The Bahá’í Festival of Ridvan just began yesterday, and this year I thought it would be a lovely opportunity to focus on acts of kindness. Here is a simple activity that families can do together, by focusing on spreading joy during this most holy festival. I hope you enjoy this Ridvan coloring page with your loved ones!
Ridvan Coloring Page: Acts of Kindness
Here is a simple activity that families can do for Ridvan to celebrate doing acts of kindness. Just download your Ridvan coloring page by clicking on the image below, then they can color in a rose each time they do an act of kindness during Ridvan.
You can find tons of ideas for acts of kindness on my Pinterest board, and I’d love to see yours! Share in the comments below or on my Facebook page, and have a wonderful Ridvan!
This diversity craft is easy to do and uses materials you probably already have! More importantly, it teaches children about unity in diversity, and how we can celebrate our differences while still coming together to create something beautiful. For those getting ready for Ayyám-i-Há, the nine-pointed stars also make a great decoration!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Diversity Craft for Kids: Easy Nine Pointed Stars
Today more and more people are coming to appreciate the joys and strengths in our diversity. Yet others confuse this celebration of differences as fundamentally divisive. This simple diversity craft teaches children that this does not have to be the case!
When we recognize our essential unity as a human family, there is nothing to fear from recognizes our differences. Instead, we can celebrate them. After all, what a boring world it would be if we were all the same!
This diversity craft teaches children about unity in diversity in a visual way, and it’s incredibly easy to do.
Why a nine pointed star? First, it lets you use three different colors, so it’s very beautiful! Also, since nine is the highest single digit, it is often used as a symbol of unity.
What You Need:
Tissue paper in at least three colors. You can also use Kite Paper, which is less likely to wrinkle and so makes for even more beautiful stars.
Tape – regular tape works fine, but if you have double-sided, even better!
Piece of light weight cardboard (like from a cereal box)
Ahead of time, trace a nine pointed star onto the light weight cardboard. Separately, use the nine pointed star to trace just one of the star’s triangles. (Just trace the points from the star then connect them to make a triangle). Cut out both the star and the triangle to make your templates.
Use the triangle template to cut out triangles from the tissue paper, 3 per star. (Depending on the age of the children, they can do this step or you can prep ahead of time).
Have the children each pick out three triangles, each triangle of a different color.
Using the star template to see how to position the triangles, have them layer the triangles on top of each other to make a nine pointed star. Use tape between each layer. If you don’t have double side tape, just make a little loop out of the tape so that it sticks to both triangles. Note: I originally used glue instead of tape, but it ends up looking mottled even when dry, so I don’t recommend it.
Now you have a cute, multicolored nine pointed star! What’s beautiful about them is that the three colors are seen distinctly in each of the points, but – especially when you hold the star up to the light – the colors also blend to make new shades together! A super simple but powerful way to teach children about the beauty of unity in diversity.
Take your kids around the world this holiday season by hosting an around the world holiday party! It’s the perfect way for a school club or a homeschool group to celebrate this festive season.
Host an Around the World Holiday Party for Kids
Last year we started a World Explorers Club in our homeschool group. Each month we get together to learn about a different country with the kiddos. Earlier this month the World Explorers Club put on our second annual around the world holiday party. Everyone had a blast!
Each family picks a country to represent and shows how a popular winter holiday is celebrated there.
At our party this year we learned about Christmas in Sweden, Russia, Italy, UK, and the Netherlands; Hanukkah in Israel; Diwali in India; Chinese New Year in China; and Ayyám-i-Há. (The Bahá’í holiday of Ayyám-i-Há was a bit of an exception, since it isn’t based in any one country).
For their chosen country, each family prepares 1) a craft or activity, 2) a traditional treat. So, for example, last year our family did the Philippines, so the kids made a version of a traditional star decoration and sampled some homemade coconut milk cake. For India (Diwali) this year we brought ladoos to share and helped the kids make paper diyas. For Sweden, the kids crafted some adorable Christmas gnomes and decorated cookies, while for Israel (Hanukkah) they played dreidel to win chocolate coins.
We have done this two different ways, so see which works for your group! Both times, we set up “stations” around the room, generally one country per table, and the kids could spread out and take turns visiting each.
Last year, the food and the craft were at each station, whereas this year we moved all the treats to a food table and saved them until the end. They were only able to get the food after completing a quiz about the countries they had learned about!
