Summer is the only season in North America when Parent and Children get enough time to come closer to nature. As Muslim parents we should avail summer as an opportunity to get closer to our children. In the summer let them get closer to nature, let them ponder upon nature. We should keep in mind it is only through deep thinking and understanding one can realize the truth- truth about the creation and the creator.
Following is the teaching and learning guide for Muslim Parents and teachers.
- In some areas there is not much rain. It can be hot or warm every day.
- When it gets very dry there is a risk of forest fires.
- In the summer there are often thunder and lightning storms.
- Sometimes, in the summer, ponds, streams, and lakes dry up or become smaller.
- Breezes blowing across nearby ponds, oceans, lakes, or rivers help to keep people and animals cool.
- On very windy days dust storms may form.
- Cement, sand, and brick hold the heat from the sun and are hot to touch, walk on, or live by.
- The daylight hours in summer are longer and there are fewer hours of darkness.
- In some parts of Canada, summer weather lasts a long time, while in other areas the hot weather period is very short.
- Many trees, flowers, and shrubs bloom and grow in the summertime.
- Fruit, nuts, and vegetables grow best in summer and ripen enough to eat.
- Often grass, trees, flowers, and other plants need to be watered if there is not enough rain.
- Some plants wither and dry up in the hot sun.
- Leafy bushes, trees, and vines offer shade for homes, people, and animals. Animals
- Some animals shed their heavy coats of fur in summer. Sometimes people help their pets by cutting their hair to make them cooler; for example, sheep and poodles.
- Some animals change from lighter to darker colours in summer to match where they live; examples are birds, rabbits.
- In summer animals need water to drink and in which to bathe. They also need shade and places in which to cool off ponds, streams, and lakes.
- Some animals and birds raise their young, feed them, protect them, and teach them to find food and defend themselves see chapter on Animals).
- Because it is often hot we need to wear loose clothing in summer. Some children go barefoot.
- Children and adults like to swim, go boating, water-ski, and play in the sand in summer.
- We often go to parks, have picnics, go on hikes, and play games outdoors in the summer, such as baseball, tennis, miniature golf, ball.
- Often food becomes ripe and can be canned, preserved, frozen, stored, or eaten by people in summer.
- Many families go camping, go on vacations (take trips, or have more time to do things together in summer.
- We should not waste water in summer.
- We often need to turn on fans, water coolers, and air conditioners in the buildings where we live, work, and play in order to keep cool.
- We may turn on the air conditioners in cars, trucks, buses, and tractors in order to be more comfortable when traveling in the summer.
- Some communities in which we live have special programs or activities at schools, parks, pools, mosques, or community centres. Children often go with families to county fairs that are usually held in late summer.
- Many schools close for the summer. Others stay open and offer special classes.
- As it a chance to learn more about our religion Mosques and Islamic institutes arranges Summer school for children.
- Farmers are very busy planting and carrying for their crops.
- Fishermen spend a great deal of time at sea catching a lot of fish.
- Families with gardens must care for their plants and flowers in the summer.
Additional Facts the Parents & Teachers Should Know
- Summer is one of the four seasons which in most of Canada is approximately from June 21 to September 20. These are the official dates determined by solar and lunar phases. It is easier for young children to understand changes in weather. These changes are usually better times to introduce the themes of the seasons.
- Summer weather is not the same for all the provinces. The north does not have as high temperature readings for such a prolonged time as does the south where temperatures of 70° and above occur almost daily from the middle of May to the middle of September. Therefore, it is expected each parents will keep in mind the uniqueness of his/her area when teaching about this season. It is difficult for young children to grasp the full meaning involved in the concept of summer but they can begin to understand some of the changes which take place at this time of year. They can also learn about some of the most common activities families enjoy together at this time.
- Children may be very easily burned in the hot summer sun. Be sure the children do not spend too much time in the direct sun. Have them wear sun hats or visors and play in shaded areas.
Methods Most Adaptable for Introducing summer to Children
- Take a walk and look for some of the signs that tell us it is summer, such as lawn sprinklers turned on, dogs panting, people dressed in lightweight clothes, trees leafed out, flowers blooming, and noisy crickets.
