Apr 132017
 
 April 13, 2017  activities, crafts, Ridvan, STEM 2 Responses »

The Festival of Ridván begins next week, and because it commemorates Bahá’u’lláh’s stay in a garden full of roses, I love to do rose crafts and activities with my children to celebrate (like make these rose cookies). Inspired by the roses that were piled in Bahá’u’lláh’s tent each day (so many that His guests could not see each other over them!) I have gathered together a huge list of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes for you. Enjoy!

A huge collection of rose crafts, play and learning activities, and recipes

Rose Crafts

From Living Ideas: DIY Rose Egg Craft

From Crafts by Amanda: Realistic Duct Tape Roses & Cardboard Tube Bouquet of Felt Roses

From Red Ted Art: Paper Towel Roses & Duct Tape Rose Pens

From Messy Little Monster: Celery Roses

From No Biggie: Pipe Cleaner Rose Rings

From Mum in the Madhouse: Simple Paper Roses

From Bellissima Kids: Paper Roses Bouquet

From FabDIY: Coffee Filter Rose

From Self-Reliant Living: Egg Carton Roses

From Mom on Time Out: Hershey’s Kisses Roses

From Kids Activities Blog: Paper Plate Roses

Rose Play & Learning Activities

From Teach Beside Me: LED Roses

From Schooling a Monkey: 3D Rose Model – Biology for Kids

From Mother Natured: Rose Study

From Homegrown Friends: Color Changing Rose Experiment

From Kitchen Counter Chronicle: Make a Book – The Giving Roses

From Nurture Store: Rose Petal Sensory Play Tub

From Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Rose Petal Water Play

From Childhood 101: Rose Playdough

From Crafts on Sea: Rose Scented Playdough

Rose Recipes

From All Done Monkey: Rose Cookies

From Martha Stewart: Ring Around the Rose Petal Fools

From The European Mama: Rose Petal Jam

From Gimme Some Oven: Rose Cake

From Life of a Lost Muse: Rose Apple Pie

From Heather Christo: White Peach and Rose Sorbet

From The Pretty Blog: Homemade Rosewater Marshmallows

From Global Table Adventure: Rosewater Lemonade, Rosewater Tea, Sweet Semolina Cake with Rosewater and Lemon, & Sweet Saffron Custard with Rosewater

From Posh Little Designs: DIY Raspberry Rose Ice Cubes

From A Pumpkin & A Princess: Rose Petal Bath Soak

From Lulus: Coconut Rose Body Scrub

Apr 112017
 
 April 11, 2017  Ridvan No Responses »

As the Bahá’í festival of Ridván approaches, I’m pleased to share this beautiful Ridvan flower board idea from my friend Chelsea Lee Smith of Enable Me To GrowIt is a great way for families to celebrate this festival with kids! For more ideas, see our Walking Through the Garden of Ridván series.

Ridvan Flower Board with Activities for Children | Alldonemonkey.com

Ridvan Flower Board

Ridván is the “King of Festivals” for Bahá’ís and commemorates the 12 days that Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. camped on the banks of the Tigris River near Baghdad and, while there, proclaimed His mission to a small group of followers. (To read more click here).

I wanted to create some sort of way for our family to get a surprise on each of the 12 days (plus a decoration to have out during the Ridván period). Luckily I happened to find a piece of homemade art at a second-hand shop made out of wood with 12 wooden flowers, so I used it to make this Ridvan flower board.  I took off the random bits that were on it (stickers, pieces of paper, buttons, paper muffin cups etc decorating the flowers) and repainted it, cut up some leaves and painted them too, then added little jewels, some decorative ribbon, and some letters and numbers I bought.

Ridvan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

You can make your flower board out of cardboard, card stock, cloth, etc. You could either add leaves or flowers – if with cloth a little tab of velcro may work well to attach them, and if it’s paper then try using blue tac.

I put a little surprise activity on a post-it note on the back of each of the leaves. The leaves are attached to the frame with sticky tac, so that my son can take them off to read on the appropriate day. (You can use pictures for younger children so they can “read” the notes themselves).

