Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ramadan Activity # 4

Last year back in Pakistan in my city a toy drive was held. I really wanted to contribute to it but it wasn't possible cause I was here in Khobar and the drive was kinda being held really really far away. So I thought to myself that In Shaa Allah next year in Ramadan I will try doing something like this in Khobar or wherever I will be at. Let me tell  you before we get on any further that I am a BIG time introvert. Talking to ppl, not my thing. So doing it on my own was a downhill from the beginning.

So around comes Ramadan, and I still hadn't figured out how I will be doing a toy drive. I tried to find  an orphanage in Khobar through internet but I was not at all successful. I know there are two of them in Khobar Dammam area. But that's about it. I even contacted one through their website but I didn't get any reply. Anyway, so I was quite disheartened by my lack of success. But Allah really is very merciful and Kareem. I mean I wanted a toy drive, He sent one to me of all the places I never would have thought of looking, The Mall.

Yeah, a local organization has arranged for a toy drive for the orphans in  Mall Of Dhahran.

So, today's activity was centered around giving. We sorted the toys from our house. We kept the ones my son was still playing with. The rest were given into charity. We made sure that we were giving only clean and fully functional toys. We also bought some new toys from the money that was collected in the Sadaqa jar we made earlier.

The stalls were beautifully decorated and the people working there were really nice, helpful and polite.




Lessons learned:

Social and moral skills:
  •  We talked about who orphans are, and why they need our help.
  • We talked about giving from what Allah has given us.
  • We learned that we give to fellow brothers, what we like for ourselves (cause few scratched, dented and missing tire cars were making their way in the charity bags, hmmm,)
The toy drive will last till the 20 of Ramadan. So make your way towards Gate no 5.

Take care
Happy Ramadan

Sunday, July 21, 2013


The third activity on our list was making a Sadaqa Jar. We did this activity last year as well. But this time we used different materials.

We have been talking about recycling and reusing for sometime. So this was a good opportunity to reuse some of the stuff I have been saving. So let's get on to it.

Materials needed.
  • We used an old tin. Last time we used a Pringle box. Anything can be used really, a cerelac tin, old mayo bottle, a tissue box even.
  • Decorative wrapping paper. Again many things can be used. Plain paper, decorative tissue, paint, crêpe paper. Anything that's available. Even different bits of paper.
  • Glue.
  • Shiny pipe cleaners. We used these for writing on the jar. You can use markers, paint.

Ok, the first thing swe did was to make a slot at the bottom of the jar. I got my husband to help with it. He used a knife and a hammer to do it. If you know a better way please do share. Next we covered the whole jar with the wrapping paper gluing it down as we went along. Let the glue dry for a bit. Next we shaped our pipe cleaners into letters and glued them down. I made a pipe cleaner star for the top of the jar. Finished. Ask your child to collect sadaqa from dad and mom.

Lessons I tried to teach:
  •  Social skills: While making the jar we discussed about the people who might need sadaqa. Why it is important for us to collect and give to the right people.
  •  English: After finishing the activity we wrote down the spelling of the things used for the activity.
  •  Urdu: We talked about the sounds we could hear in the word Sadaqa and wrote them in Urdu.
  • Fine motor skills: Shaping the pipes into letters help develop and enhance motor skills.
  •  While doing the activity ask the kids what other materials could have been used to make a charity box.
  •  Teach about recycling and reusing. Show them videos about how the waste is destroying the earth and how we need to be careful about how we use stuff.
  • Talk about how Mohammed PBUH talked about conserving water, hence teaching us to be very careful in how we manage our stuff.
  • And again, the purpose of the activities are to teach children new concepts and ideas. Let them be in charge of the activity. It does not need to be perfect.

Hope you enjoyed it.

Take care.
Ramadan Kareem.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Ramadan Activity # 2

The second activity on our list is Ramadan banner. I got some inspirations for this from here and here.

Let's get on to the materials needed.

  • Colored scraps of paper. They could be any kind. Plain, self designed the world of crafting paper is your oyster.
  • Paint.
  • Stencils. If you are using a plain paper and want to decorated the background.
  • Yarn or string.
First thing we did was cut the required number of paper in triangles. We wanted to decorate the background so we used a sponge stencil. Stamp your triangles and set them  aside to dry. After the paint is dry add on the letters to RAMADAN KAREEM. This can be done in many different ways. We painted ours. You can cut out letters and paste. Do it with a marker. The last part is stringing them. We used left over yarn. I lost my yarn needle so we improvised by putting a little tape at the end of the yarn making a little sturdy so it will be easy to thread. We made holes in the top of the triangles with a pencil. You might be a little organized than me and use a punching machine if you want but  pencil works fine too. Thread the banner and find a place to hang it.

Lessons I tried to teach during this activity:

  • Math: He had to count the alphabets used in making the banner add them up and tell me how many triangles we needed.
  • Fine motor skill : He had to cut the triangles, stamp the design on them, paint the letters and string them.
  • English: He learned to spell Ramadan Kareem.
  • We talked about where to place the banner. It was his decision where it would go. My effort to make him a bit confident in making decisions and displaying his creations.
  • Please keep in mind the activity is not suppose to be perfect. If it ends up being perfect for you. Hats off to you and your kid. The activities main purpose is the child's learning.
  • Kids might not be willing to complete the task to the tee. My son cut only 4 triangles, stamped half the triangles and only painted Ramadan. The rest was finished by me. But I did it while he was sitting with me. So it seemed that we were doing it together.
  • Talk to the kids while doing the activities. What do they think about it? What would they like to use next time if they did it again? Tell stories about prophets. Make the most of your time together.
I hope you will enjoy doing this activity with your kids. Do let us know and share your experience with us.

