Updated: Jun 13, 2021
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is the month of fasting practiced by millions of Muslims around the world. It is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, and occurs at the sighting of the new moon. During the entirety of the month, Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk. This fasting period forbids Muslims from not just eating and drinking, but also from bad thoughts, foul language, and helps with practicing self restraint - all of which is meant as a way to reflect on your habits and focus on self betterment.
Why is it special to Muslims?
One of the most special things about Ramadan is the sense of community it brings amongst Muslims as everyone unites in masjids (mosques) to break their fasts and/or for the evening prayer (taraweeh). Families naturally spend more time together engaging in cooking, beginning and breaking their fasts, and praying together. The entire month is meant to be a month of practicing perseverance, empathy, connection to faith, and most importantly giving to others.
Beading activity to make tasbeeh (prayer beads) (photo credit: Sana Ali)
Importance of family traditions in Montessori?
Just as when you use a muscle in your body over and over again and with time, that muscle gets strong, shared family traditions and values work in a similar fashion strengthening our children’s bonds to their families as well as their religion/culture. Traditions provide stability and give children the sense of belonging that they bring with themselves into adulthood.
“The things he sees are not just remembered; they form a part of his soul.” - Dr. Maria Montessori
As someone who grew up in the west, but was born in a Muslim country, it took my family some time to transition and find unique ways to bring the celebrations of Ramadan into our home. As an adult, I continued to bring those practices into my household and add to the traditions of this special month for my little one to learn from.
Here are some Montessori aligned activities that some of you might find helpful in preparing for the month of Ramadan with your little ones:
Making baskets with dates, olives, and other goodies as a gift for friends and family
Decluttering and purging toys and other essential items to donate to those in need and your little one can choose a charity to which you donate
Helping with food prep for iftar (breaking of fast meal before sunset)
Pit and stuff dates - a staple food in every Muslim household to break fast
Making crescent and star shaped cookies
Language and meditation
Make a corner or part of the house dedicated as a space for praying and reading the Quran
Read books and stories based on the Quran
Modeling and praying together
Book nook recommendations
Ramadan Moon by Na’ima Robert
Secret recipe box by Helal Musleh
Basirah the basketballer says Insha’Allah by Hafsa Dabiri
Rami the Ramadan cat by Robyn Thomas
The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Use date seeds as counters
Counting and threading prayer beads
Make a countdown to Eid (holiday celebrated to mark the end of Ramadan)
Track daily prayers on a prayer tracker
Phases of the moon - matching cards
DIY binoculars to spot the moon in the sky
DIY moon phases matching activity (photo credit: Sana Ali)
Decorate Ramadan themed cookies
Decorate a mosque on contact paper
Make Ramadan greeting cards for friends and family
Ramadan Mubarak (Happy Ramadan) to all of you celebrating!
You can find Sana at www.instagram.com/monteshare
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