For a group project, you could give each child a flower or leaf to decorate and add to the board. And you could either post up quotations or numbers on top of the flowers/leaves for each day.

Sample Activities for Each Leaf

Bake a cake for the Ridván party

Plant a garden

Do a crown craft

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Make a card for a friend

Have fun with sensory play

Enjoy tea and muffins while talking about the story of Ridván

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Get ice cream

Tell the story of Ridván using a felt board

Make tents

Rdivan Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Make a collage of flowers

Make rose cookies

Learn a new song

Go on a picnic

Ridván Flower Board | Alldonemonkey.com

Because we’ve been in the groove of celebrating Holy Days for the past few years, it is seeming to come so much more naturally now and I don’t feel stressed about getting things together but just going with the flow.  So if you are new to the idea of celebrating but want to do something, don’t worry if it seems difficult at first or like it’s too much to plan.  The smallest and simplest of things mean the most to children… like today I arranged the fruit on the plate in a pretty way for morning snack (ie grapes in the middle of the plate surrounded by cut up pears and apples) and the boys were super impressed.  Just putting in a little effort here and there to make things festive and remembering to talk about the meaning of the day is great.  And with a little practice, it will all come together easily.

Chelsea Lee Smith is a mother of three and is passionate about empowering families with tools for character education so that they can contribute to making the world a better place. She blogs at Enable Me To Grow offering activities, ideas and resources for character building and more.

Apr 052017
 

Learning to navigate your emotions and those of others is an important set of skills for children to develop. This “emotional intelligence” is just as critical to future success and happiness as learning the multiplication tables and state capitals, perhaps more so. Children who are able to identify their feelings and work with them will be healthier, more balanced individuals who can empathize with others and connect with them in meaningful ways. Here are some tips for how you can help your children develop emotional intelligence.

Tips for parents to teach emotional intelligence

I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Emotional Intelligence: Tips for Parents

1. Name that Emotion

The building block of emotional intelligence is the ability to identify emotions. Teaching this skill can begin very early, as babies learn to read and mimic expressions. I love board books like Making Faces: A First Book of Emotions:

My toddler loves flipping through the pages of this sweet, simple book to see the photos of the baby faces. The book explores six basic emotions by showing one enlarged photo of a baby whose expression reflects that emotion then asking the reader to find that face again on a page of various smaller photos. Books like this are great because they capitalize on babies’ fascination with looking at other babies. My daughter loves to stare at the baby faces and often mimics their expressions, trying out the emotions for herself.

My little girl loves her new book Making Faces from @abramskids! Babies and toddlers love looking at faces, and this sturdy board book makes good use of that to teach little ones about emotions by showing them pictures of other children that are angry, happy, surprised, etc. The mirror at the end is an especially big hit! Great book to keep very young readers entertained and learning. Visit @annofdoodlesandjots for another #picturebookoftheday recommendation! . . . #mkbkids #kbn #momsoninstagram #kidbloggersofig #kidlit #books #booksforchildren #homeschooling #kbnhs #ig_motherhood #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #picturebook #boardbook #ece #mytinymoments #ourcandidlife #playmatters #instagood #instakids #learningthroughplay #love #kbnmoms

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As children get older, the naming process can become more sophisticated, as children learn to identify more nuanced emotions. For example, in the lovely Today I Feel . . .: An Alphabet of Feelings we find I is for Invisible, O is for Original, and R is for Relaxed.

This is a book my preschooler often requests at bedtime. Again, the book makes use of an interest at this age (learning ABCs) to talk about emotions. In Today I Feel…, each letter/emotion pair is accompanied by an illustration, so it is easy to spark a conversation: “Why do you think he feels invisible? What’s your favorite way to relax?”

2. Check Your Judgment at the Door

Sometimes it’s hard to feel empathetic with a little one and their big emotions, if their problems seem, well, small to you. Why is your child throwing a tantrum over which color cup he can use or who gets to push the button on the elevator? Don’t they know there are bigger problems, like paying bills or dealing with global warming??