The holiday quiz! They had to work together to answer the questions before they could have their treats 🙂
Whichever way you do it, make sure to have their first stop by a station where kids decorate treat bags. They’ll need one to collect all the crafts they will be making! This is a great activity for them to do as people are arriving and setting up.
Next year, we definitely have to add a Mexican style piñata!
Part of our character building classes is teaching children about heroes in Bahá’í history and how they can emulate their qualities. Bahiyyih Khanum, daughter of the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, is a leading Bahá’í heroine and holds a unique place in religious history. In these lessons, the children studied a prayer and learned about her qualities of service and leadership.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Bahá’í History Lesson: Bahiyyih Khanum
Also known by the title Greatest Holy Leaf, Bahiyyih Khanum was born in 1846, the daughter of Bahá’u’lláh and His wife Navváb. She was only a child when her family was forced from their homes and, along with the other members of her family, spent the rest of her life as an exile.
She also holds the distinction of being the first woman in religious history to lead a worldwide faith community. When her older brother ‘Abdu’l-Bahá died in 1921, Bahiyyih Khanum assumed the helm of the Bahá’í community, shepherding it through some of its most difficult times, as it prepared to transition to the leadership of the young Shoghi Effendi. Grownups can read more about her extraordinary life in Prophet’s Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha’i Faith.
The children’s class activities outlined below were taught over two classes and focused on Bahiyyih Khanum’s qualities of service and leadership, as well as teaching about the Holy Family.
For some aspects, like the prayer book, we did half during one lesson and half during the other. The other activities you can divide between two (or three) lessons as you see fit.
Children’s Prayer: “O Thou Kind Lord”
At the beginning of each class, after our opening prayers, we studied the following prayer from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “O Thou Kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might…” (read the whole prayer).
The children made a prayer book from two sheets of construction paper stapled together. During the first lesson, we pasted on the cover a copy of a photo of Bahiyyih Khanum (from the resource pages of the Core Curriculum Preschool lesson book). On the first inside page, they pasted a copy of a the first paragraph of the prayer. On the opposite page, they traced their hands, to go along with the idea of “handiwork.” Their homework was to read over and begin to memorize the first paragraph of the prayer.
During the next lesson, they pasted the second paragraph on the next page of the prayer book, which includes “…enable them to render service to the world of humanity.” On the opposite page, they drew pictures of things they could do to help others.
On the last set of pages, they pasted the final paragraph, which includes, “These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.” Then we folded over a piece of card stock and cut out a shell shape, being careful to have the top (the “hinge”) of the shell on the fold, so that the shell can open and close.
They then drew a heart on the outside of the shell (for “loving-kindness”) and a pearl on the inside. They then pasted the finished shell to the page opposite the final paragraph of the prayer.
Holy Family Tree
Next we focused on learning about the life of Bahiyyih Khanum, first by helping the children understand how she fits into the Holy Family (the family of Bahá’u’lláh). For this, I drew on the expertise of my friend Melissa at Delighted Hearts, who worked with me to develop this beautiful Holy Family Tree, which children can use to help them understand the relationships between the members of Bahá’u’lláh’s family. Be sure to visit her website for the printable worksheet!
To learn about her life of service, I adapted a story from Prophet’s Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahiyyih Khanum, Outstanding Heroine of the Baha’i Faith about when Bahiyyih Khanum was very young. Though she was just a small child and not very strong, she would still help to serve tea using a very heavy samovar, an act of service that impressed Bahá’u’lláh’s guests. I loved sharing this story with them, because it shows that even though they are young, they can still serve others and teach the Faith.
Since the children were not familiar with the samovars commonly used in Persia at that time, a local Bahá’í kindly loaned one to use to demonstrate.
As a follow up to last week’s stained glass heart craft for the Birth of the Báb, today I’m sharing a craft for the upcoming Bahá’í holy day the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh. This is an easy movable sun craft, which anyone can make as a cheerful decoration, or you can customize it with a quotation for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Movable Sun Craft: Birth of Baha’u’llah
The Prophet Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, Mirza Husayn Ali, is customarily known by the title Bahá’u’lláh, which is Arabic for “the Glory of God.” For this craft for the upcoming Bahá’í holy day celebrating the anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth, I have focused on the word “glory,” here represented by the sun.
This craft is an easy one to do at home with your child or to do with a group of children in a class or at a holy day event. If you do, please share your photos! You can either share on my Facebook page or tag me on Instagram (@alldonemonkey).
