Teaching Islam through Play
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Growing up, all I wanted to do was play, especially on the weekends. However, my brothers and I absolutely dreaded our Saturdays. Every Saturday afternoon we had a private tutor come over to teach us Arabic. Our day of fun was ruined because we had to sit there and learn. I mean, we spent five days already a week learning and now, we have to learn in our free time, as well? But, the issue wasn't that we had to learn Arabic, it was the fact we weren't having fun. We sat there, wrote the alphabet and got tested on it until we were perfect and could recite the Qur'an. And, that was it when it came to Islam for my family. Just having a lesson on Saturdays and the Eid celebrations twice a year. It wasn't until I turned 21 and I looked into Islam properly, for myself that I was grateful for my parents making me learn Arabic. However, what I didn't like, was my resentment for learning as a teenager and hating my private tuition lessons. The issue is, my entire perception of Islam would have been completely different if I enjoyed learning Islam and understanding why I had to learn about it.
And, because of this, when I found out I was pregnant with Kamil, my aim straightaway was to teach Kamil (and, now Ascia, as well) Islam in a fun and playful way, that they will enjoy learning the Arabic alphabet and when I say it's time to read the Qur'an, I want to hear a massive cheer! I don't want them to waste years not appreciating Islam, the way I did.
Now, since my childhood, Islamic resources have vastly improved and Ibraheem Toy House, who were the first Islamic Toy Store in the UK, have a huge variety of amazing toys, books, games and puzzles to do exactly what I need to make Islam fun for my kids. If you have a browse through their website you will be so surprised how much stuff there is actually out there to educate our kids about Islam through play.
I was kindly sent a few items from their website, and my kids could not get enough of the goodies. They fought over the prayer mat, which is bright and colourful and they thought it was a play mat, so and Ascia actually went and got a toy car to play with on it. It was so cute to see them so enthusiastic about Islamic products. Honestly, it was SO refreshing to see.
The alphabet blocks are a strong foam material, but soft enough for Ascia to play with, and again, the kids fought over these. With Ascia, it was more sensory and development with moving the blocks, picking up, hand-eye co-ordination, etc and for Kamil, he loved naming the images and repeating the letters after me. This will definitely be a resource that will get a lot of use.
We were also give a 'My Box of Deen', which is UK's first Islamic kids activity subscription box and I was absolutely blown away with the content. It is so brilliant to see that people have put so much effort into teaching Islam in a fun, playful manner. Kamil doesn't have the attention span at the moment for the box, so it is being put away nicely for a future lesson, insha'Allah.
If you are like me, and you feel it is essential to teach your kids about Islam in a fun and positive way, then please do head over to #ibraheemtoyhouse and have a browse. Don't blame me when you spend too much money, that's all I'm saying.