Saturday, 25 July 2015
Threading beads is a great activity that helps your child develop fine motor skills. I purchased some pony beads in a myriad of colours which the children could not resist getting their hands on! I have some plastic needles suitable for young children which I thought would be a good way for the children to use for threading the beads onto the wool.
D loved picking out her favourite beads and threading them onto the wool. She made an extremely long necklace which she often wears.
R surprised me by also being very good at threading the beads onto the wool using the needle. However, with his short attention span he got bored after a while so did not manage to finish his project. I left it in the bead box and he goes back to it from time to time to add more beads.
Recently I have not been blogging as much as I would like to. I guess having a newborn as well as two older children does not give me much time for blogging at the moment. However, I now have a bit of a backlog of things to post about so I'd better get started!
This is an activity we did months ago. A lovely craft activity we found on a wonderful blog called Karima's crafts. We used homemade stencils to sponge paint onto black card to create this scene of a mosque at night. The original post can be found here.
I drew a mosque outline onto some card and then cut it out to create a stencil. I did the same for the stars and moon. Then I stuck the stencils onto some black card as I knew R wouldn't be able to hold it still on the paper.
Using grey paint, R painted the mosque onto the card using a sponge brush.
I found some glow-in-the-dark paint for him to use to paint the stars and moon so that they would glow at night like the stars outside.
Sunday, 21 June 2015
A few days ago Ramadan began, the month of fasting for Muslims all over the world. During this month, Muslims must fast from sunrise to sunset. During daylight hours, no food or drink will enter their mouths. Once the sun begins to set, Muslims will break their fast, normally with dates and a glass of water, followed by a delicious meal.
Why do we fast? Because it has been prescribed for us. It is one of the five pillars of Islam. The pillars are the fundamentals of the faith, the five things we must do as Muslims. The first is shahada or testimony of faith. It is the belief in Allah, one God, and belief that Muhammed pbuh was his messenger. The second is salat, or prayer. As Muslims we have to pray five times a day. The third pillar is zakat, or charity. Muslims should give a certain percentage of their income to charity each year. The fourth pillar is sawn, or fasting and the fifth pillar is hajj. Hajj is the pilgrimage that Muslims should complete once in their lifetime.
Not only is Ramadan the month of fasting, it is also a time when Muslims spend more time in prayer and reflection, read the Quran and do as many good deeds as possible whilst trying not to do wrong. Of course, we should try to do these things all through the year but we are human, we forget and Ramadan acts as a reminder for us.
During Ramadan, I like to do as many religious-themed crafts and activities with the children as possible. Here is a simple craft activity to teach children about the five pillars of Islam. You will need cardboard tubes, paint and alphabet stickers or a pen to write on the tubes.
First, paint the cardboard tubes. We painted each tube a different colour.
Next stick (or write) the five pillars of Islam on the tubes, one on each, and write 'Islam' along the longest tube at the top. When you are doing this you can explain to your children what each pillar means. I think this craft looks lovely displayed in the home.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
It has been almost two weeks since I became a mother for the third time. Two hectic weeks after moving house, our second son entered the word. He made us wait nine days past his due date but I was grateful for the extra time to get the new house sorted. Now we are finally settling into life as a family of five; slowly getting back into the routine of everyday life. I feel blessed, once again, to have a healthy baby. Motherhood is wonderful and as I reflect on being blessed for the third time, another sister reflects on waiting for her first blessing.
I am so pleased to introduce this guest post by Christal, a revert muslimah who blogs about the mind, body and soul over at ChristalBlogs. Do take a look at her wonderful blog where you can find articles about many different and interesting topics.
Waiting for a Blessing – Thoughts on Becoming a Mother
There are plenty of blog posts out there about being a mother and her status in Islam, but I am yet to read one about the anxieties we may feel as sisters in the West about becoming a mother from an Islamic perspective.
It wasn't until I became a Muslim and got married that I seriously thought about becoming a mother one day inshaAllah. Coming from a background of hardworking strong women, the thought of juggling motherhood and a job never seemed to faze me. It was not until I started reading and learning more about women and motherhood in light of Islam that I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make the cut.
