Phases of the moon puzzle

Assalamo ‘aleykum.

As I mentioned in one of the Ramadan planning posts, I put together a quick puzzle of the moon phases for the boys. I got the idea from What do we do all day.

Here is how I made mine. First I picked a circle shape to trace and traced 8 circles on black card (for once the white pencil in the box came in handy, Alhamdulillah!) they need to be in a line, or, as in my case, on 2 lines on a A3 card that I then cut in half. I traced the same 8 circles on craft paper, 4 on dark paper and 4 on light (to represent the lit part of the moon) and cut them out. I traced the line I intended to cut on the back so that I had: 2 circles with no line, 2 with a line down the middle and the rest with a crescent traced at the back. I laminated the cut circles as well as the black base.

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Then, because I do not measure stuff, I held at the same time a dark and a light circle with the same line on the back and,  making sure they were both facing down, I cut them at once. I then swapped the halves between each pair that was cut together, so that one part was dark and one light, this way they fit together reasonably well with no need for much precision in tracing the lines.

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I applied some self adhesive Velcro dots and made some labels with the names of the different phases of the moon on a strip of craft paper, making sure I cut between each with a different pattern (which, I have learned, is called “error control”, clever!). We enjoyed playing with it (and I enjoyed making it, Alhamdulillah!), the kids now want it put up on the wall. They have been eagerly scouting the night sky for the Ramadan moons ever since, using it to tell how much of the month had gone.

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Ramadan activity plan – WEEK 4

crescent moon

Assalamo ‘aleykum.

Here is the list of activities I chose to do with my children in the last week of Ramadan, Insha’Allah.

WEEK 4

DAY 1: Watermelon party bags. I just love these. We will be making them for our neighbours’ children (there’s a few masha’Allah!) and maybe for the other friends too, depending on finances. I haven’t bought anything to put in them and I prefer to make fewer with things you can actually use in them rather than making 50 full of tat, Insha’Allah. Erm… if you are my neighbour/friend and you are reading this, sorry for spoiling the surprise! (by the way, if my kids are presented with watermelon favours on Eid, let’s just say I will know where you got it from! eh eh… a nice exchange of watermelon slices, masha’Allah!)

DAY 2: Chocolate covered dates. A little something to (lovingly) rot your teeth, just in preparation for Eid! eh eh… my kids will be absolutely ecstatic over these I think…

DAY 3: We will be making Eid cards. I haven’t chosen a design or idea yet, I think I will let the boys choose, although I would really like to make something like THIS.

DAY 4: We’ll be making some Eid decorations! Probably some lolly sticks stars, Insha’Allah. We might even make some heart paper chain similar to THIS ONE, simply because we have got a box full of punched out hearts in lovely craft papers, left over from another craft endeavour.

DAY 5: We will make pink lemonade. The boys will find a recipe, as well as lemons, sugar and raspberries in their mailbox, Insha’Allah.

DAY 6: Eid Colouring pages, 1 , 2, 3

DAY 7 – DAY 7+1 : The boys will be completing this Sunan of Eid al-Fitr colouring book, Insha’Allah.

LAST DAY: When we know it is the last day of Ramadan, we will make Rainbow Cupcakes to have on Eid, insha’Allah

Ramadan activity plan – WEEK 3

Full-Moon-moon

Assalamo ‘alaykum.

Please find below the breakdown of the daily activities I chose for my children for the third week of Ramadan, Insha’Allah.

WEEK 3

DAY 1: Mosaic rainbow magnets

DAY 2: We’ll be making Tunisian (or Libyan or Algerian) Tajine. Not the stew cooked in the cone shaped pot, but a very thick frittata with chicken, cheese and all sorts of goodies that should cut in chunky neat squares, masha’Allah.

DAY 3: Today they boys will do some worksheets/colouring from the “Welcome Ramadan” workbook from A Muslim Homeschool (jazakillahu khayran).

DAY 4: DIY Moon Phases Puzzle. I made my own today, I will make a separate post to show how I did it, Insha’Allah. 

DAY 5: Ramadan thoughts worksheet for Yusef. I might ask Bilal to tell me his thought and I can write them down for him… and/or just give him a simpler things such as THIS or THIS.

DAY 6: Stained glass window craft. This has nice simple patterns (important since I will need to prepare them already cut out) but I have some pretty masjid shaped ones on my Pinterest board too, masha’Allah. (I need to get some colourful tissue paper for the pound shop Insha’Allah!).

DAY 7: Ramadan Board Game from A Muslim Homeschool (barak Allahu feeki). I am very very excited about this one!!!