Yet remember that to them their problems are very real and very big, and only when we treat their feelings respectfully can we help our children grapple with their emotions. When we respond with respect, we open up a safe place where children feel comfortable sharing their feelings with us. One picture book that does a great job of this is Dad and the Dinosaur:

This beautifully illustrated book does not belittle the very real fears that children have about what might lurk in the shadows or under manhole covers. Instead, it introduces coping mechanisms to help calm those fears, like having a comfort toy or confiding in a trusted adult. The boy in the story is able to face his greatest fears because of his toy dinosaur, which is not afraid of anything. When the dinosaur goes missing, however, the boy’s fears become overwhelming. I have to mention that while I love that the father in this book takes his son’s fears seriously and sets out to help him find the dinosaur, I wish that he had also taught the boy that he didn’t need the dinosaur for courage but that he had the courage he needed inside himself all along.

3. Give Them Tools

All too often we find ourselves in the position of reacting to behaviors that are the end results of an emotional process, when the emotions are already too big to be easily dealt with. Try to get ahead of this during calm times, by helping kids gain the tools they’ll need to head off emotional explosions before they reach the boiling point. Teach them strategies like taking a deep breath, talking it out, and running out their energy to help them manage their emotions. One book that does an excellent job of teaching kids how to deal with anger is The tiger in my chest:

I mean, what a great metaphor for feeling angry! First it talks through how it feels to be angry as the tiger in their chest grows bigger and bigger. Then teaches kids that tigers can be tamed and that they can be tiger tamers – brilliant! My kids really love this book, and we’ve started implementing its suggestions for calming down body and mind. This book really breaks everything down into terms that children can easily understand and put into practice right away. I also love the emphasis on learning to accept, forgive, and move on (including forgiving ourselves).

4. Show Them the Bigger Picture

Perspective is everything, and one of the easiest ways to get out of an emotional funk is to do something to help others. Serving others not only will help children get their mind off their own problems, it helps put their troubles into perspective. However, resist the temptation to make too direct a link between others’ problems and their own, or children may become defensive or feel belittled. The point will get across, and, more importantly, their spirits will be uplifted and their horizons expanded, which in the long run will make a bigger difference in changing their perspective.

If you have tweens or teens, I really recommend the wonderfully creative book Hot Air (Kindle edition). (Visit One Voice Press for the paperback version).

Bored and frustrated with living with her alcoholic mother, twelve year old Annie decides to make a grand escape – by building a hot air balloon (the perfect metaphor for anyone who has wanted to escape from their troubles)! This magical adventure takes Annie across the world, making new friends at every stop. As she visits distant lands, she finds her own strength to help others and in the process sees her own life through new eyes. I love how multi-dimensional the main character is – we see her immaturity and naivety as she begins her journey, but we also see her selflessness and courage as she chooses again and again to help those in need. A wonderful book about leaving your comfort zone to serve others and gain a new perspective.

5. Model Emotional Intelligence

Finally, remember that actions speak louder than words, and your children will learn more from watching your behavior than they will from anything you say. Take time to check in with your emotions and use the same tools you recommend for your kids. Taking several deep breaths has helped me on many occasions! And being honest with your kids when you make mistakes and apologizing if you blow your top also go a long way to helping them learn to be gentle with themselves. Kids really respond if they feel you are all in it together!

What are your tips for teaching emotional intelligence?

Feb 142017
 
 February 14, 2017  Ayyam-i-Ha No Responses »

Looking for some great Ayyam-i-Ha gifts for your loved ones? Find something for everyone (including homemade gifts and crafts) in our newly updated Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide, while supporting Bahá’í-inspired and globally minded businesses!

Ayyam-i-Ha Gift Guide 2017 - Alldonemonkey.com

Ayyám-i-Há Gift Guide 2017

And don’t miss these Ayyám-i-Há gifts on Etsy, and these cute printable bookmarks and gift tags!

And of course, don’t miss our Ayyám-i-Há Fun Book, on sale now!