We all know the famous hadith in Sahih Muslim and Bukhari about the Companion that came to the Prophet (saw) and asked who deserved the best companionship from him. The Prophet (saw) went on to tell him that it was his mother 3 times before mentioning his father the fourth time.
We also know of the hadith stating that Paradise lay at the feet of the mother in Musnad Ahmad. But to be that mother, the one that deserves the best companionship from her children and to warrant Paradise lying at your feet, you have to put in the right efforts.
To say that my life has changed significantly since becoming Muslim is an understatement. I never imagined that I would choose having children over progressing my career but that's the point I'm at Alhamdulillah. To have both in my eyes would be an injustice to my children who, in my opinion warrant my full attention and don’t deserve to just be pawns moved around to fit into my 9 to 5 routine.
"And his carrying and his weaning is in thirty months"[46:15] For a working woman, this would be quite difficult, even with maternity leave on offer. It may seem harsh for those that want to pursue a career and have children but even in our modern society, we have to make the choice. Which is more important to us, raising the next generation of the Ummah or working for the duniyah?
One of the greatest sins is also to be unkind to one's parents as seen in the hadith in Sahih Bukhari, and as Muslims we can’t even say "Uff" to them despite what they may do to us. This in itself just proves how important it is to strive to be the best parent you can be, so your child will treat you with love and respect.
In Islam, the mother is not only the person who, by the will of Allah, brings the child into the world. You're the first teacher, the first counsellor and the first friend. We owe it to our child, potential and already here, to be the best of all 3.
"When a human being dies, all of his deeds are terminated except for three types: an ongoing charity, knowledge from which others benefit, and a righteous child who makes supplications for him." (An-Nasa'i, 3651)
Raising a righteous child in the world we live in today is no easy task, but by doing so you are not only pleasing Allah, you are securing a sadaqah jarriyah (on-going charity) for yourself. So sisters, don’t be scared as I once was to embrace motherhood. Indeed, it is a blessing from Allah.
Wednesday, 22 April 2015
Now that R is weeks away from his third birthday, I thought I would start to introduce him to some letters. We started off at the beginning with the letter 'A'. I found this cute craft for 'A is for alligator' on pinterest and thought he would enjoy it. Although the task was set up for R, D wanted to join in too although she already knows the letter 'A'.
For this craft you will need a sheet of paper, some squares of green paper and some glue. I started by drawing an 'A' on the white paper as a guide for R to follow when sticking on the squares of green paper.
Here they are sticking on the green paper. R needed prompting to stick the squares on the 'A' I had drawn!
Here is what the 'A' looks like. As we were doing 'A is for alligator' I turned the paper on it's side to look like an alligator's mouth.
Then I cut out some white teeth for the alligator and wrote capital A's on some and lower case a's on the rest. The children stuck the teeth inside the alligator's mouth. I wrote the A's for R but D wrote the A's on her own alligator teeth.
Finally, the children drew eyes on their alligators. Above you can see R's handiwork.
I also gave R some more A practice by giving him some A's drawn on some paper and asking him to make dot's along the lines with his chubby pen.
He enjoys making dots along the lines!
D did multicoloured letters.
R followed the lines as well as making random dots on the paper, like in the centre of the 'a'!
Then I taught R how 'A' is the first sound of the word 'apple' I gave him a sequencing task to do out of curiosity to see if he had any difficulties in this area. He didn't and was easily able to put the pictures into the correct sequence. He needed a bit of help with the numbers as he cannot recognise written numbers yet.
Last year, we did a lot about apples when I was teaching D about the letter 'A'. We had lots of fun making apple crafts.
We also did apple taste testing and had fun learning the words to describe the taste of the apples in three different languages.
How did you introduce the alphabet to your children?
Sunday, 19 April 2015
Spring is well and truly here so I thought I would do a round up of all the spring time crafts we have done. Most of these I wrote about last year so hopefully I will think of some more to do in the coming weeks!
