Last year I introduced Ramadan to Yusra through some simple activities. She doesn’t remember them, but we do. We remember, how eagerly she would wake up and take a deed out of a jar for her baba and wait for him to read it.
I decided then, that as parents we can’t teach our very young children the importance of Ramadan but we can do little things with them that create memories, help them pick up bits that we don’t usually do and inshaAllah in doing all this, we as parents are more conscious of the special month. The reason I say this, is because, as a parent I have learnt that when we want our children to know something, we put more effort into it ourselves. Something Dr. Shefali Tsabary talks about in her book Conscious Parenting.
Yusra is 3 years and a few months old. She talks a lot more. And expresses her likes and dislikes very confidently. She is currently going through a phase of colouring and drawing at all hours of her waking day. She does take an interest in learning new things, but only through an indirect play approach. Bearing this in mind, I kept thinking about what to do this year – now that I have a more aware and a more vocal child. Couple of weeks a go, I saw this – a sister shared an idea of having Ramadan gift baskets or hampers. I liked the idea. But I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, mainly because Yusra is far too young to really appreciate a basket of gifts. It would make her very happy but she would play with everything and pay little attention to it all.
I decided to use the basket idea, but used a box instead, and instead of putting gifts in there, I thought about doing a few crafts that will be Ramadan related and things Yusra could use through out the month. I’m glad I decided to do this – because she is already excited about Ramadan and this morning when I put all the things in a box for her, her face lit up.
So what is in Yusra’s Ramadan box?
Ramadan Moon by Naima B. Robert – one of our favourite books. We started reading it last Ramadan and its been read lots and lots of times outside of Ramadan too. Yusra knows what happens in almost every page. Familiarity is good for little people.
Ramadan and the Quran from the Quran Stories for Little Hearts series. I got this book purely because it was being sold for a £1.00. It is very wordy and not suitable for toddlers. The story is told with big words. But we like the pictures – some very colourful pictures of makkah, the ka’bah, camels, the Quran. So even though Yusra is too young to understand the words – we’ve been able to go through the book just by talking about all the pictures.
Dua for breaking the fast
Yusra obviously isn’t going to be fasting, and me and Abu Yusra know this dua but I decided to include this in her box because she is currently learning other duas. We recently learnt how she’s been picking up duas that we recite out loud. Duas that we recite for ourselves, she knows them. She isn’t able to correctly pronounce the words but confidently attempts to say them. To continue with this eagerness I thought exposing her to this dua will give her box a nice Ramadan touch. I printed it off my dear sister Sara’s website, Parenthood: Muslim Style
Ramadan colouring pages
As mentioned above, she is a colouring enthusiast and therefore I put together eight pages of Ramadan related words and pictures Yusra can colour. These can be printed off here.
Our most loved craft. I got this idea after being inspired by a picture on Instagram – you can find lots of other ideas on there too. Do check out Hello Holy Days. Using couple of loo rolls, a bit of wrapping paper and tape we made binoculars to sight the Ramadan moon. We’re hoping to use them throughout the month and at the end of it, “sight” the Eid moon. We will be doing this alongside using the ‘Ramadan Moon’ book as our little guide. I’ve also stuck the dua for moon sighting on the binoculars to remind us that there is a dua for everything we do.
I made this using a simple paper bank template I found online. You can use it too: bank template. I changed it a little by adding a dome, minaret and a masjid door to it – to keep it within our theme. We hope to give little bits of money for Yusra to put in it everyday and then empty it out on Jummah for her baba to take to the masjid. This is to encourage Yusra to take part in the rewarding act of giving sadaqah as well as participating in a small but regular deed.
“The deeds most loved by Allah (are those) done regularly, even if they are small.”
This was a last minute thing I did just to let Yusra role play with the concept of salah. She already knows all the actions – she is an avid salah “performer” – with deep khushu. But I thought it would be fun for her to play with our little wooden mannequin and get him to pray on the tiny prayer mat. She absolutely loves it and even attempted to pray on it herself. Which has now made me want to make her the same one, but her size.
I’ve put a piece of floral fabric in the box which I will use to make Yusra a small hijab she can use in Ramadan for her salah. She’s already tried it on in front of the mirror and told me she needs hijab pins.
The good deed jar is probably the most serious object in Yusra’s Ramadan box. This is my way of introducing Yusra to actions liked by Allah and encouraged in Islam. Abu Yusra and I have a deed jar each too. Last year we did them and found them to be beneficial for us. This year I thought Yusra could join in. I looked for child friendly hadiths, child friendly deeds and then found this list. Love it. Although, Yusra is a bit young to do them all, I’ve decided her jar would have 20 deeds and 10 treats. The treats aren’t anything big – some simple things like crayons, rubbers and maybe one lollipop (Yes, I’m a mean mum, that isn’t even allowing Yusra a sweetie for each day of Ramadan :-))
As a family we are looking forward to using our jars. We will inshaAllah take a deed out before Abu Yusra goes off to work every morning and then we have the whole day to complete it. We have picked the grown up deeds individually, based on what we think we should work on to get us closer to Allah. I’ve included a calendar for Yusra to stamp off every day after she completes her good deed. I found the calendar here and think its perfect for us. You can get ones with Arabic numbers too – which I will definitely use when Yusra is older.
That’s it from us for now. We might add more to the box. We inshaAllah will put up some Ramadan decoration the night before. I’ve done this from Yusra’s very first Ramadan when she was 6 months old. I love it, she loves it, and her baba likes coming home to see little bits of our effort up on display.
I make dua that these little things will one day change into meaningful acts of ibadah for my daughter. I make dua that these seeds I am sowing now are a foundation for her to grow to love her Deen. I want a little 3 year old heart to experience the special buzz that Ramadan brings when it arrives. Like all parents I want to see my child grow to be an obedient slave – only Allah is able to grant that. I make dua He accepts it from you, and me. And I make dua we all reach Ramadan and benefit from what it offers.