Ayyam-i-Ha: Fun Ideas for Children and Families

Dec 282016
 

We all want our children to soar, to go on brave adventures to help others and achieve their dreams. From stunning picture books to a magical middle grade novel, here is a collection of wonderful tales that encourage children to do just that: to have courage and embark on their own heroic journeys.

Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Tales of Heroic Journeys | Alldonemonkey.com

Tales of Heroic Journeys

Introduce children to a classic Japanese fairy tale with the beautiful The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends. The story begins, as many do, with an unexpected friendship of two children and their subsequent adventures. But while one of the children is a typical boy from the Japanese countryside in the days before the encroachment of the modern world, the other is not human at all. Rather, he is a kappa, a mythical water creature known to be playful – and to love cucumbers! Despite their differences, the boys become close friends; yet, as modernization begins to pollute the nearby waters, the kappa and his family are forced to leave. The boys only come into contact again years later, when the kappa returns to help his old friend – now a man – avoid a tragedy. They are delighted to be together again, but now, thanks to increasing pollution, the kappa is old and weak. A cautionary tale about protecting the environment, and having the courage to help our friends despite the danger to ourselves. (As a side note, the myth of the kappa is actually the origin of our modern story of mutant ninja turtles!)

I love the endearing illustrations of the two boys and the changing landscape of the countryside. And even though I don’t know any Japanese, I love having this bilingual Japanese-English edition because it is such a wonderful way to expose children to another language and way of writing!

Related Post: Global Adventure Books for Kids

Bessie, Queen of the Sky

Image courtesy of Queen Girls

I am so delighted to introduce the soon to be released Bessie, Queen of the Sky from Queen Girls. This remarkable new publishing company speaks to the hearts of so many parents who want inspiring stories for their daughters (and sons!) of remarkable women. The creators have taken stories from real life and turned them into fairy tales that will attract young readers. (Note: the heroines of these stories are queens, not princesses!) The poetic writing and and whimsical illustrations do have that magical quality of fairy tales, drawing the reader into a story about a character – the first African American female pilot – who is both larger than life and infinitely relatable.

I have a personal connection to the story of Bessie Coleman. She was from the same small town in Texas as my grandparents, though she had already left by the time they were born. When I think of how hard it was for my grandfather, a white male, to escape the poverty and depression of a sharecropper’s life there, the story of a young black woman making an even more incredible journey outward and upward is simply astonishing. I am so pleased to see this story given the attention it is due and happy to support the mission of Queen Girls to bring more such stories to light. Visit the Kickstarter page to order Bessie, Queen of the Sky and learn more about this remarkable company! (One copy of the book is donated to at risk girls for every copy that is purchased!)

Related Post: Biographies for Kids about Following Your Dreams

Imagine that the tragedies of history could somehow be redeemed, that not all of the slaves lost in the cataclysmic Atlantic crossings actually died, that not all of the “boat people” supposedly drowned while escaping the chaos of post-war Vietnam were really dead, but that they had somehow slipped through a portal into another world. In the wonderful new middle grade novel A Crack in the Sea readers can imagine a Second World where some of the First World’s victims find refuge and rebuild an ideal society on a string of islands and a man-made floating “Raft World.” Yet always among some there is a yearning to return “home” and a selfish desire to do whatever it takes to get there.

The young protagonists of the story must discover how to stop the plot and save the people of Raft World while at the same time understanding how to make use of their supernatural gifts – or their lack of them. As they journey to find safety for their families, they must contend with the ruthlessness of slavers, disease, pirates, storms, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion. But the real journey is an emotional one, as they all struggle to find their place in this world (or another) and discover the depths of their own courage and what they are willing to fight – and die – for.

For more book recommendations, be sure to visit my Books for Kids board on Pinterest!

Dec 082016
 

Bullying is a subject on the minds of many parents lately, particularly for those with children of color or of a different faith, orientation, or that simply look or act different than other kids. For generations parents have worried about whether their children will fit in or whether they would make friends, but for many families today, the worries are much more serious and the consequences even more so. It is time for us to come together to create safe havens for our children, where they can just be kids, without fear of harassment. In that spirit, I am honored to share with you these wonderful resources to help children of all ages embrace diversity and choose love and acceptance over judgement.