- Read a story about summer.
- Children may be talking about vacations or special activities their families are planning.
- Everyone is talking about how hot it is.
- Make lemonade to drink outside in the shade of a tree.
- Display pictures of summer activities, for instance, , boating, and picnicking.
- A discovery table: Children can bring in things they have found, such as flowers, shells, fruits and vegetables, a bird’s nest, insects.
- If you planted a garden in the spring continue to care for it. Check to see if the soil is hard or damp. If it is hard it should be hoed and watered. If you don’t have a garden, check seed packages and see if there is still time to start a garden in your area.
- A melon-tasting feast: Bring in a watermelon, honeydew melon, and a cantaloupe. Cut each melon. Compare colour, odour, taste, and texture. Compare seeds.
- A berry tasting party: Go for picking fruits. Set out bowls of whole, washed blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Compare size, colour, shape, odour, and taste.
- Set out fresh vegetable tray: Include a potato, carrot, onion, tomato, celery, radish, cucumber whatever is available and in season. Let children explore. Talk about colour, shape, taste, odour and texture. Let children help wash, slice, peel.
- Listen for crickets, they make a noisy, shrill sound when it gets hot. Try to find one.
- Look for a rainbow after a sudden summer shower.
- After several hours of rain look for worms on the sidewalks.
- Insects and spiders are plentiful in summer and the children will discover many, especially butterflies and fireflies. Look under rocks (see Insects and Spiders for related discovery activities.
- Plant and care for some flowers: Marigolds, geraniums, and zinnias are very hardy and grow in almost all parts of the country.
- Borrow or purchase several types of plants (see list below). Help children discover that different plants need different amounts of water and begin to understand the phrase No plant likes wet feet! by allowing them to water and observe several plants.
a. Cactus or rubber plant: Water once a week or every ten days.
b. Boston fern: Water every other day (needs to be root-bound).
c. Philodendron: Water every other day.
d. Azalea (planted in peat moss): Water daily.
NOTE: Plants should never stand in water. It is better to water more often, and very little at one time. Feel soil; if dry it needs water. For a 10 cm pot with plant, add 28 mL/1/8 to 56 mL/1/4 cup water. For a 15 cm pot with plant, add 225 mL/1 cup every other day. Leaves do NOT need to be misted (leaves washed) because indoors there is no breeze or sun to dry and leaves can rot. To help the children remember, make a chart for watering plants that has symbols to identify which plants need attention on which days.
- Make or buy a bird bath and put it in a quiet part of the play yard. Make certain the children can observe it from window.
- Set out a View-Master with appropriate reels.
- Make strawberry or peach ice cream: Use your favourite recipe.
- Make lemonade-squeeze lemons. Taste with and without sugar.
- Display a shell collection: Provide a magnifying glass for closer viewing or hide some shells in a small box of sand and let the children find and arrange them.
- If feasible, allow children to remove their shoes to walk in the grass, step on cement walk on blacktop, or step on dirt or on a smooth board. Which is warmer? Cooler? Smoother? Rougher? Softer? Harder? VARIATION: Ask children to touch and compare the temperature of a metal bar, piece of wooden equipment, the ground, all in the sun. Which is cooler? Touch the same objects in the shade. What is different? Why?
* CAUTION: Make certain there is no glass or any sharp object where children will be walking or stepping.
- If you have flowers or flowering bushes, such as lilacs, in the yard, allow children to pick some buds with stems and place them in a container of water. Set them in a window where they can get sun. Observe what happens.
- If some equipment such as a tire, wooden box, or a board has been left sitting over a grassy area for several days, move it and let the children discover what happened to the grass underneath that was without sun and air. Leave uncovered. Observe.
- When traveling children for an excursion in summer, turn on the air conditioner (if you have one) in the car and talk about what happens to the air in the car if we leave the windows closed.
- Get the kids to write and bind a book or journal about their summer.
- Do up a family tree! Great project for the whole family.
- Buy, borrow or rent an inexpensive tape recorder or video camera and have the kids put together an audio/video family history by interviewing grandparents or other family members. Grandparent’s speaking on their marriage, occupations, memories, ideas; advice etc. will be a cherished document for future generations.
