Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting. Muslims taking part in Ramadan give up anything considered impure to the mind and body, including food, drink, and any thoughts. They abstain from these things during all daylight hours so they may focus on prayer and connecting with Allah. It also is a time for adherents to remember those less fortunate and better understand those suffering from hunger. I hope this guide to learning through Ramadan activities for kids helps with greater cultural understanding and appreciation.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan concludes with Eid al-Fitr, which is a time of great celebration and feasting.
This guide is intended to help you appreciate and avoid cultural appropriation as you learn with and teach your children. It also directs you to resources created by those of Islamic heritage, and provides ways to support Muslim creators as we benefit from the gift of their traditions. Whenever possible, I’ve tried to direct you to own voice sources, and encourage you to support them, as well.
Ramadan Books For Kids
Lailah’s Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi (Author), Lea Lyon (Illustrator)
Ramadan Picture Book Author Read Aloud
Featured Ramadan Book for Toddlers
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan (Author), Mehrdokht Amini (Illustrator)
Other Ramadan Children’s Books
Ramadan Facts: History of Ramadan for Kids
Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad was on a retreat to reflect and meditate in a cave called Hira, near his hometown of Mecca. While there, around the year 610 C.E., the angel Gabriel appeared to him and told him to “Read!” (“Iqra!”) Muhammad responded that he could not read, at which point Gabriel revealed the first verses of the Qu’ran to Muhammad. He later had another encounter with Gabriel.
What is Ramadan?
Ramadan is a commemoration of this spiritual experience of Muhammad receiving the Qu’ran. It is observed as a month of fasting during daylight hours to remember those less fortunate and to connect more deeply with Allah. It is the name of the 9th month in the Islamic calendar and is one of the holiest months. Ramadan concludes with Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan is celebrated based on the lunar calendar, which means the exact dates shifts by about 10-11 days each year. Muslims are also expected to refrain from any other sinful or tempting behavior during Ramadan.
There are 5 pillars of Islam; Sawm is the process of fasting during Ramadan. Those who are in good health are expected to participate.
Laylat al-Qadr is the Night of Destiny and the holiest night of the year. It takes place during the last 10 days of Ramadan.
Before the conclusion of Ramadan and before the Eid feast, adherents are expected to complete another of the 5 pillars by donating their Zakat, or donation to charity based on their wealth in order to help those less fortunate. Muslims must pay their Zakat before joining Eid prayers. Zakat during Ramadan is considered to bring far more blessings than at other times of the year.
Muslims pay a certain amount of money for the Zakat – 2.5% of their nisab, or wealth and assets above a certain point. While it is possible to pay Zakat at other times of the year, most Muslims donate during this time because it is said to bring more blessings.
Muslims fast from sunrise (Fajr) to sunset each day. During this time, they say prayers to connect with Allah and to try to understand those suffering around the world.
The meal before dawn is the suhur. The evening meal to break the fast is called the iftar or fitoor. There is not a specific meal for the iftar; rather, different families have different traditions. It is common to break the fast with dates, as the Prophet Muhammad did.
In general, adults in good health practice fasting, although there are certain exemptions.
Eid is the Arabic word for “festival” or “feast”! There are actually two Eid celebrations throughout the year – Eid al-Fitr in the 10th month of the Islamic calendar (to conclude Ramadan), and Eid al-Adha in the final month of the Islamic calendar (at the end of Hajj). This is the conclusion of Ramadan and there are special prayers. During the Eid al-Fitr feast, families and friends feast and often exchange gifts with one another. They also typically wear their best clothes.
Here are some books that talk about Islam for kids so you can learn more about the history of Islam!
How to Observe Ramadan
Most people observe Ramadan through a combination of these activities:
- a pre-dawn meal (suhur)
- a post-sunset meal (iftar)
- donating to help those less fortunate (Zakat)
- by praying and meditating
- by reading the Qu’ran
- refraining from any impure or sinful thoughts or deeds
- by celebrating and feasting with loved ones
Ramadan Crafts for Kids: Fun Ramadan Activities & Eid Crafts for Kids
Here are a few ideas for some kids Ramadan crafts!