Resources to Help Kids Embrace Diversity | Alldonemonkey.com

Disclaimer: I received complimentary copies of several of the books below for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links; if you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no cost to you.

Resources to Help Kids Embrace Diversity

A friend recently pointed out to me that so many resources about bullying and acceptance are aimed at school age children, although we need to start teaching respect for diversity at a much younger age. While there are some picture books on the topic available these days, we do need more that speak to younger children in language that they understand. I love Red Or Blue I Like You because it takes real situations that children may encounter and helps deal with misconceptions they may have or that others may have about them. I also appreciate that it deals with stereotypes in a way that is very gentle and not at all s-c-a-r-y. No one is harassed or targeted; there are just a bunch of happy monsters that have some silly ideas about each other, which they overcome through genuine friendship. For example, when Elmo goes to his new friend’s house, he finds out that not all blue monsters eat the same food, while Angela and her family are surprised to learn that not all red monsters watch a certain TV show!

A great book for very young children is Olivia Loves Owl. Although Olivia and Owl have many differences – one has feathers, one has a sweater, one sleeps at night, one sleeps in the day – they are inseparable buddies. Olivia and Owl do everything together, and children will love their special bond. While this book does not talk explicitly about diversity, it does have a message of acceptance of differences, told in a way that very young children can understand easily.

A sweet book for animal lovers is Coco y Coca Tienen Miedo (Spanish Edition). Through the story of Coco and Coca, two Doberman Pinschers, children come to understand the problem of judging someone before you know them. Coco and Coca are loving, friendly dogs, but most of their neighbors gossip about them and hide their pets because they assume that all Doberman Pinschers are aggressive. Yet, as we learn, the truth is that these dogs are often scared themselves, even of the vacuum cleaner! What I most love about this book, though, is that the reader is invited to become the illustrator, as many of the drawings are only partially complete. Great activity to help children pay close attention to the details of the story so that they can illustrate it!

A tiny elephant is the perfect friend – except that no one else seems to think so. A young boy is excited to take his tiny elephant to the Pet Club meeting, only to find out that there are strictly no elephants allowed! But this pair show what friendship and loyalty are all about, as they not only stick together but reach out to others who have been rejected. Soon they start their own club, where strictly everyone is allowed. Very sweet book for any child that has ever felt left out because they are different.

#RespectEachOther Anti-Bullying Resource

I cannot say enough good things about the #RespectEachOther resource packet.  This packet, offered free of charge here, is full of resources for parents and educators on how to prevent and deal with bullying at school. It has practical, easy to follow advice about what to do if your child is being bullied, how to talk to students in the classroom about bullying and diversity, and what to tell your child to do if they are being bullied or see someone else being bullied. These are the on the ground, nitty gritty details about how to handle bullying and harassment – from phrases to use when talking to your child’s school, how to keep from losing your cool, and even how to contact the police and FBI. It includes great visuals for talking to children about different forms of bullying and about how to stand up for yourself and others.

This packet was borne out of love and fear for children today, who face a rising tide of bullying, in particular bullying that targets racial or other minorities. (Read more of the story behind the packet). It is being offered free of charge so that it can be used as widely as possible to create safe communities for all of our children.

How do you teach your children to embrace diversity?

Nov 152016
 

I was looking for an easy gratitude activity to do with my kids, but as always I had my hands full with the baby, so I knew it had to be something easy but also fun enough to keep their attention. This gratitude game requires no prep, but it is great writing practice and builds critical thinking skills. It helps kids focus on gratitude ahead of Thanksgiving, yet the end results are often hilarious.

Easy Gratitude Game: Writing Activity | Alldonemonkey.com

Easy Gratitude Game

This gratitude game only requires paper and pencil and takes just a few moments.

Each person writes a list of what they are grateful for, without letting anyone else see. For younger children, give a specific number of items they should write (we did 5). For older children, you could time it and see who can write the most number of items in a certain amount of time.

