Ramadan is here, and while we tend to plan mostly for our food (suhoor and Iftar meals), and a schedule to fit all of our work, school assignments and activities, family events, and nightly prayers in… if you have little ones in your lives, or even young adults, it is important to keep a regular routine for everyone’s sanity and make time for fun and memories.
What this means for my family
This post aims to focus on placing a foundation to introduce habits and routines to help young children build a connection and love for their deen, especially during Ramadan. As I describe in my article Ramadan during the Qurantine, this Ramadan of 2020 during the COVID-19 crisis and shelter at home order, is an exceptionally unique opportunity for us to focus on connecting with Allah.
Growing up in an immigrant household decades ago, I definitely felt excluded from all of the fun festivities and holidays. When I became a parent, I immediately felt the need to create a fun and festive environment for my own children.
I remember my first Ramadan as a mother, I was alone in a new town. I had a bouncing baby girl, who cried endlessly, and not knowing how to soothe her, I turned to what I knew: cooking and food.
I called my mother to learn her recipe for petit four cookies, which she always made for us at the end of Ramadan. It was one of the first times I baked anything from scratch. It was kind of the turning point for me as a food and recipe composer. I had a new innate desire to connect to my roots and traditions, and I felt I could do this through cooking. Over the past few years as I adjusted to motherhood, I have found many ways to foster some of these beautiful traditions and celebrations and combine them with what I know about teaching children to create fun activities and routines in our own home for Ramadan. I wish to share these with all of you, as I know I am not alone in my struggles and goals.
The projects I implement in our family life have 3 main purposes:
- Instill a feeling of joy and excitement for the traditions of Ramadan
- Create a habit of routine relating to good deeds, reading Quran, and praying regularly.
- Make fasting a memorable experience emphasizing the purpose of this act, but also enjoying the family and cultural traditions that give meaning to our daily lives.
I love elegant designs and incorporate elements of Islamic art and geometric motifs in my home interior design all year. So this month is a fun time for me to go all out with the Islamic design theme.
Here are some of our favorite decor items:
I absolutely love these star paper lanterns from Days of Eid. They come in two sizes so that you can vary the scale of the design with some medium and some large star lanterns. They light up with a string of LEDs inside. You need 2 AA batteries for each star lantern. They are easy to open, and I hang them from my ceiling with these 3M decorator hooks. It is a simple thing to do, with a big wow factor.We provide both advanced training and a great learning atmosphere for the learners. http://djpaulkom.tv/dj-paul-is-selling-his-sauce-and-its-getting-hot/ cheapest cialis canada Others buy cialis djpaulkom.tv cope with cases of alcohol addiction. Smoking, alcohol, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, excess weight, low testosterone and heart problems are other causes of erectile dysfunction and finding viagra ordination purchasing this treatments to reverse its effects. If she is not happy how many people will think about how to distinguish between a good and best viagra price fake supplement.
The kids get SUPER excited when these are hung. The crescent and star shadows dancing on the walls all evening into the night feel magical even for the adults in the house.
These paper lanterns from Eid Way are also beautiful, although they do not have led lights inside them, you can always add them in. I plan to hang them when Eid comes around. The website has many more designs to look at.
Another glamorous and elegant part of our decor that I just love is our Ramadan light up marquee on the kitchen cabinet, pictured above, which I will admit is quite expensive. When I got it a couple of years ago, I decided it was an elegant and modern element for out holiday cheer. It is something to light up our home for the month for years to come. When we walk into the kitchen during the wee hours of night, it is a pleasant welcome with its warm glow by our kitchen table as we enjoy suhoor. This is a product that you need to plan ahead for as they require pre-ordering at this time. We only bought the Ramadan part. Maybe next year we will add on the Mubarak 🙂
A Ramadan Calendar
I also tried the Hello Holy Days! Crate and Barrel calendar, which is so beautiful, vibrant, and colorful with motifs of the Ramadan drummer musaharati. I planned to use them again this year until I found the gorgeous 3D masjid design with the drawers…I caved and bought that and I gave my hanging calendar to my sister to use for her little ones. No matter what you use, I highly recommend a daily tracker of some sort because it supports our Ramadan schedule nicely.
