Inside: What kind of Ramadan activities can teens and tweens do. Ideas that should be encouraged for the youth to be productive and better Muslims.
One of the most common questions that I get come Ramadan is ‘what can my teenager or 9-12 year old do in Ramadan’. This post is also for you if you have a child who isn’t taking interest in the activities that you have prepared and you’re wondering why they are so bored.
I have a 12 year old son now… and I will tell you exactly my thoughts on this.
Your teen or tween is not a little child anymore.
They won’t be interested in art or craft or all the fancy shmancy cute ideas. It’s been at least two years since my son started rolling his eyes at me whenever I offered printable activities.
He didn’t help me decorate this year.
He doesn’t want to do any activity with the girls… but when it comes to distributing Iftaar or helping in the kitchen or setting the tables, I can definitely rely on him. In fact, last year – quite a few times, he got our ‘minions’ together to make the iftaar himself because mom and dad didn’t seem too excited for an elaborate spread.
He was the first to get out of the house to go to the mosque. SubhanAllah! what craze to pray on the first suf. He was competing against his grandpa next door. We live close to a Masjid so for Maghreb, Isha’a and even late night Qiyam al Layl, he’d be the first one out of the house.
I remember myself at his age, it was the same with me and my siblings… we were all in the kitchen at Iftaar and Suhoor time. The competition was all about Quran and Salah.
Who was leading in reading the Quran, what juz were the other on… When we moved to India, it was competition with the cousins too. Sending the neighbors our Iftaari or even driving around distributing it.
Coming back to the question- what activities can teens and tweens do in Ramadan. I believe, this is what we should emphasize on.
In Islam there is no teenage phase.
For years, my husband and I had been discussing this topic until I read the book Child Companions of the Prophet by Darrussalam Publications. (It is an excellent book if you haven’t read it. You can give it to your 12 year old too.)
You are a child till a certain age and then… you are directly considered as an adult. That’s when you start fasting and praying regularly. It is recommended for children to start training to pray Salah from the age of 7 years. They can fast from when ‘they are of age’ – generally that means when they cross puberty.
Little children like babies, toddlers and preschoolers up to the age of 7/8 years need to be taught about Ramadan. I understand that as expats and migrants, with not much interaction with family or even our own community, the responsibility fall on us to give them our culture and traditions. We are forced to create the ‘joy’ for Ramadan for our little children.
This is the time when all those fun activities and craft ideas for Ramadan come handy. But as your child grows up, he/she will not be interested in such activities. If we pursue on, it just frustrates them to be treated as babies … and we end up looking bad.
What activities can Teenagers and older children do in Ramadan
As children grow up, it’s our job to start training them to be righteous Muslims. And the only way we can encourage this is by following the Quran and Sunnah ourselves.
Ramadan isn’t about decorations and parties… the décor came about in later times… don’t we see a lot of emphasis on this these days?
“There is no Eid Baba in Islam” and Angels don’t bring gifts… 😐
So… what activities can teenagers and 9-12 year olds do. Here’s a list:
1. Chores and helping around your home.
Contrary to popular belief that children hate chores, I am here to tell you kids actually love it. They feel grown up and productive. It boosts their self esteem. In positive parenting language, giving children chores is the best way to fill their attention and power buckets. Of course, the nagging is what turns them off.
So go ahead and invite your child to help you with things around the home. Give them responsibilities of their own and then trust them to carry it out. Click here to see a list of age appropriate things children can help with in Ramadan.
2. Reading the Quran with meaning:
Ramadan is the month when the Quran was revealed to us. What better activity than to introduce them to learning to love the Quran. It is a fantastic time of the year to encourage children to build their relationship with the Quran – may it be just reciting or memorizing or even Quran journaling.
Every year in the summer months, we enrolled our son to the Madrasa for memorization and tajweed. It has definitely made a world of difference to how he reads and interacts with the Quran.
This year, we are knock down so we are now Quran Journalling. He is also in charge of helping his sisters with practicing their tajweed.
3. Practice charity – talk about money.
Ramadan is the best time to talk about money I feel. You can encourage your child to help with charity organizations and even start their own something to help others in the society.
4. Praying their Salah with Sunnah and nawafil .
I should put this at the top of the list actually. Ramadan time is best spent in prayers and ibadah. Help your child keep on track of their daily prayers and then include the sunnah and extra prayers too. You can give them a prayer chart to track their progress.
5. Reading more religion based non-fiction books.
Introduce them to books like:
- In the shade of the Quran – by Syed Qutub (It’s translation and meaning of the 30th Juz) or
- When the Moon Split by Shafee Ur Rahman Mubarakpuri (It’s the biography of the prophet),
- 40 Hadith Nawawee,
- Everyday Fiqu (so they more about the Fiq of things!)
What I am saying is to offer authentic Islamic books that will help them learn about their religion.
6. Learn about Fitra and Zakah–
Most muslims like to give their Zakah in Ramadan. If you are aware of the process, it is a lot of math in there!
Involve your children in making lists of people deserving and needing Zakah. Talk to them about stories of these people – it helps them to see reality and human suffering.
My story is that my family moved me and my four siblings to India after 10th grade. We lived in a big house in an extended family. My parents lived here in Saudi. Every year at Ramadan time, the older children (since we stayed in India), we were invited to ask if we knew anyone who needed help. We were asked to look for people in our society who needed financial help. It wasn’t just about money, it was how can we help that family such that they become self sufficient. Consider this as a way of social service within the family. We were being trained to volunteer and serve.
Then there is Fitra. You can read about Fitra here.
7. Ramadan drives for boys and girls.
Charity is one thing that people focus on in Ramadan as a way to multiply their good deeds. If you do food drives, you can involve the children into this. After all, there is so much help needed in it – from helping at home in making the food to the packing to creating tags for packets or boxes to shopping for the needs to of course, delivering it! There’s lots of work to be done.
8. Taraweeh and qayam ul Layl is an activity in itself.
Staying up late standing in prayer takes lots of energy.
9. Cooking – not just helping mothers .
Children enjoy cooking at this age and it should be encouraged, don’t you say? If they can’t cook you can invite them to cutting and chopping fruits or setting the tables.
10. Islamic gatherings and online classes.
In Ramadan, if you attend halaqas or Islamic gatherings or even conduct them at home, involve your child to prepare and speak on a topic. If not in person, try arranging for them to conduct such activities online. Of course, with so much technology these days, I am sure you know that children are creating videos of random unislamic challenges. Why not encourage them to have Islamic challenges that builds upon their skills instead. They can create videos, powerpoint presentations or even just bring their friends or cousins online to join them.
I hope all these ideas encourage you to see that there are Ramadan activities for teens and tweens that they can actually enjoy.
If you are looking to boost your child’s productivity, I have a Muslim Teen and Tweens Productivity pack that encourages them to be responsible and mindful. My own son has been using this for over two years now. We created a wipe and write version for him by laminating the sheets. I hope it will benefit your child. Click the picture below for details.
I have a few Muslimah bloggers talking about kids activities in Ramadan on their own blogs. Please hop on over to find related content.
Knowledge Dunes shares the 5 Simple Acts We Should Do with our Kids in Ramadan
Umm Afraz shares the review of the book Ramadan Around the World by Nada Hassan
Muslim Mommy shares a list of Fun Ramadan Activity Books for your children