Take care
Happy Ramadan.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ramadan Activity #1

So the first activity on our Ramadan calendar was to make "Date Balls" for all the neighbors in the building.

Material needed for this activity:

  • Date paste. (In Saudi these are easily available. But if not available it can be easily made at home. Just take some soft dates and blitz them in a processor. If they are too sticky try adding a little almond powder or coconut in it).
  • Grated coconut.
  • very finely chopped almonds.
  • Sprinkles.
  • some candy liners.

So, the most part is getting the stuff, the rest is very easy. Just roll the dates into little balls. Roll them into your preferred coating. Set them in the liner and you are done.

We bought some really pretty party favors holders from a 2 riyal shop. You can substitute little inexpensive plates for this as well.

We made small cards to go along the dates which my son decorated.

Just before Iftar my son took these in the building and distributed them.

Lessons I tried to teach my son along with activity,

  • Languages: I tried to teach him the names of Dates, coconut, almond in Urdu, English and Arabic.
  • Motor skills: He rolled the dates into balls, which might seems really easy to us but is not for many 5yrs old.
  • Social skills: Sending him in the building with something he made himself is my way to make him a bit confident and proud of his accomplishment.
  • Nutrition: while making the date balls we talked about the health benefits of eating dates and their nutritious value.(kinda waste cause he still wants candy for his sweet tooth)
  • Please note that the activities mentioned are to teach kids about Ramadan, the Muslim culture and along side as many things that can be incorporated. But my main aim is to get him excited about learning. So the activities do not need to be perfect.
  •  Remember these date balls might not come out a perfect sphere, but bite your urge to go along and make them look perfect.
  •  Kids will not want to do the whole thing, like we ended up making more than 50 date balls, my son does not have the patience or the concentration to be doing one task for so long, so after a few (15 to be exact), I made the date balls and he was rolling them into the coconut.
  • Let them taste what they are making. Let them smell.
  • Ask them questions about the activity they are doing. Like what else can be turned into balls? What kind of coating they would want to have? What else could be sent to the neighbors for another iftar?
I hope you would enjoy doing such activity with your kids. We had a lot of fun. Please share your experience if you have done or plan to do something like that with your kids. We would love to hear and learn from you.

Take care.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ramadan Activites

When we were little I remember being excited about Eid. The new clothes, staying up late, going for the eid prayer, henna on our hands meeting friends and let's not forget the best part Eidi. Which we would spend on whatever we wanted. But I don't remember being  very much excited about Ramadan, yes we were excited cause some special programs were coming on the Saudi channel 2 like Full house, Crystal Maze I think American Funniest home videos was one too. Cause that was the time of no cable, internet or any other entertainment.

When I think of that time, and when I see my kids or todays kids in general I don't see them getting excited about the programmes even. Cause most of the time they are not watching the tv in the first place. They r either on the ipads, phones, laptops, or the cartoon channels that doesn't change there schedule for Ramadan, so however wrong our excitement for Ramadan maybe, I don't see the kids getting anything now. They don't see much change in their routines, or even our routines. Cause sadly in Saudi most of the families have a general routine of getting up late and staying up all night, which becomes much more exaggerated in Ramadan. Yeah the parents might be praying more, or reading more Qur'an or doing qiyyam all night. But are our kids watching us when we are doing all that or are their eyes still glued to all those screens I mentioned before?

We and our kids,  being slaves to the gigantic (the bigger and smarter tv) and smaller screens is an entire different post I would attempt to write, once I become free of those things myself In Shaa Allah . What I want to share with you today is my attempt to make Ramadan special for my kid. And not in the way it was for us when we were little. But in a more productive manner.

What I want to do this Ramadan and hopefully keep it up, is make it festive, celebrating it everyday, doing something special with my kid almost everyday. I want to make Eid the biggest celebration in the entire year for him. I want him to forget his birthday and remember eid as the day to celebrate. Hopefully I will be able to accomplish this with Allah's help and the prayers of my family.

So, in this regard I will post from today, I know I am starting a little late but I will try to overcome my laziness, and post our daily activities.

So the first activity we did was make an Ramadan advent calendar with Arabic numbers written on them.

I know the numbers are written wrong, I have to correct it yet. Anyho, you get the picture. the activities for each day are written under the yellow tabs.

I will be listing the things we do from now on. Do share what you are doing with your kids to make this Ramadan special and important in their lives.

Take care.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Fantasy Stationery Is Here

I know i know the celebration is a little late on the arrival of the Fantasy Stationery as they opened there gates in January in the Amwaj Mall. But I went to go to the place just last week so i am celebrating it now. We have written about the Fantasy Stationery in Jeddah here. It is almost the same minus the beautiful decorated building, you will find in Jeddah.

The rest however, you will find here as well. It houses the beautiful stationery with there lovely and purely out of this world wrapping and decorative paper. They have the furniture as well. It is a little expensive but oh so lovely to gawk look at.

But the best thing that gets me giddy with excitement is the kids Activity Center on their top floor. When I first saw that the stationery was coming to town I was thinking no way they will have the Activity center here. But they have.

They have everything from Chocolate Making, Cooking, Art Center, Sand box, Climbing and shooting galleries, Boat riding. And one more thing that i haven't seen in the Jeddah's Stationery the 0-12 months center where mums can accompany their child. YEAHHHHHHHHHH.....

The activities in the Fantasy Stationery cost 15-30 Sr. They have helpers once the kids are inside the centers. The rooms have glass walls and have stools out side the rooms so the parents can see their kids doing  and enjoying their activities. They have party rooms and a cafe as well. One of the best place for the kids to go have some fun both physical and a little creative when the summer comes rolling and the sun is beating down here.

I dont have any pics because it wasnt allowed to take em, but we have some of the Jeddah Stationery here.
Some pictures and the map to the Stationer in Amwaj Mall here.

Have fun.