I am pretty regimented, and we really want our kids to follow a routine so we can have some peace, structure, and set expectations in the home especially during Ramadan when everyone is tired, and likely sleep deprived. So I use this calendar to give my children daily tasks, which especially get them occupied first thing in the morning, giving us a few minutes (maybe an hour?) of extra rest in the early morning. This is the system I use:
- First thing in the morning they check what task I have placed for them. It could be writing a letter about Ramadan to their teacher, send a thank you letter to a family member, clean the toy room, read a story about a Prophet, etc. These are usually tasks I choose for learning (or cleaning) goals of the day.
- They also have to choose good deeds and actions to work on EVERY DAY. I have a little bucket full of good deeds they can choose from. When they have done these good actions, they place their deeds into the drawer of the day. Sometimes I wake up to find the dishwasher is already emptied, and a sweet child is scrubbing the cabinets. *SOMETIMES* we are pleasantly surprised to find them zealously getting through as may good deeds as they can! The cards are fun with pictures on them, so it helps the little ones read. They get excited and spread the cards out, choosing what they think they can tackle that day and taking pride in their accomplishments. It is amazing when you can get your children to be helpful around the house and also have them excited about it. That is the power of choice and allowing children to take agency in their behaviors. Here is a link for a pdf of my cards.
- We place mini rewards in the drawer for each day they did their task and good deeds. They will retrieve most of the rewards on Eid day. It is a blast; they get to open each drawer and see what surprises lie within and fill their Eid goody bags with them! I also give them small prizes throughout the month on random days, to keep them motivated as they are still young.
You can check out a colorful printable PDF of my tasks and good deeds here. It is free for you to use, I simply ask you leave me a comment or feedback on the blog below, letting me know you find it useful 🙂 There are also a ton of amazing free printable and task cards on Days of Eid website. We are using some of the calendar cards for tasks of the day.
Lastly, I created a comfortable and inviting masjid space in our home. These Morroccan style lanterns from Pier1 really set the lighting mood in the space, and they have so many nice designs on their website every year. We also have several medium and small sized lanterns from Amazon which we have used for over the past 5 years. They are set throughout the kitchen and living space with flameless LED candles.
The Moroccan lanterns from Amazon are wonderful because they have a vast variety with different colors to suit your design, and best of all they deliver quickly for those who procrastinate on decor. I also wanted some gold lanterns to match my room with gold accents so I went for this stunning pair of beautiful lanterns also from Days of Eid!
Prayer and Quran Routine
I gave the girls a memory box this Ramadan. Inside the box, I had a new journal for them to record their gratitudes, along with a new Quran, wooden Quran holder, a pen, tasbeeh beads we made together, and a new watch to keep track of time (what better opportunity to learn how to read an analog clock, than when you are counting the hours of the day!) An important tool I implemented is the gratitude journal. They start their day with this activity (which also buys us a few more minutes of peace in the early morning!) They list 3 things they are grateful for, as well as indicate a person they are thankful for. Contemplating daily gratitudes is a sure way to remember Allah and his infinite blessings, and it also rewires the brain for positivity and happiness. We make a point to discuss their journals each day and at the end of their day before sunset, they shade in their feelings for the day.
We also gave each girl her own colorful Quran, which was SUPER exciting for them. They literally jumped up and down with joy. They also have fun going through the pages and finding their surah, as the chapters are color coded in rainbow pages. It is truly beautiful! I hope to get myself the turquoise one when it is back in stock. I found mine on the website, WithaSpin.com, along with some fun Ramadan shaped cookie cutters.
