by Ashley Burke
Adolescents that have reached puberty are encouraged to take part in Ramadan traditions such as prayer and fasting. Younger children can still celebrate this special event and continue to learn more about it even though they are not fasting with the others. In this post I want to suggest a few ways that young Muslims can participate in Ramadan without fasting:
Create educational games that teach about Islam
Games are a great way to make religious education and instruction enjoyable. Accumulate a listing of questions and answers about Islam and have the children memorize the answers. Then create various games using the questions and answers. As older family members enjoy sharing their knowledge with the younger children, and younger children desire to demonstrate what they have learned, a positive anchor is developed and the children begin to enjoy the process of learning about Islam.
Children's books about Ramadan can be a great family activity
Another rewarding way to spend beneficial time during Ramadan is to read books about Ramadan. Many good books are now available at local libraries. Others can be purchased online. Here are a few of the more popular titles written for children about Ramadan for your consideration:
• Ramadan By Suhaib Ghazi
• My First Ramadan by Karen Katz
• Celebrating Ramadan By Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith
• Ramadan: Islamic Holy Month by Terri Dougherty
• Celebrating Ramadan. By Shirien Elamawy Illustrated By: Mohamed Qovaizi
• Magid Fasts for Ramadan by Mary Matthews
Allowing children to help prepare iftar
Another way of allowing children to participate in the special occasion is to give them the honor of helping to prepare iftar. By helping to prepare this special meal the children will feel a sense of accomplishment and will learn to feel reverence for the occasion. Some parents encourage their children to actually fast for part of the day to help them begin to experience what it feels like and to feel more unified with the older members of the family and community. This also provides a great teaching opportunity to let your child know that those who feed a fasting person get's blessed by Allah.
Encourage the children to make gifts and collect donations
A wonderful way for children to participate is for them to make gifts for loved ones and to help collect donations for those in need. This opens up a teaching moment around the truth that all good deeds done during Ramadan are multiplied. Even simple craft ideas such as making bracelets from beading kits obtained from dollar stores can be a great way to keep kids entertained while making something to give away.
Blessings come from including the children in Ramadan
In our efforts to focus on Ramadan in the spirit of true worship it is easy to forget about the needs of the little ones instead of including them and helping them to gain an appreciation for this important religious occasion. Hopefully these suggestions will provide the ideas you need to include the children in a meaningful way. By involving them in these types of activities it will better prepare them for the blessed time when they will be able to fully participate in a meaningful fast.
Author bio: Ashley Burke is a language specialist at Arab Academy, a leading online provider of Arabic courses and learning. In addition to writing about Arabic online courses, Ashley gives tips about leading peaceful Muslim life.