The picture at the top is from last years spring table. We haven't got round to making one this year yet. It's on the to do list! Check out this post to find out how we made these cute chicks and sheep.
I also wrote about our springtime wall art last year which we stuck to the wall above the spring table. Click here to read about it and how we made our tulip pictures.
We have been noticing recently how the trees are coming into blossom now. They look gorgeous with their white and pink blossom scattered all over. You can see here is how we made the tree in bloom picture.
We are now in the month of April which is known for it's April showers. This umbrella picture sums this up perfectly.
As the weather becomes warmer and the sun comes out, flowers are beginning to appear. These beautiful paper flowers will brighten up your home.
Finally, these cute bunny ears made from a paper plate are great for springtime play!
Which crafts have you been making this spring?
Friday, 17 April 2015
Springtime has finally arrived and the weather is noticeably warmer. It had been sunny all week so we decided to go to the beach. Unfortunately, it was not as sunny as we'd hoped but it was still warm and dry. The children had a lot of fun playing on the sand with their buckets and spades. They hunted for shells and sea weed and other treasures.
I had bought a book with us about all the wildlife that can be found at the beach and we had a look round to see if we could spot any. We couldn't get close enough to the water to see if we could spot any fish, as the tide was out. We did, however, see lots of sea gulls and little insects in the sand. We also saw lots of ladybirds which I wasn't expecting at all.
Then, I thought we could use the sand for some numeracy work. I asked D to write the numbers from 1 to 10 in order in the sand. She used her hand held rake to do this.
After that she also wrote her name in the sand.
I asked R to draw some shapes. First, he drew a circle. 'A plate!' he exclaimed.
We also practiced following sequences. I drew some shapes in the sand and then I asked D to carry on the sequence.
Here she is completing the sequence.
I carried on the shape practice with R, 'Can you draw 3 triangles?' I asked. He did so without help from me.
We also practised a few simple sums. I wrote them in the sand and asked D to write the answers.
After that, they had both had enough of numeracy work so went back to exploring the beach. They found some sea gull footrpints in the sand.
Sunday, 12 April 2015
We love books and we love reading. I recently wrote a post about my favourite books for preschoolers. There's nothing better than snuggling on the sofa with a pile of good books to enjoy reading together. Although D cannot read yet, she loves being read to. R loves to listen to stories too. I decided D might like to make her own picture book which retold one of her favourite stories. She could then use her picture book to retell the story.
Storytelling is an important skill. It aids comprehension and will give you a good idea of what your child has understood from the story. It will enable you to see if your child understands the structure of a story. Do they know that a story has a beginning, middle and end? Storytelling allows a child to use and develop their memory skills. Because of these things, I believe the ability to retell a story is a crucial skill to have and just as important as learning to read. When a child is ready, this skill will be beneficial for them when they begin to learn to read.
We chose an Alfie story to retell. It is one of D's favourites and the pictures are wonderful and gave D some inspiration for her drawings.
D chose one story from the book to retell through pictures; 'The very special birthday'. It is all about the time Aflie and his friend Bernard go to visit Alfie's Great Aunt to wish her a happy birthday. They make a cake and take her presents.
D thoroughly enjoyed drawing the pictures with her colouring pencils. She spent a long time doing this.
D used the pictures in the book to help her.
In the first picture, Alfie and his friend are looking at a book about aeroplanes.
Next, Alfie and Bernard help Alfie's Mum to make a cake for Great Aunt Hilary. D spent a long time drawing this picture and put a lot of detail into it.
Next, they all go to visit Great Aunt Hilary.
Finally, they blow out the birthday candles. I think D had get a bit tired of drawing by this point. You can see the difference between her first pictures and last ones.
D also drew a picture for the front cover of the book and wrote the title at the top.
She also wrote 'the end' on the final page.
Then we stapled the pages together and the book was ready to be used for retelling. D has enjoyed showing people her picture book and retelling the story of 'the very special birthday'.