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Ramadan Preschool Count and Clip Activity

Have your little ones practice math during Ramadan with this Ramadan/Islamic themed Count and Clip Preschool activity!


 (My preschooler loves it! She doesn't quite get the numerals yet (recognition), but she loves to give her fine motor skills a work out and her big sis helps her with the counting and placement of the clothespins)





Comes in "English" numerals....

and Hindi "Arabic" numerals


And put them in a resealable baggy for easy storage!





Things to Do During Ramadan # 8: Make Date Banana Bread

On my quest to use dates in as many things as I can, I made date banana bread yesterday. My family loves banana bread so I decided to try to make it with dates for the first time. It was delicious, alhamdulillah.

My base recipe came from Banana Date Nut Bread from the Deenbros.com site.

I basically followed the directions except:

Sugar: The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar. My oldest daughter said it sounded like you'd get diabetes from that so I only used 1/2 cup of sugar. You could probably use even less than that as dates and bananas can be very sweet on their own and I did see recipes calling for no sugar.

Butter: The recipe calls for butter but in quick breads, I generally use vegetable oil, which is what I used. 

Dates: The recipe calls for chopped dried dates, but I used our moist medjool dates. I put them in a bowl of water and microwaved for about 2.5 minutes, then I let them stand in the water til they were even mushier.  After that, I put the dates and water in the blender. Now, the next time through, inshaa Allah, I won't add in all the water that I had in the bowl as it made the date-water mixture very soupy. But I still poured it in the banana bread mix and it came out moist and delicious!

Date Banana Bread

Now with my Date Banana Smoothie, I am 2-0 on date recipes this Ramadan!


Throwback Thursday: A Ramadan Day in Yemen

We lived in Sana'a, Yemen from late 2003 to summer 2009. The following post is a post that I compiled for my TJ Yemen blog back in 2008.  Everyone agrees that our Ramadans in Yemen were hands down our best Ramadans, maa shaa Allah.

A Ramadan Day in Yemen

9:30 am.
The normally bustling streets are almost totally deserted……
Where are the people?
Where is the traffic?
 
The streets are usually busy by now……
Why are most of the stores closed? The big protective metal security doors are all mostly shut except a few here and there.
A busy suq area is desolate…………….
Why are the traffic booths unmanned?
Looks like a Jumuah morning, except……………
the restaurants are closed too!
…. and besides, it’s a Monday.
Well, there’s only one other possible reason…..

It’s Ramadan!

Here’s a look at a typical Ramadan day out on the town in Sana’a, Yemen as seen through the eyes of an American……
By 10 or 10:30 am, the city begins to awaken.
A few more people will have emerged from slumber and make their way out onto the almost empty streets. A few more cars begin to occupy the quiet roads.
 
Not too many children are on the street, most of the children are in school as usual. The public school boys left for school earlier this morning. The public school girls will leave for school at around dhuhr, following their normal schedules.
A few more stores have opened. More big metal doors have opened up.
If you are planning on going to big supermarkets like City Mart or Shumayla Hari, however, you’ll have to wait another hour for City Mart and until after dhuhr for Shumayla Hari. Some stores that are typically open in the morning and close at dhuhr will not open up until after dhuhr, but stay open in the afternoon when they are normally closed.
…………………
Fast forward a few hours and its dhuhr. The adhaan has been heard and the dhuhr prayer has been prayed. The streets and sidewalks begin to fill. Only a few shops remain closed.
By 2pm or a little later, things look almost normal. Street vendors are out, but a little earlier than usual. They would typically start selling their wares after asr. And street vendors of a different type are present…….those selling samosas and others selling sweets covered with sticky sweet syrup! The wonderful smell of crispy recently fried samosas begins to fill the air……
 
Samosa stands. You will find seemingly dozens of these in just a few blocks…
Bakeries and sweet shops are bustling with customers buying sweets.
You also see vendors and military personnel sitting around reading Quraan.
Until…………………
30 minutes or so before Maghrib……
The streets begin to thin out again…………………
The sun begins to sink behind the mountains……
At many sites around town people gather outside storefront areas to await free food for their iftar as part of a Ramadan “mashru’ ” (project) for giving iftar to those in need.
The adhaan is called and people all over are breaking their fast with samosas, dates, sweets, soups, etc. Some houses are filled with guests breaking iftar with their hosts, their voices can be heard from outside the houses. The maghrib prayer is made and people return to their homes for the delicious food that could be smelled cooking during the day, teasing hungry fasters, but forbidden for consumption at that time.
After dinner, people will gather together and watch Arab soap operas, chew qat, light firecrackers, and pray the taraweeh prayer. Much to the chagrin of those unfortunate to live nearby, construction on houses will pick back up in the late night hours, their workers having slept a good portion of the day. Many people will stay up into the wee hours of the morning or until salatul Fajr and then sleep for most of the morning and then another Ramadan day begins….