Once everyone has their list, have them try to write down what they think each other person’s list would be. (If possible, don’t tell them ahead of time about this step of the game, as otherwise they may purposely write a list that is difficult to guess). In our case, it was just the two boys, so they tried to guess each other’s lists, but with a larger group you could ask them to guess the list of the person sitting to their right.

When time is up, see how many you got right! We had a lot of fun with this part, as it was so funny to see what each thought the other had written down. It is harder to guess than you might think, even with hints! (My 6 year old’s list: PS4, basmati rice, life, the Earth, chicken).

Younger children can draw their answers if they can’t write yet, but I really recommend this for elementary age children. It was a good exercise for my preschooler to make his list, but it was so random that it was next to impossible for anyone to guess his answers. (“You’re grateful for a chicken bone?” “Yes! And flowers!”)

How do you practice gratitude with your children?

May 302016
 

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids | Alldonemonkey.com

Ramadan is coming, and in many homes across the world families are busy preparing for this special time. Last year as part of our world cultures curriculum, I put together this Ramadan lesson plan, appropriate for early elementary school children.  (Many of the activities could be simplified for preschoolers).  Because I like to integrate our subject matter as much as possible, it includes science, math, and literature, as well as religion.  Since it was primarily designed for children with no prior knowledge, it includes a very basic introduction to Islam.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Zachariah’s Perfect Day for review purposes; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Ramadan Lesson Plan for Kids

The Life of Muhammad

We began by talking about the Prophet Muhammad and His life.  For this I used Muhammad by Demi, one of our favorite authors.  It is a beautifully done and very respectful account of the life and significance of Muhammad.  It is a wonderful overview geared towards younger readers.  (You can also play some vocabulary games by picking out words that your students might not know, defining them together, then asking them to either act them out or draw pictures).

I pointed out how the illustrator was careful not to paint pictures of Muhammad, following a hadith, or tradition, that forbids creating images of Muhammad.  We looked at photos of the beautiful mosaics and calligraphy as examples of other types of Islamic art that have grown up over the centuries instead.  We then tried our hand at this Arabic calligraphy lesson for kids.

The Islamic Calendar

We discussed the Muslim calendar and how it is a lunar calendar (that is, based on the position of the moon relative to the Earth), instead of the more familiar solar calendar we use (based on the orbit of the Earth around the sun).  The Muslim calendar has 12 months, just like ours does, but because the Muslim month is based on the phases of the moon, each month is 29-30 days long.  The lunar year, therefore, is shorter than the solar year by just over 10 days, meaning that the Muslim calendar seems to rotate around the solar calendar.  (You can read more about calendars of the world, including the difference between solar and lunar calendars).  So sometimes Ramadan is in the summer but sometimes in the winter, spring, or fall.

This is a pretty abstract concept for kids to grasp, so we did an activity to see how the dates on the solar and lunar calendars compared. We pulled out a calendar and did a “race” between the solar and lunar calendars, with the starting line t January 1.  Then we counted out 29 days for month one and marked it on the calendar, then counted another 29 days for month 2, etc. until we had completed one lunar year.  Now where was the first day of the new year?  How far off was it from the solar new year?  Who had won the race?  Depending on the interest of your students, you could continue the activity for one or two more cycles and see how far off the calendars are after only a few years.

Phases of the Moon

Next we jumped more into the science behind the Islamic calendar by looking more closely at the phases of the moon, since Ramadan begins with the first sighting of the new moon.  (There is a great chart of the phases of the moon in Zachariah’s Perfect Day).  They each made their own chart by cutting out pieces and gluing them on black paper.  We also did this really great visual activity that makes it very clear why the moon looks different throughout the month.  Kids will have fun taking turns at being the Earth!

Books about Ramadan

All of which teaches us about the mechanics of the month of Ramadan, but not about what it is like to celebrate it.  For this we turned to some great books about the experience of children during Ramadan:

Zachariah’s Perfect Day is a wonderful book about a boy’s first time fasting during Ramadan.  I love that it gives a very easy to understand overview about what Ramadan is, woven naturally into the story.  It shows what makes it such a special time and what a typical day during Ramadan looks like for a family.  It even includes the call to prayer and some recipes for Zachariah’s favorite foods (even deep-fried Oreos!)  The excitement and joy of Ramadan really come through, as we experience the fast through Zachariah’s eyes.

