Summer Survival

Summer Survival

By Umm Zakariya – Reading and Creative Writing Coach at Fajr Academy, Karachi

“Summer time often becomes a test of endurance rather than a special time to enjoy children,” says P. M. Saeed in her book, “Summer Survival: A Guide for Mothers”. I am sure a lot of us, parents, would agree with her. We all look forward to the summer vacations so that we can enjoy some time with our children. But, as the days go by, it becomes increasingly difficult to deal with the “I’m bored” chants. Eventually, hot, tired and out of ideas, the poor parents concede defeat and allow their children to spend their summer glued to the idiot box!

Here are some ideas to keep your kids occupied this summer and for you to spend some quality time with them as well!

Craft Activities

Creative Salt

Add 5 to 6 drops of colour to a half cup of household salt. Stir well and cook in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or in a preheated oven for 10 minutes. Alternatively, you could spread the salt on brown paper and let it air dry. Store it in an airtight container. Use as glitter or to make coloured sand bottles.

Home-made Finger Paint

Mix 2 cups of flour with 2 tsp salt. Add 2 ½ cups of cold water. Stir until smooth. Gradually add this mixture to 2 cups of boiling water. Boil until smooth and thick. Add food colouring and stir until smooth – you’ll have lots of fun finger painting! Remember to wear an apron and use newspapers to avoid any mess.

Paint Rollers

You can use an empty roll-on deodorant bottle and fill it up with paint to make a giant paint pen or use an empty shoe polish bottle to make an excellent sponge painting tool.

Green Man

Take an empty plastic bottle and cut it ten inches from the bottom. Place it in an old sheer pop sock and fill it with soil. Sprinkle rye or coriander seeds on top. Tie the top end of the sock in a knot. Make a face on the outside with old scraps of material. Water it and watch its hair grow through the sock. Remember to keep the Green Man moist.

Bowling Game

Spray paint 1½ litre plastic bottle and put a little sand or water in the bottle to weighh it down to make bowling pins. Use any ball you have at home and see who can get a strike!

Build an Ant Farm

Find a large jar and a small jar that fits inside the bigger one. Place moist dirt and ants in the narrow space between the jars. Cover tightly. Keep soil moist and feed the ants breadcrumbs, dead insects, small pieces of meat or vegetables. Watch them and learn to be industrious.

Rice Art

Draw a simple picture on cardboard. In shallow containers, use food colouring to dye rice to different colours. Dip a toothpick in German glue and then pick up one grain of rice. Dip it in glue again and place the rice grain on the picture. If this sounds too tedious to your child, rice can be stuck in patches by directly applying glue on the picture and sprinkling rice over it. When the picture is completely covered with rice, brush a coat of glue diluted with water over the entire surface.

Crayon Art

Peel broken or old crayons and put their shavings on a piece of paper. Fold the paper in half and place in between a folded newspaper. Now iron on top of the newspaper, keeping the iron setting low. Open the paper slowly to see a colourful surprise! You could also melt broken crayons in an old aluminum pan. Place in the oven for 10-20 minutes at 350 F degrees. Remove, cool and break into pieces to make new multi-coloured crayons.

Tie-and-Dye T-shirts (100% cotton is must)

Gather a small wad of the T-shirt in your hand and tightly wrap a rubber band around the gathered fabric. Repeat the procedure all over the shirt. Now dip the wads in different dyes (easily available from a dyeing shop.) Place in the sun to dry. Snap off the rubber bands and your tie-and-dye shirt is ready.

Family Activities

Summer time increases opportunities for family bonding. Involve fathers in these activities with the children:

Make a family tree. See how far you can trace back your ancestry!

Lay on a blanket in your garden (don’t forget the mosquito repellant!) and watch the stars or guess the shapes the clouds make.

Have a smile contest. See who smiles the most in a week.

Every week, post a brain teaser, riddle or word puzzle in a central place. The first one to give the answer wins a prize.

Have a family car wash day. Take your buckets, sponges and cloths and give your faithful family car a good summer cleaning!

Fly kites together. Try not to get into a tangle!

Field Trips

Have your children write a letter to themselves with their resolutions or goals. Go to the post office and let your children post it to themselves. Talk to the postman and other people to learn how we get mail.

Get together with a few mothers and make a group to visit a factory.

Check newspapers for art exhibitions. This is a good way to develop your children’s interest in different styles, mediums and techniques.

Drive around town or take a walk. See how many kinds of trees are in your area. Collect the leaves and identify them to make a scrapbook

Send the children on an outing with dad. Have them join up with other fathers and their children and go out for lunch.

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.