local parks, playgrounds, beaches, and lakes. You can have picnics every week or every month.