Things to Do During Ramadan # 7: Make a Date Banana Smoothie

During Ramadan, I go bonkers over recipes that include dates. Not everyone in the family likes dates, but I love them.  The first time I had a date shake, I was hooked.  Last year I bought a blender so ever since then we've been making all kinds of shakes and smoothies. (We didn't have a blender for years).

After surfing online to find a date banana smoothie recipe, I basically just threw one together myself as I didn't have some of the other ingredients that made the recipes I saw a little more exotic.

Ingredients


  • 1/4 cup dates or about 4-5 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1-1/2  cups milk (I used almond soy milk though)
  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds (optional, but one of the recipes I looked at called for them and I had them on hand so I used them. The recipe did advise soaking the chia seeds, but this was last minute so I threw them in anyway)
  • 1 banana
And that's it! In my recently old sugar addict days I would have dumped way too much sugar in there but now I enjoy smoothies and shakes with no sugar at all! If it is not sweet enough, you could add a bit of honey or, sometimes, if a smoothie isn't sweet enough, I'll add another banana.

I saw some recipes that called for adding yogurt (my daughter said that just didn't sound right, lol, so I trusted her as she is my expert smoothie maker, having surpassed me in the art of smoothie/shake making). 


What to Do


Place everything in the blender (my blender recommends adding the liquid first) and blend. I probably needed to blend it a bit more as I had a lot of date chunks at the bottom of my glass (but they were still delicious to eat by themselves at the end.


My refreshing date banana smoothie at the end of a day of fasting:




Things to Do During Ramadan #6 - Make Crescent Shaped Cookies!

Yesterday as we prepared for Ramadan, the kids and I made crescent moon and star shaped cookies. It was a fun activity. I always mean to do it every Ramadan but it's been years since we have gotten around to making them again.  The kids had fun!

We used a soft cutout sugar cookie recipe from one of my favorite recipe sites, Sally's Baking Addiction. I imagined that they were going to be difficult to make, but they were pretty easy.

The ingredients were pretty basic things I generally have on hand:

  • 3/4 cup  unsalted butter, slightly softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (I didn't have this, but they were still very tasty!)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
You can get the recipe from the link above. One of the things that she stressed was to make sure that you chill the dough, and she recommended rolling it out first before chilling.

I had originally intended to ice them with colored frosting but I couldn't find the colors that I wanted, so we colored the cookie dough!

We ended up making stars as well (because I had a star cookie cutter). For the crescent moons, I used a plastic biscuit cutter.



We made the crescents by using the round cutter and overlapping circles (my daughter's idea)


Then it was time to ice them. I rarely frost cookies so I happened along another site that suggested making an outline shape with the icing first, filling in some of the inside and spreading with a knife.

Our finished products!

It was mostly my teenage daughters, seven year old daughter and I making the cookies, but my 11 year old son joined in to help ice a few as well.


I hope, in shaa Allah to do more baking this Ramadan as the kids really enjoyed it.


Things to Do During Ramadan 5: Complete (or make) a Ramadan Interactive Notebook

Several years ago I made up a Ramadan Interactive Notebook that kids can complete during Ramadan (or even before in the month of Shabaan).

There are loads of activities that can help keep your kids busy throughout Ramadan, in shaa Allah.

Have them complete the pages or use them as inspiration to create your own!









Download Ramadan Interactive Notebook (FREE, PDF, 62 Pages)

Things to Do During Ramadan #4: Set and Attain Ramadan Goals

You probably have the idea that you want you and your family to increase in ibaadah this Ramadan.

Setting some goals for yourself and family (and having the kids set personal goals for themselves) can help you do just that this Ramadan, inshaa Allah.  

Some sample goals:
  • Memorize a specific surah or ayaat
  • Memorize a hadith or ahadiths
  • Memorize a duaa (and learn what it means)
  • Memorize the Arabic alphabet
  • Read/recite the entire Quraan during Ramadan
  • Pray salaatul Taraweeh/Tahajjud/Witr etc every night
  • Establish the routine of saying certain duaas during the day
  • Establish the Rawatib prayers (voluntary prayers associated with the 5 daily prayers)
  • Study a specific book (such as Usooluth Thalaatha)
  • Memorize a certain number of the Names/Attributes of Allah

Have your kids develop a plan for accomplishing the goals, such as setting specific study times and durations, alarms, etc.