Materials (per child)
3 sheets of construction paper or colored card stock
To make this movable sun craft for a class of 3-6 year olds, I prepped ahead by doing steps 1 and 2, as well as the final step. You may decide to have your students or child do those steps with you, depending on their age and attention span.
1. Stack your sheets of colored paper. Trace a large circle on the top layer and cut out the shape so that you have three identical circles, one from each sheet of paper.
2. Leave your yellow circle as is. Fold your white circle in half, lightly crease it then open again. Fold in half the opposite direction. Cut along the line of your first crease except cut a small quarter circle as you approach the edge of your new fold.
When you open it again, you should have a semi-circle topped with a small semi-circle in the middle (almost like a little UFO!). The small semi-circle will be the base of the rising sun.
3. Have the children color the smaller semi-circle either orange or yellow, to represent the sun.
4. Next, cut your orange sheet into rays. You can let the children cut the rays themselves in whatever pattern they wish, just as long as they cut out some pieces, so that when it is placed on top of the yellow circle, some of the yellow will show through. (In other words, don’t just cut a fringe by cutting slits all the way around).
If you would like a more even pattern, you can fold the orange circle in half, then in half again, and then once more. Cut out a “V” in the middle of this triangle, making it as much in the middle as possible, so that the sides remaining are even.
5. Open the orange circle (if folded) then glue onto the yellow circle.
6. Place the white sheet on top and secure them all together with a round fastener right in the middle, so that the sun can spin.
7. If you are just making the movable sun craft as a fun decoration, you can stop – you’re done! However, if you are making it for the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh then write “Bahá” on four consecutive orange rays.
8. Spin the sun until “Bahá” is hidden then write “Glory” on five of the yellow rays. If you did the folded method of making the orange rays then you will have exactly the right number to write both phrases. Note that for “Glory” the first and last letters will be on half spaces, so that they don’t show when you spin to show the “Bahá” side.
9. Finally , on the white semi-circle, write the following quote (this could also be done ahead of time):
In anticipation of the upcoming Bahá’í holy day, here is an easy but beautiful stained glass heart craft for the Birth of the Báb we did in our children’s class. It only requires a few materials yet allows children to be creative and add their own personal touch on it.
Stained Glass Heart Craft: The Birth of the Bab
Next week, Bahá’ís will celebrate the anniversary of the birth of one of the Prophet-Founders of the Bahá’í Faith, known by His Arabic title, the Báb (“The Gate”). This stained glass heart craft is a fun activity for the holy day to use in a children’s class or at home. It makes a beautiful gated frame for a short prayer from the Báb.
Materials (per child):
1 sheet of card stock
1 block of contact paper, about the size of the sheet of card stock
Torn tissue paper of varying colors
For this stained glass heart craft, I did steps 1-6 myself ahead of time, to prep for a class of 3-6 year olds; however, if you are working with a child one on one or have a group of older children, you may choose to have them do some of these steps.
1. Fold the card stock in half cross-wise. Lightly crease then reopen.
2. Fold each end toward the crease mark so that they meet in the middle. This will be your gate. Sharply crease these edges then reopen the sheet.
3. Fold the card stock in half again (as you did originally) and cut out a large heart shape. Make sure not to pass the creases you just made in Step 2.
4. Take the cut out shape and make it smaller by cutting off about an inch all the way around. The amount you cut off will be the amount of space you have for the “stained glass” to show through.
5. On this smaller heart, write this short prayer (see below of a melody you can teach for this prayer):
O God, my God,
my heart’s Desire.
– The Báb
6. Fold the contact paper in half (with the sticky side facing in). Trim so that it is about the size of the back of the gate when refolded.
7. Peel the paper off of one half of the contact paper and have the children place the small heart with the quote in the center.
8. The children can then decorate the remaining area of the contact paper with the torn tissue paper. You may also wish to give them other items, such as glitter, to use.
They can fill the space completely or leave some spots empty, as they wish. Just make sure they leave room around the edges so that you can seal off their creation at the end. They should focus on decorating the center of their rectangle, as only the area around the heart will show through at the end.
9. When they are done, peel off the backing of the rest of the contact paper and fold it over the decorated area to seal it in.
10. Glue this sealed contact paper to the back of the gate, so that the small heart shows through in the center of the cut-out heart space.
Once you have finished, children could also decorate the rest of the gate frame with markers or stickers, if they wish.