This is their Quran holder, the vibrant pink Quran with rainbow pages, and they also made tasbeeh beads using these beautiful beads and jewelry string. I think this craft is straightforward, but leave me a message in the comments below if you’d like a detailed tutorial.
In a salah prayer party, my girls hand sewed their own prayer scarves, which I can share with you on another post one day InshaAllah.
Fun and activities
Ramadan Treasure Chest
Ramadan is also about being charitable. One of the tasks I give them is to create a Ramadan sadaqa jar. Having a generous heart and always thinking of others is a character trait we hope to instill in our children for life. Another way we do this, is to make sure they do not get too attached to their belongings. I often encourage them to find some toys, books, or clothes that are in good condition that they can give away to benefit someone else. We started a Ramadan treasure chest that makes its appearance at the beginning of the month. They are encouraged to fill it up with things they can give away. They even choose some of their new gifts to donate, acknowledging “I don’t need this many new toys”. Throughout Ramadan, the treasure chest also gets filled with the gifts from family and friends for everyone in the household. They get to exchange gifts with family and open everything on Eid day.
Ramadan and Eid Greeting Cards
Another fun activity is creating beautiful hand made greeting cards. The more kids you have around, the better. You can set up an entire assembly line to design these! We painted, stamped, added stickers, and had a great production line for about a week! I purchased these beautiful calligraphy stencils from Home Synchronize. We used them on plain white cards that we created patterns on with these vibrant watercolors. It is important to use heavyweight card stock as the water color paint and acrylics or tempera need to adhere to a matte card stock without a glossy finish. We stamped on the message of “iqr’aa” (Read) or “Kul 3aam wa antom bi khayr” (May every year you be well) using the calligraphy stencils. We added finishing touches with these beautiful Ramadan stickers from Eid Way.
This is a fun big project the girls worked hard on as we stayed home and played school this spring; it became an Arabic letter mini lesson, social learning activity as we connected with local family and friends for the holiday, and a much needed writing project! They had to learn how to write greetings inside complete with the friendly letter format, proper use of punctuation, and repetitive spelling of the word dear (not deer) over 20 times. I think they have gotten it down by now :). They joyfully stamped the beautiful Arabic calligraphy letters in colorful paint- with attention to the shape of the letters, even with the details of their accents and vowel marks over 20 times, which was much needed Arabic letter writing and reading practice. The project even included a great lesson on how to properly write a mailing address for each card they prepared for the postal service.
Food: Fun, creativity, culture, AND math lessons?!
The girls are little foodies, just like me. They get excited to lay out an attractive spread and tablescape. I encourage them to join me in the kitchen to prepare special treats for Ramadan. Ramadan is a time to look forward to yummy qatayif, kunafah, and basboosa. They are the perfect reward after accomplishing a fast, some for the first time ever. It is important to encourage their efforts and remind them we are doing this for Allah SWT. Preparing these special desserts with my kids, as I did with my mom in Ramadan, just as she did with her mom, is such a special tradition to keep carrying on.
Ramadan is also a time to look forward to yummy date filled cookies called maa’moul or kahk.
We make date truffles with the left over date paste, filled with an endless possibility of add-ins from coconut and chocolate chips, to almonds and pumpkin or chia seeds.
Even though we are fasting, the girls have so much fun preparing all these foods with me. For dinner they often make our classic family recipe of lentil soup or sambousek. These are Ramadan staples on our spread.
As Ramadan comes to an end, we prepare all kinds of cookies from my Ramadan themed sugar cookies, Eid petit fours, and kahk (recipe coming soon!)!
Suhoor and Iftar Station
We set-up and decorate a section of the kitchen counter with suhoor snacks and drinks. We have a Ramadan countdown on the message board, along with the iftar and suhoor times set up. It is the hub for Iftar/suhoor prep, and the kids love updating this station daily with
new times as well as new snacks like sliced apples, a bowl of granola and dried fruit they mix up, freshly baked banana date muffins, spinach pies, or zaa’ter and cheese croissants.
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