A wonderful book for young children is Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors.  Through gorgeous illustrations and simple text, it introduces major symbols and traditions of Ramadan.  It is easy to read and lends itself very easily to craft projects.  You could also have children talk about what are the important colors of their day.

Activities

My boys have short attention spans when it comes to crafts, so we did a very simple project of gluing torn paper onto crescent shapes.  (You can find tons of wonderful craft ideas on our Ramadan Pinterest board).

You can also find wonderful traditional recipes for Ramadan to prepare together.  For example, Zachariah’s Perfect Day‘s includes a recipe for parathas from India. You could also keep things simple by bringing in dates for them to try!

One of the most important parts of Ramadan is focusing on spiritual growth through good deeds and charity.  A great activity for this is to make these colorful good deed jars for them to use.  You could also do a simple service project together.  For example, we baked cookies to share with the staff at my older son’s school.

Ramadan is such a joyous time of year.  It is a wonderful way to teach children about Islam and how it is practiced by families around the world and right next door!  If possible, a great final step to this lesson would be to contact a local Muslim community and see what Ramadan celebrations you can visit with your students!

 

Ramadan for Kids 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs

Multicultural Kid Blogs is proud to be hosting its second annual Ramadan for Kids blog hop, where bloggers come together to share ideas for teaching kids about and honoring Ramadan. Don’t forget to check out our series from last year and follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest for even more ideas and link up your own posts below!

Participating Blogs

ArabBaba on Multicultural Kid Blogs
All Done Monkey
Kid World Citizen
A Crafty Arab
Creative World of Varya
Crafty Moms Share
Global Advocate Jr.
Colours of Us
La Cité des Vents
Words ‘n’ Needles


May 192016
 

Picture Books about Sharing | Alldonemonkey.com

Ah, sharing!  One of the major concepts a young child has to learn, and something that (let’s admit it!) even adults sometimes struggle with.  Here are some great picture books about sharing to help your little ones understand this fundamental idea and why it is so important.  For even more ideas, check out these ideas to teach kids about generosity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Feathers for Peacock from Wisdom Tales Press; however, all opinions are my own.  This post contains affiliate links.  If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission.

Picture Books about Sharing

Feathers for Peacock is another wonderful tale from one of our favorite authors, Jacqueline Jules. Ever wonder why peacocks have such gorgeous feathers? In this beautiful story, the peacock gains his feathers because of the kindness of the other birds. Back in those days, when the world was still new, birds did not have feathers, until the moon took pity on them. But Peacock did not hear the news and so missed getting his feathers! When the other birds see his plight, they all pitch in to help give Peacock feathers of his own. While this is an original story, it has the style and simple truths of a classic folktale.

My preschooler never tires of reading Feast for 10, a counting tale for young readers about a family preparing for a special dinner. My son loves mapping this family onto our own, pointing out the mom, the dad, and the baby, and deciding which of the boys is him and which is his older brother. Great book to show a loving family working together to make a meal everyone can enjoy.

You can’t go wrong with an Elephant and Piggie book, so I was so happy to see that there was one on sharing. In Should I Share My Ice Cream?, Gerald is about to enjoy a nice cold ice cream cone on a hot day, when he suddenly thinks of his friend and wonders if Piggie would want to share the ice cream with him. He goes through all the classic stages of sharing angst, including rationalization, guilt, and the secret thrill of enjoying a treat in secret. In the end, however, his love for his friend wins out – but he has taken so long to make up his mind that his ice cream has melted! It is only then that he realizes the power of friendship, as Piggie comes to save the day.

