Itikaf Tents, Scrapbooks and Papier Mâché Mosques
Ramadan is the perfect time for children to get involved in fun crafts and activities which also provide opportunities for reflection and conversation about other religious practices around the world. Therefore, the following ideas can be easily adapted for families with diverse faith traditions or no faith. These brilliant ideas come from two of my favourite Muslim women: Australian writer and TV personality Susan Carland and craft blogger Karima.
Photo Credit: Susan Carland
The first idea was inspired by Susan Carland who constructed a gorgeous Ramadan ‘itikaf tent (complete with twinkly star fairy lights) for her children to have their own special space. Susan describes it as “a little place that’s just theirs, for ibadah & thinking & dreaming.” To make the tent even more welcoming, she “put little prayer mats, tasbih [prayer beads], Islamic picture books, cushions etc in there for them.”
You can construct a simple tent-like space by hanging up a voile, curtain or spare fabric using a hoop or even a re-purposed coat hanger attached to a picture rail or wardrobe door or draping fabric over a clothes line or clothes horse re-arranged to create a free standing structure. If you want to get fancy with your creation, you can follow these tutorials which range from the no-sew simple variety to the sturdier and long lasting versions.
Once the tent is up, you could personalise your tent using fairy lights as Susan did, or use brightly coloured blankets, cardboard or glow in the dark moons and stars, or pin up your children’s Ramadan themed artwork. And since you want the space to be a cosy space where your children would want to spend time reading, reflecting, creating, you can decorate the inside with soft furnishings like pillows and cushions.
Then all that’s left to do is work out how to make an adult-sized Ramadan tent for yourself!
The second activity is inspired by Karima Crafts‘s Ramadan Scrapbook project with her children this year. A scrapbook is the perfect outlet for your child’s creativity, especially if they love drawing and writing, and would be a lovely keepsake for the future.
Ramadan is a time when Muslims step back and reflect on the important things in life – family, friends, and our connection with God. With that in mind, the scrapbook could include short prayers, photos or drawings of family activities during Ramadan, or scrummy Ramadan recipes that you’ve prepared together. The scrapbook could also serve as a neat record of achievements during Ramadan such as helping out with jobs around the house, raising money for charity or even fasting for a full / half day if your children wish to do so (depending on their age and health of course).
And the final activity is for parents and children who want to take their Ramadan crafts to the next level (and don’t mind getting their hands sticky!)
Last year, Karima ran a 30-day Ramadan craft project. It featured a fantastic papier mâché mosque which she said was the hands down favourite activity for her whole family. Aside from being incredibly fun, it’s also perfect for those wishing to have a Green Ramadan as it allows you to recycle old newspapers, kitchen rolls, and cardboard boxes. You can find Karima’s tutorial here. For children or teens who aren’t keen on glue and glitter, you could also check out Karima’s impressive design activities – including constructing a Ka’aba using Minecraft and a Jenga mosque!
If you do get creative this Ramadan, it would be great to see the fruits of your efforts so feel free to post links to photos of your projects below and share other links to Ramadan-themed activities which children or the whole family can enjoy.
Also be sure to follow our Ramadan board on Pinterest!
Sarah Ager is an English teacher and expat writer living in Italy. She describes herself as an ‘Anglo-Muslim hybrid’, having converted to Islam in 2011. She writes about interfaith dialogue, religion, and culture on her blog A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy and tweets at @SaritaAgerman. She curates Interfaith Ramadan, an inclusive interfaith blog project bringing together writers from different faiths and cultures (@InterfaithRam).by
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