Daytime/Night Time, All the Time?

Imagine if that’s how the world works!

Let’s take a look at what Allah says in Surah Ali-Imraan, verse 190:

“Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and day are signs for men of understanding.” (Ali-Imraan: 190)

The night and day phenomenon is really an amazing subject to explore with our children, and more importantly, it’s one of the most obvious signs around them that they can see and relate to the Greatness of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. Even before they learn about this concept formally in school, it’s never too early to teach young children that everything that happens, including something as routine as the alternation of night and day, occurs by the Will of Allah SWT.

Children might not often see the night changing into day (and vice versa) as “a big deal”, but ask them to imagine: what would it be like if it’s only day time or it’s only night time all the time?

There are different ways to engage our children in learning about the concept of night and day:

  • Ask them to list different things that can be done during the day and things that can be done at night time. You can divide a sheet of paper into two columns (Day column & Night column) for this purpose.
  • Once they’re done with their list, ask this question to let them think and reflect: would they be able to do all of those things if there’s only day time or only night time? What if Allah only created daytime, or only created night time? This would enable them to see that the day-night system that Allah has created actually helps people to live comfortably.
  • Demonstrate how different parts on earth experience day time while other parts experience night time using a globe to represent earth and a flashlight as the “sun” (later at dinner time, you can remind them that their friends on the other side of the planet is just about to have breakfast and getting ready for school :)). Additionally, you can show them short videos/documentary on day and night alternation, but I think you’d agree with me that hands –on learning using the globe and flashlight would definitely be more fun!
  • The concept of night and day can actually be a great start to introduce kids to other aspects of Islam, such as prayer times. We can ask them to list which prayer to perform at which time of the day/night (e.g. Fajr in the early morning, Dhuhr at midday, etc.).
  • Encourage our children to memorize different du’a (supplication) to read at different times of the day and night.

The alternation of night and day is probably something that we often take for granted. But as Allah ‘azza wa jall says in the above verse, and many other similar verses in the Quran, the phenomenon of night and day is a great sign that we should reflect on. InshaAllah, we can help our children do the same 🙂

Have a wonderful, blessed day/night everyone!

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Welcome to the Fascinating World of…

Allah says in verse 38 of Surah Al-An’aam:

And there is no creature on [or within] the earth or bird that flies with its wings except [that they are] communities like you. We have not neglected in the Register a thing. Then unto their Lord they will be gathered.” (Al-An’aam:38)

Watching how other living creatures live – animals, birds and insects – is something that children usually love doing (talk about finding joy in the simplest of things 🙂 ).

As mentioned in the above verse, these creatures live in communities, just like we do! They communicate with each other, they work for survival and they all play a role in their communities. There’s actually so much to learn from the life of these creatures, and they can serve as wonderful lessons for our children, mashaAllah.

Some of the amazing life lessons that we can relate to our kids include:

  • Importance of hard work
  • Benefits of working together and helping each other
  • Not to underestimate others (e.g. Ants are known to have the ability to carry a load 20 times their own weight!)

The Internet is an amazing resource for children to learn better about animals and insects. Here’s some awesome information you can share with your children:

You can always do fun activities with your kids to encourage them to think and learn more. I’ll share a few ideas:

  • Read verse no. 18 in Surah An-Naml and the translation together with your kids. In this verse, Allah talks about an ant who told the other ants to enter their dwellings as so that they would not be crushed by Sulaymaan ‘alaihissalaam and his soldiers as they approached. Tell your kids that this verse shows that ants DO communicate to each other, although we can’t hear them. Don’t forget to let them know that this particular chapter in the Quran is actually named after the ant!
  • Watch videos/documentaries on ants, birds, bees and other animal communities together with your kids to let them see the way these creatures live more closely.
  • Ask your children what they have learned from these creatures and how they can apply them in their daily lives (at school, at home, when they’re with friends, etc.).
  • Ask your children to relate what they have learned with what happens in their own community. Who plays what role? How does this benefit others? InshaAllah, this can help them see the big picture – members of the community working together to benefit each other.

Happy learning! 🙂

What Makes Us Different, Makes Us Beautiful!

Kids are naturally curious about their surroundings – they would ask about the different things, places and people that they see, and different sounds and languages that they hear. The subject of diversity can in fact spark amazing conversations with our kids.