Here are a few Ramadan goal charts you can use or draw inspiration from:

I absolutely love this Ramadan goal sheet from Our Precious Sprouts



Ramadan Goal Chart (TJ)
Suitable for adults or children, in shaa Allah. This one has space to devise a specific plan for how a goal can be reached, in shaa Allah.


 Ramadan Goal Chart - Kids (TJ)



To help keep everyone on track and encouraged, in shaa Allah, have everyone report their progress daily in a Ramadan Family Meeting and discuss any difficulty (or success) that they are having. 


Other Ideas:
The year before last year, I cut out little ribbon templates and gave each family member one to write a goal on. I also printed out a trophy template for our family goals as a whole. Then, we hung each trophy/medal up on our Ramadan Bulletin board.

Ramadan Goals

You can find some ribbon templates here. I got the trophy template here.


May Allah allow you and your family to attain your Ramadan goals this year, ameen!


Ramadan Decorations: Ramadan Banner

Making a Ramadan banner can be a great family activity. We made a Ramadan banner last year and decided to do it again this year. I thought I would share how we made it as well as some other tips for others who might want to make one as well.


1. The Template


To start, I found the template for this swallowtail banner at Printable Party.com. (PDF)


Printing the Templates:

This year, I decided to count up how many of each page I would need (to spell out "Ramadan Mubarak) to save time when printing out for future Ramadan, in shaa Allah.

Page 3 (AB) - 5 copies of this page
Page 4 (D) - 1 copy
Page 8 (K) - 1 copy
Page 9 (MN) - 2 copies
Page 11 (R) - 2 copies
Page 14 (U) - 1 copy

I used regular copy paper, but if we do this again, I would try to get some cardstock for durability.

Cutting out the Templates:

You can have younger children begin to cut out the letters. There are two letters per page and the kids with more primary cutting experience can cut the two letters apart. Older children can cut around the outline of the swallowtail pattern. I like to enlist my teens for this as well, since it goes faster.

Once you cut our the letters, you will have extra, unneeded letters left over. You can save these for activitiess for preschoolers who are learning the alphabet!

Decorating the Templates

Assign each family member a letter (or letters) to decorate. 

Here are some ideas:
  • Paint the letters
  • Color the letters
  • Draw doodles/designs on them
  • Add stickers
  • Put glitter and/or colored sand on them
You can make all the letters/decoration uniform or just let each family member design and decorate their letter the way they want to!

You might also want to decorate the templates before cutting out so the tails don't get "scrumpled" up (as my kids would say).

If you think that you might want to reuse your letters next year, try laminating them (or covering them in clear contact paper for durability!)

Assembling and Hanging the Banner

Last year, I just hung up each letter separately.




 This year, we decided to try to make it an actual banner by stringing yarn through it.




So now we have our banner and lanterns up. Our Ramadan bulletin board items will go up under our banner, in shaa Allah.





An Easy Ramadan Decoration: Paper Lanterns

One Ramadan decoration that has been a hit for us is the Ramadan paper lantern.  It's a great, easy activity for the kids because it involves colorful construction paper and cutting!


What You'll Need:

  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Stapler or glue
  • Markers, stickers, craft items to decorate (optional)

What You Do:

I found a great tutorial over at Sophie World, so rather than replicating it, I'll give you the link:




Here are a few of our lanterns in process:


My 7 year old went all out with decorating one of them which we used as the center lantern when we hung them up:




Our finished hanging lanterns:


Instead of making handles as the tutorial did, we just punched holes in two opposite sides of the top of each lantern and ran some yarn through them.

We also didn't make double lanterns (a lantern inside of a lantern) as the tutorial showed. We don't have a long attention span for crafts around here, so just a single lantern per lantern was enough for us.





Audio Lessons: Preparation for Ramadan

I wish I had stumbled upon these earlier, qaddara Allah.

Learn About Islam.co.uk has a set of 8 lessons entitled "Preparation for Ramadan" taken from Bulugh al Maram with the Explanation of Shaykh Saleh Fawzaan.

The audios range in length from 20 minutes to about an hour.

Preparation for Ramadan Workshop audios







There also is an accompanying workbook that you can download here.

Things to Do During Ramadan 2: Study Usooluth Thalaatha

I had been thinking about getting back to the basics with my older kids this Ramadan, in shaa Allah, and I stumbled across a free basics of Islam "Usooluth Thalaatha" workbook by the Salafi Centre of Manchester.

The workbook contains the Arabic text of the book, side by side with the English translation.  At the end of the workbook are questions which are labeled by sections so that you can go over the questions as you finish a section.






You can download the PDF workbook at the site, here, in shaa Allah: