From One Mama to another…
Sharing the spirit of giving in the month of Ramadan!
My (late) father had always instilled the value of community service and giving back to those around you, in every little way. He strongly believed in education and the power of women to help other women. After having completed my Masters in Pediatric Neuropsychology from UCL (London, UK), I worked with special needs children under the clinical umbrella for a short while, after which I went onto to teach undergraduate Psychology to women here in the UAE for five years. Alhamdulilah, in the world of academia there was constant learning, growth, and most importantly, a sense of fulfillment. It’s never easy to give up one’s career, however, it was for very much the right reasons – motherhood! I left a month before I was due to deliver.
Before I knew it my son turned three, alhamdulillah, and I was on the lookout for creative and enjoyable ways to plant the seeds of fundamental values and appreciation for our religious identity in him. Some might say that it was too early, however, I felt that if I could just ignite the mere love of our Creator, Allah (SWT) in him, then the rest would follow suit. And thus, I explored local options available in my area for creative Islamic playgroups and workshops catered to his age. Unfortunately, not much was to be found where I lived, in terms of hands-on, interactive activity-based learning, and so I ventured into developing a program myself. Alongside two friends, I ran a playgroup with structured creative activities and circle time, targeting specific learning outcomes for each session. It was so fulfilling to see a small group of children enjoying the sessions and learning about their world & surroundings from an Islamic perspective. They started to make connections. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the playgroup was put on hold, however, there were more opportunities waiting to be explored, which I only realized a few months later.
In the meantime, the global lockdown struck us all in March 2020, and when Ramadan started, like all mothers, I too felt the pressure of being socially isolated and having to keep my son happy and engaged, during a month that is usually surrounded by family & friends. Despite the odds, I wanted to make Ramadan special for him and for him to enjoy the spirit of the month’s activities. So much so, that since January of this year, he has been asking me when Ramadan is coming next as it’s his ‘favorite month’. So here is my list from one mama to another, of ideas to make Ramadan fun for your little ones:
- Decorate the homes with your little ones, let them choose the colors for this Ramadan, make banners, get some fairy lights, a few lanterns, change the table décor, and liven up the mood to get the whole family excited for this month. It does not require a big budget and can easily be done with crafts and things already in the house, and if not, venture into budget-friendly shops. Dubai has tons of shop options to choose from and we are blessed to be in a city with so much variety!
- Make a short list of 5 small, achievable goals that your little ones would like to complete in Ramadan. Make it visible to them (i.e. use colored paper, let them decorate it) and reinforce those goals with reward charts and stickers. Children love praise and positive reinforcement.
- Get them involved in the kitchen during Ramadan. Let them bake Ramadan cookies and goodies, and perhaps share them with your neighbors. Let them help set up the table for Iftar and assign them specific tasks (i.e. putting a date on each plate, putting a water bottle next to each plate).
- Put together a carton of non-perishable snack items outside your home for the delivery men. Let the children decorate the carton and create gratitude cards reading ‘ Please take one – Thank you for all that you do’. Instilling charity from a very young age always goes a long way.
- Take the children on a drive (with their masks on of course) and let them distribute water bottles to the laborers and workers in the area, from the car windows.
- Set up a special prayer corner for them with a small prayer mat and appropriate headgear.
- Put together a basket of Ramadan books and let your little one pick out a book for daily family Circle Time. Reading together as a family further embodies the spirit of togetherness and group learning.
- Get your hands on printables, they always help! There are lots of free online printables, including Ramadan banners, Dua lists, Wudhu infographics, Ramadan meal planners, Eid prep to-do lists, and lots more. Use the ones you would find most useful with your children, depending on their age.
- Card making is a great way for children to share their love for family & friends. Let children draw/paint their favorite Iftar meal with crafts already available at home. Make ‘Ramadan/Eid Mubarak’ cards together.
- Plan a secret Eid gift exchange with 4-5 close friends. Assign one child to each friend, get their delivery addresses, use online shopping for a budget-friendly gift, and voila, watch the sheer joy and excitement when they receive a surprise Eid gift!
As a mother, it is always easy to feel like we are not doing ‘enough’ or the pressure of trying to juggle being a mother, alongside all of our other roles & responsibilities. However, remember whatever little you can do, make it fun, enjoyable, and memorable for your children. Many a time, it is quality over quantity. To help you further, woo-hoo has some exciting workshops planned for the little ones throughout the month of Ramadan. What is more, we are thrilled to have our Ramadan Box available to you for direct purchase from woo-hoo! The box features a book and several fun craft activities for children to do at their own pace at home during Ramadan. Each activity is targeted at specific learning objectives including:
- understanding the fundamental concepts of Ramadan
- word and letter recognition
- fine motor skills
- sensory stimulation
- engagement in acts of charity, kindness & thoughtfulness
- creativity & imagination
- role play
- the spirit of family, togetherness, and giving back to the community.
We hope your children enjoy the spirit and togetherness of Ramadan in the most fun and enjoyable way. Sending all of our woo-hoo families lots of love, peace, & prayers.
Founder & Content Creator @salaamseekers