Well, what better way to start introducing the topic of diversity to children than with the beautiful verse no. 13 in Surah Al-Hujuraat, where Allah says:

“O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Al-Hujuraat:13)

It’s important to let our children know that Allah has made the world a very special place because of people’s differences; we look different from one another, we wear different clothes, we live in different kinds of houses – it makes the world an interesting place to live in! I like to use easy analogies, like their favorite food for instance. What makes the food taste so good is the different ingredients we put together, right? The same thing goes with people – the human race is beautiful because of our differences! 🙂

There are many engaging ways to let kids explore the subject of diversity, here are some of them:

  • It can start with something as simple as putting up a world map or placing a globe at home. Talk about the different places/countries on the map, such as the climate, landmarks and landscape. My pre-schooler has been obsessed with maps since he was 4, and everytime he hears something about a certain country, he would check his little globe to find out where it’s physically located (and that’s usually the beginning of a loooong conversation about that particular country).
  • Show pictures of different classrooms around the world. Let them see how kids from other parts of the world sit and learn in the classroom (honestly, I think even we grown ups would find this eye-opening). It would most likely invite questions like “Why don’t they sit on chairs?” and so on, so be prepared for an exciting Q&A session with your kids!
  • Attend cultural events or local exhibitions with your kids when possible. This is a great way to expose kids to different cultures without going abroad.
  • Okay this is one cool idea that I still have yet to try but really worth sharing: encourage them to connect with their peers through international pen-pal or e-pal programs. Many programs would require the kids to register through their parents so it’s a pretty safe medium to communicate in.

Make our kids understand that it doesn’t matter where we come from or what we look like, and therefore they should respect these differences and always be nice to their friends, classmates, neighbors and others around them. Remind them that Allah loves people who are kind to each other :).

The Fingerprint Miracle

When I first told my son that no two people have the same fingerprint, he thought that it’s really cool. The fact that human beings are different in so many ways, especially in ways that might not be so obvious, is just amazing!

I think making our kids aware of this fact is a really great way to make them understand that each and every person is unique and special. However, as Muslim parents, the more important thing is to teach them that this fact is something that Allah has mentioned in the Quran centuries ago – long before anyone realized that each person’s fingerprint pattern is different from one another.

Which brings us to the next Quranic gem 🙂

Allah SWT says: “Yes, We are able to put together in perfect order the tips of his fingers.” (Al-Qiyaamah: 4).

Let your children observe the tips of their fingers and show them how intricate the patterns of the fingerprints are. Afterwards, you can do a fun activity with them to let them see their fingerprints more clearly.

You can use a stamp pad or water color to do this, but the easiest way is to color a small area on a sheet of a paper using a pencil (2B works fine), and let them press their fingertip firmly on this colored space. Make sure the color is thick enough so they would stick on the fingertips. Afterwards, ask them to press their fingertip on an empty space on the paper (or another sheet if you wish). Use a magnifying glass and observe the prints together. You can print yours too and have fun comparing each other’s fingerprints 🙂

Image Credit: eurobox (Morguefile.com)

Allah Talks About Colors!

Kids and colors are inseparable.

Actually, scratch that. WE humans and colors are inseparable 🙂 But of course, colors have a way of making everything appear more interesting to kids. Try teaching them the alphabet, numbers or shapes in dull, plain black color and they would most likely lose interest very quickly. Throw in some colors in those letters and shapes, and see how it makes all the difference.

So…for Quranic Gem #1 🙂

Allah has mentioned about colors numerous times in the Quran. So, why not relate the concept of beautiful colors with the verses in the Quran? I’ve chosen one amazing verse that you can read and explore together with your children:

“Do you not see that Allah sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby fruits of varying colors? And in the mountains are tracts, white and red of varying shades and [some] extremely black.” (Al-Fatir:27)

After reading this verse, here are some activities that we can do with our kids:

  • Ask them to list as many colors of fruit as they can
  • Show pictures of mountains around the world, especially Mount Danxia (China), Landmannalaugar (Iceland) and the one near Tibriz (Iran). These mountains have amazing colors due to the geological processes that took place a long, long time ago, subhaanAllah. (*Some pictures online can be a bit exaggerated though, so try to find a reliable source for these pictures :))
  • For older kids, you can explore further together the natural processes that could cause mountains and rocks to change colors.

The main takeaway point that we should try to instill in our children’s mind through this activity is the fact that Allah is Al-Musawwir, the Fashioner. InshaAllah, they – and we ourselves for that matter – won’t ever take color for granted anymore! 🙂

Image Credit: greyerbaby (Morguefile.com)

Bismillah…Here Goes!

Assalaamu’alaikum and welcome to Gems for Juniors!

I am always searching for ways to make learning the Quran fun and engaging for my kids. As a mother of two, I’ve seen that there are certain subjects/concepts that they find more appealing than others. Objects in space – planets, stars, etc. – for instance, is a subject that always fascinates my son.

So I thought – why not choose certain points in the Quran (especially those that appeal more to children) and present them in a fun way in order to make them appreciate the Quran more? And that, is what I intend to do by starting this blog, inshaAllah.

I like to see it as a journey – a journey for myself, my family and I hope you will hop aboard and embark on this journey together with us.

Rabbi yassir, wa laa tu’assir. May Allah subhaanahu wata’aala bless this effort, and may this blog benefit the readers, ameen…