More time, more patience

Today I was late with everything. I did my Qur’an late, I started homeschooling late, lunch was late. You see where I am going. Basically, I was hijacked by my 3 year old (soon to be 4 Insha’Allah). He did that cute face as he begged: “Ummi, come to play pizza oven a liiiiiiiiiiiittle bit…”

He had built a pizza oven in the playroom. he was wearing a white cotton drawstring bag as a (really floppy) chef’s hat, held up by his ears. He was rushing around very competently and comfortably in his play kitchen. He made me pizza and a few other yummy treats. We chatted. It was all very cute, I promise you.

This is the pizza oven. (Note his chef hat on the blue chair while the pizza is cooking under the brown one)

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This is my order of pizza with mushrooms and a side (felt) salad.

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While, at his age, Yusef enjoyed making and organizing playdough shapes and letters, doing worksheets and making me write the number 0-10 over and over and over again, Bilal needs to do “real things”. Now, real things have got a completely different pace compared to academic things. Real things require time and patience, especially from one’s adult helper. Real things are imaginative, fun, creative and they teach you how to be a human being (a process that can’t be rushed).

Then why sometimes it is so hard to just let go of “getting things done” and go along with that? Why do we struggle so much to relinquish control, once in a while? Why can’t we accept that we are going to be late with everything and that – insha’Allah – it will be worth it?

Why can’t we find more time and have more patience?

Sweet rewards

For a long time I thought about introducing a reward system connecting certain types of age appropriate house chores with money, but struggled to find the right format. Then I came across an ice-cream cone reward chart for toddlers on Pinterest (https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/397935317045719021/) and immediately loved it. It isn’t just cute, it is perfect for a boy who is still too small to read (and will still be for a while) as well as his older brother, it goes on the wall neatly instead of sitting on my kitchen counter where it could easily be knocked over (I had considered using jars with marbles), it doesn’t require much printing and did I already mention it is so cute? I want one for myself, for when I am a good insha’Allah. Plus I got to use my craft papers and laminator, which is always great fun.

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The idea is not that children should be paid for contributing to housework. It is their duty to pitch in and I do not believe they are entitled to payment for it per se. However, I want to encourage them and to create good habits, insha’Allah. I want them to learn to be responsible for whatever money they have, to chose how (and if) to spend it and to know where it comes from, insha’Allah. Also, I chose some specific jobs they dislike to do. I am not going to reward Bilal for washing the dishes or Yusef for reading, for example, because they love it and they would do it for hours given the chance… the list I put on the chart is not exhaustive and I do add things as they come to my mind. I might even do the opposite: restricting the reward if an ice-cream scoop only to a specific job they are particularly adverse to(i.e. Yusef taking off his clothes neatly or Bilal dressing on his own, as he can get lazy about that).

So far it is working well, Alhamdulillah. My husband said I’ve been too generous by putting £5 as a target… Yusef is already almost there… I was stuck for an amount to put, I didn’t want to be too liberal with it but also I wanted to give something they could realistically spend in an amount of time that wouldn’t be so long they would completely forget what they are doing and why. But the prize awarded might be modified as we go along.

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The seasons in our house

It might be because one of our children is still very young, it might be that seeing their work displayed gives the children a nice sense of pride, or it might just be that we love to see a splash of colour on the walls (aside from Bilal scribbles….alhamdulillah, the boy has a bit if a graffiti problem) but we just love season themed decorations.  This year we mostly printed off our material (from here http://www.twinkl.co.uk/ some printables are free, others need subscription), not the most creative approach, but it gave us (me) ideas on what can be done (and saves tons of times that can be used actually making and studying other things).
This is our Autumn display, featuring acrostic poems, symmetric drawings of leaves and detachable acorns number bonds (done by Yusef) and colouring, tracing, cutting, gluing and ordering by size (done by Bilal).

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Below is our Winter display (my favourite season masha’Allah).

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More poems, symmetry, scissor skill etc.
Again, we took a lot of ready made things from http://www.twinkl.co.uk/ and some creative ideas from pinterest,  which you will find on my Winter crafts board here https://uk.pinterest.com/ummyusef/winter-crafts/

Our winter decorations are always put up later in the season, usually well into January.  I wait until the christmas decorations are well and truly gone from everywhere around us to decorate in our house. I would never want my children to associate Winter with this festivity or to feel like we are somehow taking part. Alhamdulillah.

Robot heads anyone?

Some products – like these traditional Italian cakes – come in boxes shaped in such ways that they just scream: “CRAAAFT!!! Make something with me!!!”. Children all over Italy have been poking holes and sticking their heads in panettone and pandoro boxes since … well… forever. It is one of the most played with craft we ever made Shockingly, they are still with us after a couple of months and after having been played with by our kids and their friends!

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Yusef put a “fly” button on his, because he wanted to fly. Bilal wears his when he recites Qur’an to himself or delivers one of his khutbahs; he says it makes him louder.