Here is a melody for the above prayer that you can teach the children as well:
Ridván is the most holy time of year for Bahá’ís, and it can be a magical time for children. This year, help kids “journey” back to Baghdad in 1863 with these Ridvan printable train tickets! Great to use for prayer time at home or for children’s classes. Scroll down to print your free copy.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Last year, I created this Ridvan printable for my kids – pretend train tickets to help them “journey” back to Baghdad in 1863! Just like on real old-fashioned train tickets, you can punch these tickets on each day you use them. So for example, you can punch “1” on the first day of Ridván, “2” on the second day, etc.
I’m planning on putting together some activities for the kids each day on our “train trip,” but you could also just punch the tickets each morning before saying prayers together and reading some of the history behind Ridván from a book like the beautiful The Life of Baha’u’llah. To really set the mood, many families have an indoor tent or canopy like this one. We’ve also simply hung a white sheet between two sofas as our “tent” and made tissue paper roses to decorate it.
However, you choose to use the tickets, have a magical celebration!
It’s that time of year again! As Ayyám-i-Há approaches, party planners in communities everywhere scramble to come up with fun, meaningful activities that will appeal to a wide range of ages. Here are our best tips from veteran party planners on how to throw a community Ayyam-i-Ha party to remember! And don’t miss out on our giveaway of a wonderful new coloring book for kids for Ayyám-i-Há!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Throw a Community Ayyam-i-Ha Party Like a Boss
Looking for great ideas for your community Ayyam-i-Ha party? Here are suggestions from experienced party planners from around the world. Be sure to share yours in the comments!
Inviting the Wider Community
Invite those already involved in core activities, like children’s classes.
Send out an invitation (hard copy or digital, even on Facebook) to set the tone about the party so that friends and neighbours who are not Bahá’í learn about it before hand.
Have an open house, so friends don’t feel the need to commit and can just drop by when they’re able. Makes it easier if you have a small house, too!
Make invitations with pictures and a quote with a little explanation about Ayyám-i-Há.
If possible, try handing out invitations in person so you can explain more if anyone has questions.
White elephant exchanges are very popular! “It’s hilarious to watch 50 something adults picking presents and exchanging them.”
Have everyone bring a simple gift then a gift under each person’s chair.
Treat bags for kids
Have every child bring an inexpensive, wrapped present. Then each gets to pick one of the presents out of the basket.
Have all the children bring simple inexpensive presents like pencils, stickers, or erasers then pass out one to each child. Every child leaves with new treasures, plus they get the experience of giving.
Hang up a sheet on a doorway, going only half way up, and decorate with pictures of fish. Make a fishing rod with a small basket on the end of the string to “fish for presents.” Each child then gets to “fish” for a small gift.
Skits about history
Live music & dancing
Puppet show that shares the concepts of Ayyám-i-Há (such as hospitality, service, kindness and gift giving).
Break children into age groups for active games
Have kids make picture frames for their favorite Bahá’í quote
Have different stations where people can make gifts (potting plants, card marking, candle rolling, making lavender sachets) for others.
Sing songs from children’s classes together
Performances from the children’s classes
Picnic in the park
Candy, but set up in a different part of the house. Each family went in as a unit, and the parents decided how much the kids could have. (There were also toothbrushes!) Then they put the candy in the fabric goodie bags.
Ice cream sundae bar
Cupcake/cookie decoration station
Progressive dinner (appetizers at one home, main course at another, dessert at another)
Collect items for a local homeless shelter
Do a food drive for a local food bank
Help a local family in need
Donate supplies to a Bahá’í school
Collect winter jackets
Make no-sew blankets for children in foster care
Host the party at a park then do a park clean up afterwards
Collect books and toys for the local children’s hospital
Assemble lunches for homeless youth
Have a station to make bird feeders (with pine cones and seeds), cat toys and dog treats to take to the SPCA
Make toiletry bags to give to the domestic crisis center or “blessings bags” for the homeless, with items like travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, toothpaste, soap, toothbrush and washcloth
5 million people are throwing a party, and you’re invited! Here’s why the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah matters to you – even if you’ve never heard of the Bahá’í Faith before. (There is a children’s book giveaway at the bottom, so be sure to scroll all the way down!)
Friends, this is a very different post than you have read here before, but I decided I needed to share with you something straight from my heart.
The world is in travail, and its agitation waxeth day by day….
These days I’m afraid to turn on the news when I wake up. It seems like every day there is a fresh tragedy – another shooting, another natural disaster, another day when I’m feeling heartsick to see more people suffering.
What’s worse is that our own disunity and lack of coordinated vision prevent us from truly helping those in need.