- Urge younger children to study the shapes of passing clouds, then use cotton balls and glue on paper to recreate the images they saw.
- Have kids start a craft box with odds and ends they find outside or around the house. Use the items to make silly gifts or works of art.
- Do you know a friend or family member in another country? Set them up as a pen-pal for your kids. It will strengthen ties of kinship with the whole family and help to keep up your child’s skills of handwriting. During the summer they should be able to exchange at least a few letters. E-mail is quick and easy but letters are special and personal. Vive Le Crayon! (“Long Live The Pencil!”)
- Fun with Fundraising: Go through kids clothes and toys to find items they have outgrown then help them set up a weekend yard sale to raise money for a local masjid or community fund raising event. (Have the kids donate to relief efforts in Kosova, Palestine, Iraq, Somalia or any other country where Muslim Brothers and Sisters are in need.)
- To Market, To Market: Make weekly or biweekly grocery shopping more meaningful and provide children with a sense of responsibility. Budget a certain amount each week ($10.00 or $15.00 – whatever you can afford) and as you grocery shop, have your children gather as many diverse, healthy, nonperishable groceries as they can, not exceeding the designated amount. Take the kids to a local food bank where they can hand over their grocery collection personally. During the week, have them collect newspaper coupons to assist. This exercise will be a family lesson in budgeting, organization, math and charity all rolled into one!
- Be sure that kids dress appropriately in light, loose clothing (For young sisters wearing hijab, keep the scarves light colour and light weight).
- Ensure that children dress modestly. Not only will this make it easier for them to adhere to modest styles of dress as they get older, but it will also protect them from harmful UV rays. (Contrary to popular belief, light colored, loose fitting clothing which reflects heat is far more conducive to keeping cool then bare legs and bare arms which take in direct heat from the sun on a warm day.)
- Sun block for faces, hands and arms is very important to prevent health problems in the future. Avoid chemical sun-blocks if possible. Keep it natural. There are a wide variety of herbal sun-blocks available derived from organic sources which work well and smell better than commercial brands. Check into specialty shops that carry herbal products.
- Place travel folders, brochures on local parks, and road maps out on shelves to encourage planning of family trips.
- Set out boxes of artificial flowers with a variety of containers and allow children to make floral arrangements.
- Set out cars, campers, trains, ships, and planes to encourage travel play.
- Set out farm equipment to encourage planting, cultivating, and harvesting of crops. Provide small plastic foods to carry to market.
Other dramatic play centers
- Set up a tent on the playground for the children to use for camping out.
- Set up a water table, large tub with water, or tractor tire cut in half, forming two circular troughs for sailing boats or water play.
- Add new equipment to the sandbox to increase interest in this area; for example, sieves, funnels, pails, and shovels.
For a list of books visit: http://www.soundvision.com/syllabus/productbooks.shtml
Commercially made games and materials
- Puzzles: Rainy day, flower, farm and fishing puzzles.
- Construction and manipulative toys: Fishing game with magnets or loops, sewing pictures of fish and flowers.
- Outdoor toys: Soft foam balls, plastic bats, skipping ropes, perforated plastic balls, plastic hoops, Skilts /wooden blocks with long rope handles that can be used as stilts/ pogo sticks, plastic coated nylon bean bags, rubber quoits, wagons, model road signs. Pails, sifters, shovels for sand play. Light plastic garden hose and simple spinning lawn sprinkler. Rugged outdoor play tunnel. Child-sized wheelbarrows. Small garden tools that can be used by children.
- Flannelboard and flannelboard aids: Cutouts of flowers, sun, clouds, farm equipment, fishing equipment.
- Posters: Weather chart.
- Miscellaneous: Thermometer (see above), small plastic watering tin.
Home-made games and materials
- Look and see: Use different-shaped and coloured sea shells, a variety of plastic foods, transportation toys.
- Reach and feel: Use a swim mask, bathing cap, and sand shovel.
- Summer fun: The children can make a picture book of summer by cutting out appropriate pictures and mounting on paper, punching, and fastening together.