Mine! Mine! Mine! is a really cute book about a girl who is (kinda, sorta) trying to learn about sharing. Little Gale really does not want to share with her cousin Claire, but with her mom’s gentle direction, she begins to start her journey to becoming a “sharing superstar.” This book is quite funny, though I wonder if the littlest readers will get the joke as Gale keeps missing the mark about sharing with her cousin. Older kids, though, will find it hilarious. And there are several things that this book does really well that are often missed in picture books about sharing: 1) the mom leads by example and gives Gale practical tips, such as, you share your nice things, not your broken toys (oops, Gale!) and 2) it recognizes that learning to share is a process, and little ones won’t get there overnight, and that’s okay.

George doesn’t want anyone to come into his cardboard box “house.” Each time another child tries, he turns them away, saying this house isn’t for them – not for kids with glasses, or twins, or small kids, etc. It isn’t until he himself is excluded from the house (I love the illustration of him hurrying to his apartment for a much needed bathroom break!) that George realizes that the toy house is for everyone. Aside from the message about sharing, This is Our House is also a sweet picture of diverse urban kids playing together.  The book makes a point of not making a point about the diversity of the kids, however.  For example, when a South Asian girl tries to tunnel into the house, George says that the house isn’t for kids who like tunnels.  Fun book about a situation that kids can relate to from their own playground or neighborhood!

A really fun read aloud book about sharing is One of Each. It has a wonderful bouncy rhyming text reminiscent of Karma Wilson (one of our faves!) Olliver Tolliver has a perfectly ordered home with “just one, only one, simply one, one of each” – from cups to cupboards to fruits. It is all so perfect that he wants someone to admire it; yet when he invites a new friend over to enjoy it with him, he discovers that he has nothing to share with her. Olliver Tolliver discovers that what his perfect home was missing was friends, and that it is also lovely to have enough to share. Great book for introducing the concept of hospitality and the joys of sharing. As an introvert, though, I was perhaps overly sensitive to the message it might be sending that it’s not okay to be alone and enjoy your own company. Still, a fun book about how being with others can also be fun.

Another favorite in our house is The Doorbell Rang. Ma has made cookies, but as more and more friends drop by, each child has fewer and fewer cookies to eat. (Great math practice, too, as kids can figure out how many cookies each child gets each time more friends arrive!) The children are all happy to share, until they each has only one cookie and the doorbell rings again! When the children look at their one cookie each and still decide to answer the door, their generosity is rewarded with a sweet surprise. (Pat Hutchins has another great book about sharing called It’s My Birthday!, all about a little monster learning to share on his special day).

How do you teach yours kids about sharing?

Apr 142016
 
 April 14, 2016  Ridvan 1 Response »

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults | Alldonemonkey.com

Adult coloring pages are all the rage, so I thought it would be fun to create some Ridvan coloring pages for adults!  Adult coloring pages are meant to be a relaxing, meditative exercise, so I focused on doing abstract decorations for related words and brief quotations.

You can find even more resources for families to celebrate Ridvan in this series from a few years ago, and be sure to stop by Creative World of Varya for some children’s coloring pages for Ridvan.

Ridvan Coloring Pages for Adults

Download your copies here:

Ridvan Coloring Page

“Rejoice with exceeding gladness…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “Rejoice with exceeding gladness, O people of Bahá, as ye call to remembrance the Day of supreme felicity, the Day whereon the Tongue of the Ancient of Days hath spoken, as He departed from His House, proceeding to the Spot from which He shed upon the whole of creation the splendors of His name, the All-Merciful. God is Our witness. Were We to reveal the hidden secrets of that Day, all they that dwell on earth and in the heavens would swoon away and die, except such as will be preserved by God, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

“The Divine Springtime is come…” Coloring Page

Full quotation: “The Divine Springtime is come, O Most Exalted Pen, for the Festival of the All-Merciful is fast approaching. Bestir thyself, and magnify, before the entire creation, the name of God, and celebrate His praise, in such wise that all created things may be regenerated and made new. Speak, and hold not thy 28 peace. The day star of blissfulness shineth above the horizon of Our name, the Blissful, inasmuch as the kingdom of the name of God hath been adorned with the ornament of the name of thy Lord, the Creator of the heavens. Arise before the nations of the earth, and arm thyself with the power of this Most Great Name, and be not of those who tarry.” -Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

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