As Ramadhan is fast approaching, and in an attempt to get into the right frame of mind, I thought I would take a break from my usual pointless rants and do a blog post that may actually be considered useful.
My eldest is almost 5 and now takes an interest in learning new things. As I have started teaching her to read Arabic over the past year and she has started learning many of the short surahs from the Quran, I wanted to get her involved in Ramadhan this year. She’s obviously too young to fast, but I wanted to do something that would help create a sense of excitement and allow her to feel as though she was participating.
I did a ‘good deed jar’ a while back so she sees the importance of doing nice things and being good to others. We just decorated an old bolognaise jar:
She gets to put a marble in the jar every time she does a ‘good deed’ and, once it’s full, she’ll get to choose a day out for us all. Although, knowing my luck, she’ll probably say she wants to go to somewhere like Disneyland and feel cheated when I say no.
It’s probably worth noting that, if you’re planning to do something similar, choose the size of your jar carefully. I think ours is perhaps too big as we started a couple of months ago and, although she has almost 30 marbles in it, it still looks like there’s hardly anything in there.
I’d seen a few online posts about Good Deed Calendars and thought doing something similar would be a good way of getting her involved
and a good way of getting a few more marbles in the jar before she decides she doesn’t care about it any more. I decided I would take it a step further and include a short fact about Islam, as well as the good deed suggestion, and a treat for each day. Each of these would be placed in a small envelope and attached to the calendar. This way, she can look forward to opening them each day, will learn something new (even if she doesn’t remember the fact itself, it will still give us something to talk about and she’s bound to retain some of our conversation) and she’ll be getting involved by intending to do a good deed each day.
I wrote and drew pictures for the good deed cards myself. She’s only 4 so including pictures is important as it will help her work out what the card is asking her to do. If drawing isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have time, you can go on a site called mamateachesme.com and download a free printout with 30 good deeds – it’s what I used as inspiration for the 30 deeds I included.
The calendar itself can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. Mine took over an entire week of very late nights, after putting the kids to bed, to finish. I get that not everyone is in a position to be able to do that, but it can be easily adjusted and simplified so that it is less time consuming.
So, here’s how you can make your own:
STEP ONE – Decide what you are going to call it. I called mine, ’30 good deeds, 30 facts and 30 treats for 30 days of Ramadhan’. Doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, I know, but at least there’ll be no doubt about exactly what it is!
And it’s better than my original thought of 30 good deeds, 30 facts and 30 treats for 29 or 30 days of Ramadhan depending on when the moon is sighted/whether you trust who sighted it/whether it can be seen in your particular country/what school of thought you follow/if you just want unity.
STEP TWO – Create a backdrop for the calendar. I did this:
It doesn’t have to be a picture though, it could be patterns or you could even just use coloured paper instead – it just depends on how creative you feel like being and how much time you have, so do whatever tickles your fancy! (What an incredibly strange phase!)
STEP THREE: Decide which 30 deeds and facts you are going to include and write/draw them into boxes, ensuring that they are not too big, as you need to fit 30 of them onto your calendar and they need to fit in the envelopes. Unfortunately, I’d already finished doing mine, cut them up and placed them inside envelopes by the time I had decided to do this blog post so I don’t have a picture of them all, but here’s an example of what I mean:
Sorry about the writing. I laminated my fact cards so that they would last longer and I could use them for other purposes later on, but it means they don’t photograph very well.
If any of you are interested in knowing what I included for each day, I will be posting a photo of each fact and good deed on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/sarcasticmuslimmama) each day once my daughter has opened the envelope for that day.
STEP FOUR: Place a fact, a good deed and a treat (if you wish) into a small envelope and then write what day of Ramadhan it is for on the outside. Something like this:
STEP FIVE: Decide how you’re going to attach the envelopes to the calendar. The easiest thing to do would be to stick the envelopes directly onto the calendar. I decided to feed twine through holes that I’d placed on opposite sides and then attach the envelopes onto the twine using small, decorated pegs
because I like to make life as difficult as possible for myself.
And voila! Here is your finished product:
If you choose to do it my way, you will need to add more sheets of paper/card to the back to make it stronger, as the weight of the envelopes on the string will make the calendar curve inwards.
May I also take this opportunity to wish all those that have subscribed/followed/liked/disliked/ignored my blog/Facebook page a very happy and blessed Ramadhan. May it be filled with barakah, gratitude, generosity and not too much bad breath! If you know, you know!