- Summer is all colours! Move art media outdoors whenever possible. Feature a wide choice of colours at the easel especially if the group has been with you all year.
- Sponge-paint blossoms on crayoned tree trunks; trunks and branches can be made by using the broad side of short crayons which have the paper wrappings removed.
- Blow-painting: Drops of bright coloured paint blown with a straw over paper.
- Sand-painting: Sand can be washed, mixed with dry tempera, and dried in the oven. Child draws a design on paper with glue squeezed from tip of white glue bottle. Sprinkle coloured sand over the glue. When dry, shake off excess. Sand should remain on glue. A brush can also be used to apply the glue.
- Make wet-sand sculptures by using various containers as molds or mold with the hands.
- Glue cupcake papers or crumpled tissue paper to green construction paper to simulate flowers in the grass; also let children tear, cut, or slash paper for grass.
- Burlap pictures: Cut squares from burlap bags or colourful burlap material. Thread wideeyed embroidery needles with brightly coloured yarn. Let children sew a design on the burlap.
- Simulated porcupine quill art: Weave coloured toothpicks into burlap squares.
- Make drawing in sand or damp earth with a stick.
Check out the following Multimedia Products available through Sound Vision that are sure to help you liven up the summer months. Visit the Sound Vision web site for more options.
Family Videos: Ideal For Family Movie nights!
Salam’s Journey (English) (Arabic)
Adam’s World Series
(Volumes 1 – 10) Special Summer Offer!
All 10 Adam’s World videos for $149
One Big Family A song video
Book Of Signs A documentary made with 1.3 million dollars on Islam & Science.
Hakeem Olajuwon A must for basketball fans!
Ideal For Long Car Rides and Family Sing-A-Longs!
Allah Helps You Grow: Adam’s World Songs (CD) (Cassette)
Whisper Of Peace by Dawud Wharnsby Ali (CD) (Cassette)
Colors Of Islam by Dawud Wharnsby Ali (CD) (Cassette)
Road To Madinah by Dawud Wharnsby Ali (CD) (Cassette)
The Life Of The Last Prophet by Yusuf Islam (CD) (Cassette)
For a details list visit: http://www.soundvision.com/cgi-bin/soundvision.storefront/EN/Catalog/10015
(To read, read-tell, or tell. See Book Centre for complete list.)
There are many children’s activities that are specific to the summer. Children enjoy hearing stories about these activities and then planning how they may do similar things.
For stories in internet: http://radioislam.com/TrueStories/
- Guess what? Describe what you like to do outside in summer-swimming, going on picnics, going to zoos. Together think of summer-related activities.
- I’m taking a vacation: Describe something you will put into your suitcase.
- I need it after I eat and before I go to bed … I use it in my mouth, with toothpaste (toothbrush). Continue to give other hints until children guess. VARIATION: “I am going in something that . . .” (describe airplane, car, bus).
- At snack or meal times use foods harvested from the children’s garden. Also offer special summer treats like watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, corn on the cob, and cherries. 2. At meal time have a picnic in the park.
Large Muscle Activities
- Walk a balance beam, log, or chalk mark drawn on the floor.
- Run to a destination and back.
- Take a hike.
Toss and catch a beach ball.
- Have a parade (see Rhythms and singing games).
- Run in the spray from a lawn sprinkler.
- Add some new homemade sand toys and tools to the sandbox accessories or purchase some new items, such as sand combs (Child craft), or sand tools, pails, sifters, measuring cups and spoons, sprinkling cans, boats.
- Go to a park on a picnic.
- Watch a parade.
- Visit the zoo or a circus (see chapter on zoo animals).
· (a Parody) (tune: Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat) Adaptation by JoAnne Deal Hicks
· I like to boat, and to ski is such fun.
I like to fish, then to lie in the sun.
I like to swim … and when I am done
I’m hap-py, so hap-py that sum-mer s be-gun.
Rhythms and singing games
A parade can provide a change of pace in the summer program. Choose any excuse for a parade. Have the children choose their costumes and what they wish to carry in the parade. Also have them choose which songs they will sing in the parade from choices offered by the teachers/. Parade around the room, the halls, the offices, and the playgrounds. Warn other people working in your centre that you are planning a parade.
