Ramadan with kids!

Ramadan Mubarak! The most spiritual and exciting time for Muslims all over the world is almost here. At sundown tomorrow, the Muslim holiday RAMADAN will begin and continue for a month. Although Ramadan is best known as a time of fasting, there is actually more to this spiritual month.

It is a time to reflect on your faith. Time to focus on self-purification by practicing patience, controlling your temper and avoiding bad habits. Above all, Ramadan plays an important role in community-building. Celebrating as a larger group is a huge part of the holiday. 
This year Ramadan will be very different. Covid_19 has forced us to stay at home instead of celebrating in mosques and at each other’s homes. But we won’t let this dampen our Ramadan spirit. The most blessed month is here upon us and we cannot be more excited! Alhumdulilah, our home is clean, the decorations are up and we have stocked up on dates! We are ready for Ramadan! ❤️

I have been following the same Ramadan traditions in my home since my son was 3 years old & Mashallah, I’m so happy that now both my kids (10 & 8 years) jump with excitement when they hear that Ramadan is coming soon!

My Ramadan decorations are all crafted at home and are extremely colorful. Why? Because when the kids were 3 & 1 years old, I made the most colorful “Ramadan Mubarak” banner (I LOVE bright colors), topped it with tons of glitter and hung it every year with happiness and pride for the past 7 years. This year, my kids have turned 10 & 8 Mashallah. I decided that maybe it’s time to ditch the colorful 7 year old banner and make a new elegant “Ramadan” bunting. After getting the perfect Moroccan card stock paper from Amazon, spending hours perfecting the eight pointed star, getting the kids to stick the cut outs perfectly, I was pretty happy with the way this new and improved banner came out! UNTIL Nawwara burst my bubble! She asked me in her sweet voice that just because she is growing up why does that mean we can’t use the colorful banner anymore? Zayan chimes in too asking if they could still hang the colorful banner at the mantle like always and hang this new banner on the mirror in the dining room? They want to see this new banner while breaking the fast and see the colorful one while hanging out in the living room! Frankly I’m shocked and extremely touched that they have developed such an attachment to their first Ramadan banner. I guess this is what building traditions is all about. And the fact that they have inherited their mother’s love for colors! 😉

So, the usual colorful banner went up. But this year, there will be a new countdown calendar instead of the moon cycle banner (scroll down to see). How does my new handmade “Ramadan” banner look? 

With everything shut down due to Covid_19, it’s hard to find treats to put into bags. We are not big on candy in our home and the kids love crafts and coupons more than anything. This year I made these cute triangle boxes out of card stock. A tutorial is up on my Instagram – @whatleenadid.

I filled the boxes with dollar bills, some candy and mostly with these coupons.

I’m sure the kids will love telling their three good deeds and opening up the boxes everyday. You can definitely hang the boxes with twine. I just set them up in a tray. Loving the blue! 😍

Some of our previous Ramadan bags included coloring in a stencil drawing and making moon phases.

Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is very special to Muslims as a holy period dedicated to fasting, self- purification through reflection, and trying to gain spiritual attainment. It is also the month in which the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Muhammad.

Growing up in a Muslim country (Saudi Arabia), Ramadan was special but also taken in stride as a part of a country’s culture and traditions. The daily activities along with timings were changed to accommodate the people fasting in Ramadan. The community building aspect of Ramadan is extremely significant and these wide display of faith signify the holy month and create an environment of festive joy. After moving to the U.S and raising my kids, I used to feel extremely homesick especially in Ramadan. I used to miss everyone getting up together for Suhoor. My Ammi making paratha and chai. My sisters and I rushing to get our favorite spot to pray in our room on our precious prayer mat. Schools and offices starting late and letting off early to allow time for prayers and worship. At Iftaar, we would be exchanging food with neighbors or throwing Iftaar parties with family & friends! The memories! So precious!

When my son turned 3 and my daughter was 1 years old, I realized that I wanted my kids to be as excited for Ramadan as I always have been! I wanted to instill in them a love for this amazing month. But when kids are this young, it’s hard to think of ways to get them excited or focused for long. Also, being a mother of two young kids, it’s even harder to find time to be super creative! But I was adamant on doing something that would involve kids and make precious memories. I decided to get them interested in crafting for decorations to make them feel a part of the whole project. And so our “Ramadan Mubarak” banner was made using craft paper, glitter, glue and sharpie! Yes, I use this banner year after year and this year it’s 7 year old!In previous years, I also bought simple white paper bags and stencils. After outlining the stencils on the bag, I asked the kids to color them in and decorate them with glitter glue. The idea here is decorating thirty bags, one for each day. I fill these bags with different things- small toys, coloring books, tattoos, candies & chocolates, one dollar, a coupon to sleep with Ammi & Baba in their room, a coupon to go to their favorite playground, etc.

As the kids get older, I started doing moon phases on the bags. I drew the different phases and my kids cut them out and stick them in an order! They loved this version of the bags too! The moon is cut out from gold glitter paper and it looks so sparkly when the light shines on them! So here’s the deal- Everyday at Iftaar time, when we have had our dates and milk, the kids each have to tell us three good deeds they did that day. The night before Ramadan starts, I explain to them that good deeds can be anything from giving someone a glass of water, to not being mad at one another, to helping your classmate in school, to helping me around the house, to giving water to the plants. So, armed with this knowledge, both of them try to do “good deeds” through out the day so that they can open up a bag! It’s so nice to see them continuously scrambling to do good through out! That time is the highlight of our day! I have made videos of the kids narrating what good they have done that day and it’s seriously so cute to look at how they are growing and changing every year!

I also setup a Ramadan reading table as my kids love to read. The activity books help to keep them engaged when they are looking for something to do! Our favorite right now is “Ramadan” by Hannah Eliot & illustrated by Rashin. It’s so beautiful and wonderful to explain Ramadan to the kids. I also take this book to my kids school to explain about Ramadan and pass on treats. I have done a separate blog post about that so do check it out!

I make a centerpiece for my dining table so that it looks festive. On a lazy Susan, I put up a lantern, some dates in a bowl, flowers in mason jar, lemons and leaves for freshness, and decorated candles. Simple but an eye-catching display! Below is another idea.

These lights from Amazon are so pretty! I also have small prayer mats for each kid and we do our prayers together and talk about Allah and His mercy and being grateful after every prayer. It’s also important to start teaching them small surahs with meanings and Ramadan is the perfect time to begin!

Above all, it’s important to have a clean and organized home before Ramadan begins as “Cleanliness is half of our faith”. And teach our kids that too! It’s not about decorating one corner while the rest of the place looks like a tornado swept past! Minimal decorations but in a clean, sweet smelling home will give you and your family peace and tranquility.

May Allah accept all our efforts and make us the best versions of ourselves! Ameen!

Ramadan Kareem from the Ali family! ❤️

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Khalid Ali says:

    Great post, Leena – very inspiring! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ambreen says:

    Very nice!

    Like

    1. Leena says:

      Thank you!

      Like

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