A Doodle Challenge is a list of drawing prompts: One thing to draw every day of the month. You can use any technique you want and you don’t have to be artistically gifted to take part. It is aimed equally at children and adults.
Why a doodle challenge for Ramadan?
Because Ramadan days can be long and tiring, especially for children who are old enough to fast; and they can be intense for mothers. Both can use a super simple, fun activity like this to share a relaxing moment together and brush up their artistic skills (pun totally intended!!!!).
Screenshot the list of prompts or, alternatively you can download the free printable by clicking on the image below. If you participate and share your pictures on Instagram, please tag @salamhomeschooling !
May Allah allow us to reach Ramadan, strive sincerely for His sake during it and beyond, and receive His abundant forgiveness and mercy, ameen.
I am getting the usual last minute rush of pre-Ramadan ideas. New concepts emerge thick and fast from the brain fog, between teaching to tell the time and washing a big pile of dishes.
As we know, the Companions of the Prophet Muhammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), would encorage their children to fast, even if they had not yet reached puberty. If the children struggled, they would distracted them with a simple toy.
Al-Rubay’ bint Mu’awwidh (may Allah be pleased with her) said while describing how the Prophet (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) told them to fast ‘Āshūrā:
We used to make toys out of dyed wool for the children and keep them with us so if the children asked us for food we would give them the toys to distract them until they completed their fast.
Engage the brain to distract the stomach
DISCLAIMER: Islam instructs us to follow the middle way and the just and balanced approach in all things. Training our children to fast is no different: It must be tackled with wisdom, without being too lax or too strict. The age and ability of each child must be taken into consideration and their health and safety must always come first (as is the case for us adults too).
Having said so, many children can fast without any problems, Allahumma baarik, and they should be encouraged and supported in it.
A major part of the upbringing of our children is to train them to perform the legislated acts of worship, even before the age they become obligatory for them. It is useful to have something ready to divert the focus of our kids from food when they start to feel hungry (but can safely be encouraged to power through).
A small gift every day (collectible cards, marbles, small toys, puzzles, magazines or books…). This is usually very well received but it can get expensive and can produce an amount of cheap toy clutter in the house.
Art and crafts materials: try a different activity every day (different techniques, media, styles, subjects…)
Are you looking for something not too demanding yet engaging to occupy your children in Ramadan?
Something that is new and for them to discover each day of the month?
That’s exactly what we like to do in our family. On the one hand, we feel the need to put aside the planned activities and the schedules; on the other, we don’t want bored children, languishing around and just waiting for iftaar time!
We need entertainment with benefit and some sense of purpose, in sha’ Allah.
As part of my efforts to bring to this blog any resource I created that might benefit your family and homeschool (and that were originally posted on Islamic Bedtimestories, my old blog), I revisited 30 Days of Prompts. I call them “journaling” prompts because they are quite varied in their nature and a lot of them are about personal expression.
What is it?
It is a list of Ramadan themed writing prompts. They are quite general and can be tackled as simply or in as much depth as desired, so they are suitable – or can be easily adapted – for children of all ages.
Something to write on: any notebook or paper with a binder;
Something to write with;
Anything to decorate and illustrate: pencils, markers, stickers, scrapbooking paper and anything crafty you have at hand and your children enjoy working with.
Alhamdulillah, good times…
That Ramadan, my boys and I had the best time with these prompts and the box of craft paper and stickers (MY box of craft paper and stickers!) that I made available to them. Even my reluctant writer looked forward to the daily prompt! Alhamdulillah.
A word of caution: Don’t force it. This goes for any activity you (the parent) are all excited about. If, after the first few days, the excitement fizzles out, don’t bring up the prompts unless the child asks to do it. Some prompts might fall flat with some kid and completely fire up another. If a child wants to keep working on yesterday’s prompt, that’s great, Allahumma Baarik. She shouldn’t be rushed because there are still x number of prompts “to go through”. Meaningful engagement is what we are looking for. If it is nowhere to be found on a given day, move on: don’t take it personally and don’t be disappointed, in sha’Allah.