It should be noted that a majority of the activities listed in Summer Ideas section teach various aspects of Islamic knowledge and wisdom including awareness of Allah, the importance of giving one’s time and wealth in charity, respect for elders, importance of family time and how to take responsibility for one’s actions. The following are some tips on how to implement a stronger application of more specific Islamic knowledge within the home. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) taught us that Allah loves consistency. Keep Islamic activities simple yet consistent – make them a part of daily life. Most importantly, parents should adhere to the following list themselves. If we, as adults, make exceptions for ourselves, how can we expect our children to learn from these activities?
Putting A Little Islam in My Summer
· MuslimVille has designed this as an educational program for Muslim children during summer vacation. The aim of this program is to encourage them to be more involved in Islamic learning and activities.
Summer 2008 activities are:
1. Summer “Arts for Orphans” Contest
2. Summer Discovery Project
3. ‘Bags for Orphan’ Campaign
· Each activity has its own prizes. Let your children be involved in this program.
· The success of this educational program depends not only on the participants but also on our Muslim parents, teachers and Islamic institutions.
Peace Be Upon You
- During summer months, children will likely be around the house more often. Get into the habit of saying As Salaamu Alaikum to them whenever you enter a room and urge them politely to do the same. (Sahaba would make this dua greeting even if a tree separated them while walking! It is a small effort but really helps to set t tone of a room and a relationship.)
Come Fast To Success
- Designate a child to make the Adhan before prayer for the summer months or rotate a schedule for many siblings to take on the responsibility.
Around The World In A Summer
- Have kids do different creative projects on Islam. Example: Prepare a study each week on a country with a predominantly Muslim population. Have children learn about the culture and people by visiting the library or speaking with members of a local community who may have emigrated from the country of study. Conclude the effort by having a special meal in your house where the family joins together in cooking a meal from the chosen country. Invite the individuals who were interviewed! Make a night of it!
It Is Related….
- Have a daily hadith study circle within the family. Keep it simple (5 minutes). Each day, one family member should read a hadith out loud, then explaining it in their own words.
Are You Wudued?
- Kids love to get dirty – especially while playing outside in the summer. Have younger kids make up a wudu chart for the bathroom. This way they can keep track of how many times a day they washed and brushed their teeth.
Build A Masjid
- Set up a room in the house as a Summer Masjid, used only for ibadat and UTILIZE IT! Move all the furniture out or push it all aside. Kids can have fun decorating the Masjid by drawing posters with the word ‘Allah’ or practicing their Arabic writing skills to copy short ayat from Quran onto poster paper. Get hold of a large box (Appliance boxes work great!) that can be cut, painted and set upright to form a niche in the direction of the Qibla. Keep a timetable on the wall and let the kids be responsible for setting up prayer mats and calling the family to pray at the appropriate times. When they call, respect their effort and pray with them!
Tahajud / Fajr In The Yard
- Hold a special Tahajud night for older kids (9 -13). Get a hold of a small tent and camp out in the yard with the intention to wake up – or stay up late to pray a few raka of tahajud outside under the stars. If you live in a city core, make it a special family night where everyone agrees to wake up late for ice-cream and night prayers – do the prayers first and follow it up with a midnight snack of Neapolitan and whip cream. This will unit the family and make night prayers seem much more approachable. Wherever you live, see if you can include Fajr and watch the sunrise as a family.
- Have your children involved in a regular extracurricular activity with other children. There are plenty of day camps with a wide array of focuses available in most localities. (Islamic camps, Sports camps, Computer camps, Arts camps.) Thoroughly research the camp yourself to ensure that it will be well run and that children will be properly supervised. Many well-meaning individuals have attempted to organize day camps without proper knowledge of how to see to the safety, comfort and fun of the children who attend. It is better to keep your children at home then to send then to a camp that will jeopardize their safety or their comfort. Islamic camps are no different: Ensure that instructors are qualified and able to deal with the children in an appropriate matter. If Islamic teachings are not taught in a balanced fashion or shoved to vigorously at a child, more harm could be caused to the child’s faith than good.