Have fun celebrating Ramadan as a family with these festive crafts and activities that will also teach kids the history of the holiday.

By Imani Bashir
May 14, 2020
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MARCO LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri (lunar) calendar. Hijri marks the migration (aka Hijrah) of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions from Mecca to the city of Medina in Saudi Arabia. This holiday (from April to May in 2020) is very special to 1.8 billion Muslims around the world for many reasons.

Firstly, fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of obligations that Muslims are expected to fulfill in the Islamic faith. Secondly, the month of Ramadan marks the revelation of the holy book the Quran. This book was believed to have been revealed in this ninth month to the Prophet Muhammad. Lastly, it is written that the holiest night of the year is during this month and it is called "Laylatul Qadr" or the "Night of Power."

For 30 days, Muslims who have reached puberty and are not sick, elderly, pregnant, menstruating, or breastfeeding fast. They eat "suhoor" before the dawn prayer "Fajr" comes in and will break their fasts for "iftar" just as the evening prayer "Maghrib" comes in. It is also a month where charity is given in the form of "zakat"—another pillar of Islam. And then there is a celebration at the end called "Eid al-Fitr," which means "festival of breaking the fast."

Giving your kids a history lesson may not be the best way to get them excited about Ramadan. But here are five fun activities that will teach your children about the holiday and bring more joy into family time (especially while staying indoors during the coronavirus pandemic).

Create a Fun Calendar

For the 30 days of Ramadan, you can jazz up your calendar by marking each one with stickers, stamps, or individual cutouts to show each passing day. Decorating a calendar can also help children learn the differences between the Gregorian and the lunar calendars.

Take it a step further by picking one new thing about Ramadan or the Islamic faith to learn together each day. You can choose a theme for the week like the prophets, daily prayers, learning basic Arabic words or phrases, and each day of the week will represent learning something under the theme. Your children can teach everyone what their theme of the day is.

Be Philanthropic With a Sadaqat Box

Ramadan is the holiest month on the Islamic calendar and teaches us all to be more charitable. Engage in some arts and crafts by creating a sadaqat box (or charity box) using a shoe box, tissue box, or any other compact-sized box and making it colorful. Include things that are special to this month like a crescent moon, stars, and lanterns. You can even take your box up a notch by draping any holiday lights you may have in the house. Everyone can put money inside each day and choose a cause that you all believe in to donate at the end.

Also, another way of giving charity is through counting your blessings. Your sadaqat box can also be filled with notes of what you're grateful for each day. It is a great way to remember those who may have less. By the end of the month everyone can randomly choose a note and read them aloud.

Learn the Phases of the Moon

Because this month coincides with the phases of the moon, it is an awesome learning tool for children. The month begins with the sighting of the new crescent moon which means that each year Ramadan begins about 11 days earlier than the previous year.

Using science and astronomy, you may be able to tell when the month begins and when it ends. In turn, your children can learn the phases of the moon.

Have Fun With Henna Paint

Henna is a temporary, artistic tattoo paste that is often used to represent many exciting occasions such as holidays, marriages, and festivals. At the end of Ramadan, women and girls love to get their outer hands and palms painted with henna designs.

The great thing about henna is that you don't have to be a pro. Online sites such as Amazon and Etsy provide a plethora of henna paste options as well as stencils, but always make sure sellers are credible. Also, be sure to do an allergy test prior to ensure that your child's skin will not react to the henna. And always reach out to your pediatrician first with any other concerns.

Get Festive With Eid Decor

Much like Christmas, Ramadan is a very festive month. Those who celebrate love using lights or even lanterns to make their homes fun for the holiday. Being only one of two holidays that Muslims celebrate, it is a time when everyone exchanges gifts and sweets, and partakes in festivals and family gatherings.

It is also a fun time to create homemade Eid cards. It's a fantastic way to lift spirits and have everyone feel special.

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