In case anyone is still on the fence on what to do this Ramadan homeschooling wise, or needs a little inspiration or simply would like a peep into our homeschool, this is what I have planned out for this Ramadan, insha’Allah.
None. (Hear my boys whoop!)
Ramadan is our only yearly “school” holiday. We don’t do Summer or Winter holidays, but homeschool throughout the year and take a week off every few months either when we travel to see family or when family travels to us from abroad.
It is a great perk of home education to have complete control over your holidays and arrange your “terms” to suit your family’s schedule.
I considered carrying on with maybe a “lighter” version of our usual homeschooling, due to the fact that sometimes the boys can get bored and turn a bit grumpy if they have too much freedom… but I decided to have some more crafty and recreational activities ready to surprise them with instead (see below).
Islamic Studies will be pretty much our only subject of study until after Eid. We will insha’Allah read “Sittings in the Month of Ramadan” by shaykh Salih al-Fawzan (hafeedhahullah) and complete the workbook I created to make it easier for my children.
I always wanted to try out a morning basket but out morning are always too full, alhamdulillah.
Morning baskets are essentially a collection of books that are enjoyed together. It doesn’t have to be a basket (ours is an old, battered magazine rack that I revamped a few years ago); it doesn’t have to be in the morning either, which is why it is something high on my list after Eid, insha’Allah.
Much has been written and shared online about “morning baskets”, in a nutshell: someone reads out loud, everybody enjoys it. Some children may like to occupy their hands with colouring or some other similar activity while the reading carries on.
In the past I tried to include only books related to Ramadan, but I ended up disliking most of them and getting rid of them. So we will use the old Ramadan ones that we like, plus some new titles I bought super cheaply off ebay or second hand from my local buy&sell community.
PLEASE NOTE: I do not unreservedly agree with, nor do I deem appropriate, every single thing that is inside these books. Insha’Allah, before I present them to my children I will go through them and edit them as I see fit and I recommend you do the same.
(Disclaimer: I have just bought my own membership, full price. Arabic seeds doesn’t even know I am writing this.)
As a linguist and a lover of languages, I never had to be told twice that, being a Muslim, I should learn Arabic. In fact I started teaching myself my “alif, baa, taa” even before I embraced Islam. Alhamdulillah.
So this would make teaching Arabic to my children a piece of cake, right? erm… not so much. I have been told by my son that I “like grammar too much.” I have since been looking for ways to make the language more of a fun, “living language” and delve more into its usage than its in depth study.
Arabic Seeds does just that. I was told about it a few months ago, but there was so much going on already in our life and in our homeschool, that I postponed my subscription. But in Ramadan there will be space for it, insha’Allah. I subscribed with Miss3 in mind… but I am sure her older brothers will want to have a good nose about it and will benefit too.
PLEASE NOTE: These are not Ramadan themed activities. My boys are 11 and 8, and past the age of the DIY moon and stars mobiles and the “good deed trees”… Their connection to Ramadan can – and insha’Allah will – happen through study. I still wanted to give them activities for two reasons:
To give them a constructive way to entertain themselves during the day of fasting
To make time to do something fun together (which is not always a given when you homeschool, even if you are around each other practically 24/7…)
In a previous post I explained how I went about choosing 30 fun activities for my children, one for each day of Ramadan. The categories I chose, based on my children’s interests, are: Lego, STEM activities, easy recipes, general crafts (of the slightly laborious kind), origami and board games.
I thought it would not be sustainable to have a completely different set of activities for Miss3, so I picked activities that her brothers would enjoy and I will adapt most of them to allow her to participate, insha’Allah. It is easier than getting an 11 year old boy to get excited about decorating a paper tiara.
Here is our activity list, insha’Allah. We will do most of these and some of the days, we will use a couple of board games/paper and pen games we never played with before. You will find more on my Ramadan 1440 Pinterest board.