- Origami star Eid necklace
- Eid greeting card
- Ramadan sun catcher
- Papier mache kaaba
- Ramadan calendar
- Recycled can Eid lantern
Ramadan Recipes for Kids
Ramadan is special in that there aren’t specific foods that are typically prepared. Instead, each family and culture from the wide diversity within Islam prepares what is comfortable and familiar to them.
If you have them available to you, it is common to eat 1-3 dates to break the fast at an iftar, as the Prophet Muhammad did.
Though you can eat what you prefer for an iftar, here are some traditional foods from different parts of the Muslim world.
Ramadan Discussion Questions
- What is something that you appreciate that you could consider setting aside in an effort to remember those with less?
- What is something you like to read that helps you be still or meditate?
- Have you ever given something up before? What was it like?
How to Celebrate Ramadan with Kids: Avoid Cultural Appropriation and Support Muslim Heritage with Ramadan Activities for Kids
An important part of avoiding cultural appropriation is to financially support the cultures from which we learn and borrow. It’s important compensate those from those cultures so that the culture can continue to thrive.
Here are some ways you can support the Muslim community.
Buy foods from a local Muslim grocers or restaurant owners
Instead of searching out a big supermarket or even making Ramadan foods yourself, consider supporting a Muslim grocer or restaurant. You may want to purchase other things while there, as well. Or perhaps buy some for yourself, and take some to a friend!
Learn the history of Ramadan and why it is celebrated
While it’s fun to celebrate, it’s important to understand the religious significance behind the holiday. There are number of books listed above that provide a basic explanation of the Ramadan story, and here’s a great video on the meaning behind Ramandan.
There are different Islamic communities that celebrate slightly differently. For instance, Sunni Muslims break their fast after the sun has set but the sky is still light. Shia Muslims, on the other hand, wait until all light has completely disappeared. There are many nuances to how different communities celebrate, so make an effort to learn some of the differences and listen to personal experiences.
Buy authentic Ramadan supplies and craft templates
There are so many online places to purchase Ramadan decorations, such as these gorgeous wooden Ramadan lanterns. Much better than buying cheap stuff at a big box store. And here’s a bunch of Islamic holiday decor.
Attend a Virtual Iftar Celebration
This virtual iftar seems amazing, with live YouTube videos, live breaking the fast, a virtual mosque tour, a Q&A, video diaries, and much more.
Study Islamic history and culture
Islamic history and culture is SO very far-reaching and also very disparate. It’s practiced much differently in Morocco than in India, for instance. Take some time to understand the nuance of where it is practiced and how. Additionally, try to identify political forces that have tried to paint Islam in a poor light, and find places it has succeeded despite persecution and opposition.
Sign up for an online Middle Eastern cooking class
Again, Islam is practiced across the world. However, it may be fun to focus some learning on Middle Eastern cultures, or at least foods. Chef Reem Assil shows how to make baba ganoush two ways in this video, and has other classes, as well.
Purchase a cookbook
Ramadan Writing Assignment: Ramadan for Kids Language Arts Activity
Ramadan for Preschoolers and Kindergarteners
Draw pictures or write down something someone may do to honor Ramadan.
Draw a picture of something you may feel gratitude for during Ramadan, and think of someone who may be less fortunate who you would like to help.
Older Elementary School/Middle School Ramadan Prompts
Read a book about Ramadan and learn about Muhammad’s boyhood. Draw a picture of him.
Write a letter to a friend or grandparent who knows nothing about Ramadan and describe what it’s about.
Traditions across generations are important in celebrating Ramadan, especially to come together and celebrate as a family. Do you have any traditions in your family? What traditions would you create if you were a grown up?
High School Ramadan Writing Prompt
Ramadan is an opportunity to practice self-discipline in order to think of others less fortunate and grow closer to Allah. When is a time you’ve needed to show discipline? How do you think fasting and practicing discipline in other ways during Ramadan could help you in your life?
Sometimes people police the way others fast during Ramadan. What are some ways we can practice observing consent and safety while celebrating Ramadan?
Kids Ramadan Music
Ramadan Music Playlist
Thanks for learning about Ramadan with kids with us!
We’ve loved putting together this resource with Ramadan activities for kids. We’d love to hear if you do any of these activities!
We hope to inspire curiosity and connection through exploring and learning, and we hope this guide helps you and your families. Please share any activities you do with us over on our Instagram. And we’d be delighted if you passed this Ramadan with kids resource along to others, as well!
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