As the winter quickly approaches, the holiday season is all around us. I vividly remember this time of year from my childhood, I remember feeling so excited by the decorations, the crafts, and the yummy snacks at school. Yet a part of me always felt a wave of guilt feeling the excitement, because, well, there was nothing to be excited about to be honest. We don't celebrate any of the holidays this time of the year. I do remember every time a teacher in school spoke about the 'Major Holidays' and always mentioned Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. I always anticipated hearing the name of Ramadan or Eid and it never came up. As I got older into middle school I realized we were never mentioned because our holiday was a little confusing. Every year, Eid comes at a different time, and there are no official symbols or colors for it and we lacked the resources to explain it in a way that made sense to kids, so it seemed intimidating to teachers to teach something complex. Alhamdulillah (Thank God), we have come a LONG way, there are so many resources out there now from awesome kids books, crafts, and fun snacks. My goal every year is to enlighten our growing children help make our world just a little bit more accepting and well rounded!
My children attend an awesome public school that does an incredible job educating the children about diversity. They also invite me every year to do a small presentation about Ramadan and Eid, I am blown away by how much children can understand about holidays and traditions. When I go in to present, the students and I tend to draw many similarities between Eid, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. This helps make our Muslim children feel less alienated. I usually will bring along a book, easy craft, and some goodies for the class! I urge every parent to try to visit their child's school and be a part of the winter festivities. I feel that it has helped improve my relationship with the school, classmates, and my children! Many of the teachers I spoke with said that they wished they explained more about Ramadan and Eid, but didn't really understand it themselves too much. Be the change you want to see in society!
Here are some recommendations of things we did at our school! I had the opportunity to visit both the KG and 2nd grade classes this year. I made the same treat for both grades simply because it was the most allergy friendly food I could think of for so many kids. I used a food color mist (basically edible spray paint) on Oreo sandwich cookies. I cut some pieces of card stock to use as stencil and sprayed away, it was super fun, easy, and fast! There's a video tutorial on my Instagram page @SimplyRamadan
For the KG classes, I read one of our favorites at home, Ilyas and Duck and the Fantastic Festival of Eid Al-Fitr. We especially love this book at school because it incorporates other holidays with a sense of humor making it appealing to all the kids in class. We then talked about some examples of good deeds and then worked on our DIY lanterns. I made this craft with the thought of integration. It contains shapes and color names they recently learned. They all managed to finish it but it was honestly a little above some of their levels. So I would honestly recommend this craft for maybe 1st graders. Here is the free printable template for this craft!
The 2nd graders were a lot more fun because they were able to ask and answer in a more mature manner. We read Peg + Cat The Eid Al-Adha Adventure which I felt was very age-appropriate. The kids really engaged with this book because it was problem-solving based. I then brought in some Eid decorations to share with the classmates, and some 'traditional' items that reminded our family of Eid to show-and-tell. We passed around some Oud scents, dates, and faux lanterns for observation! It was very fun and informative, our craft for this class was a cootie-catcher with some Ramadan and Eid fun facts. I have also included the template for the cootie-catcher here!
There is also this very useful resource on the PBS kids website, it's a handout available with the Peg+Cat book, here is a screenshot of what it looks like, and can be downloaded right from the site! https://wgte.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/islam17.soc.peg.adha/pegcat-eid-al-adha-adventure/
Please remember to share these links with others (teachers included!) and feel free to tag me in your posts! I love to see what you guys do with the resources I put out there!