Some days, I look at my own beautiful children and wonder about the world they are going to inherit. Sure, we can do our cute unity crafts and learn about peace and love, but sometimes there feels like a disconnect between that Kumbayah world I’m teaching them about and the one I see on the news.
And it’s not just me. Social media is full of friends in despair – people bitter, disheartened, and finding it difficult to muster the energy to wage another battle for justice or to raise the standard yet again for common decency and understanding.
Yet what if I were to tell you that a Prisoner who lived half a world away and more than a century ago foretold our sufferings and laid out a formula to heal humanity’s wounds and bind it together again as one human family?
Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. Deal ye one with another with the utmost love and harmony, with friendliness and fellowship… So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.
In a matter of days, Bahá’ís around the world will celebrate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. But wait, you might be saying, what does this have to do with me?
He Who is your Lord, the All-Merciful, cherisheth in His heart the desire of beholding the entire human race as one soul and one body.
The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah
The Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah is not so much one event as a series of activities that have been happening in local communities around the globe for the past several months, all culminating in big celebrations in every city and town marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of a spiritual Teacher whose Writings have spread around the world, inspiring and transforming families and communities in virtually every country on the globe.
The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.
Yet His words are not mere platitudes. Baha’u’llah – who spent 40 years of His life in imprisoment and exile because of His teachings – laid out a practical plan to bring about structural change in our society and create a framework for global governance that recognizes:
– the importance of both spiritual and material development
– the equality of men and women
– the underlying unity of the beautifully diverse human family
– the common spiritual foundation of all the major world religions
– the essential harmony of science and religion
– the centrality of justice to all endeavors
– the importance of education
– the need for the abolition of all forms of prejudice
And it’s already working.
More than 5 million Baha’is around the world have been putting His teachings into practice for more than a century, slowly building up institutions on the local, national, and international level that use consultation as a form of decision-making, that put the unity and well-being of the group ahead of individual egos, and that seek to carry forward “an ever-advancing civilization.”
Bahá’ís live in virtually every country on the globe and reside in well over 100,000 localities. Bahá’ís come from all walks of life, and members come from roughly 2,100 indigenous tribes, races, and ethnic groups. 188 national councils oversee the work of the Bahá’í communities, and more than 300 formal programs of Bahá’í education can be found around the world.
Bahá’ís are at the forefront of social and economic development, with several thousand projects worldwide, more than 900 of which are large-scale, sustained projects, including more than 600 schools and over 70 development agencies. Bahá’í writings and other literature have been translated into more than 800 languages.
So whether you are a despairing mother wondering about the world her children will grow up in, a grassroots activist looking for a model to create unity of action, or a leader wanting to inspire real change, you can find inspiration and hope in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and the example of the Bahá’í community.
Join the Bahá’ís this month as we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Bahá’u’lláh. Celebrations are being held in communities around the globe and you are invited. For those in Sacramento, you can find out about our local celebration, or search in your own area for the celebration nearest you.
All quotations above are excerpts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh
Life of Bahá’u’lláh Children’s Book Giveaway
To commemorate the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, I am also thrilled to be giving away TWO COPIES of a brand new children’s book about the life of Bahá’u’lláh! In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that the author is a good friend (and hero!) of mine, and that I helped edit the book – however, I am being sincere when I tell you this is a fabulous book and a must have if you would like to teach your children about the life of Bahá’u’lláh!
I have been reading an advance copy with my 7 year old, and it’s really engaged him and sparked great conversations. He especially loves the family tree and full color maps. As his teacher, I really love the timeline and glossary as well. Until this point, I really hadn’t found a book for older children that gives such an in-depth view of Bahá’u’lláh’s life. I love that I can pick up this one book and know it will cover all of the major events of His life, all within the context of their spiritual and historical significance.
Written in honor of the Bicentenary of the Birth of Baha’u’llah, this 72 page book intends to share with children the story of His majestic life, through the exploration of spiritual concepts and the stages and milestones of the life of Bahá’u’lláh.
While children of all ages will enjoy the gorgeous full color illustrations, the 30 stories included in this book are aimed principally at ages 8-12.
You can find it on Etsy and Amazon (affiliate link).
We are giving away two copies of The Life of Bahá’u’lláhby Melissa López Chaperoo. One copy is available for US winners, while the other is available to ship worldwide! Enter to win by simply commenting below: Tell us 1) What gives you hope, 2) What country you live in.
Giveaway goes through midnight PT on Tuesday, October 17, 2017. Winners shown by random selection.
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!