by Dawud Wharnsby Ali
- Be sure that kids dress appropriately in light, loose clothing (for young
sisters wearing Hijab, keep the scarves light colored and light weight).
- Ensure that children dress modestly. Not only will this make it easier for
them to adhere to modest styles of dress as they get older, but it will also
protect them from harmful UV rays. (Contrary to popular belief, light colored,
loose fitting clothing which reflects heat is far more conducive to keeping
cool then bare legs and bare arms which take in direct heat from the sun on
a warm day.)
- Sun block for faces, hands and arms is very important to prevent health
problems in the future. Avoid chemical sun-blocks if possible. Keep it natural.
There are a wide variety of herbal sun-blocks available derived from organic
sources which work well and smell better than commercial brands. Check into
specialty shops that carry herbal products.
Staying Active Having Fun
- You can't go wrong with sports activities. Put up a hoop for basketball
or suggest the kids get active with skipping, tag, racing, baseball, soccer
or swimming. Always emphasize the fun and not the competition. (Just keep
a juice jug or a cold water pitcher always topped up in the fridge!)
Bikes, Blades and Boards
- What a car is to an adult, a bike is to a child. Bicycles, roller-blades
(or roller-skates) and skateboards are far more than transportation. They
represent freedom and independence. Along with being a great form of fun exercise,
let bikes also be a lesson in responsibility as you urge your children to
care for and maintain their vehicles properly.
- Make sure that kids have the appropriate safety apparel for these simple,
yet potentially dangerous, vehicles. Helmets, knee pads and elbow pads are
all far less expensive than trips to the hospital because of broken limbs
or severer head injuries. (Brain injuries are among the main causes of epilepsy
in children and adults. Head protection should not be taken lightly. When
it comes to bike safety, fashion should take a back seat.)
- Help them to be aware of traffic rules and bicycle etiquette (Walking their
bikes across the street or when passing pedestrians on sidewalks instead of
Bike Wash Day
- Pick a hot day each week to have 'Bike Washing Day' where kids spruce up
their bikes, polishing the chrome and hosing off the mud. This gives kids
an excuse to have a bit of fun with cold water see which ends up getting
the most wet the bicycles or the kids! (As tempting as a garden hose
might be for summer splashing, fill small buckets or containers instead to
avoid water from being wasted. Watch local news papers or check local radio
reports for area watering bans. Some cities put restrictions during hot summer
months on how much water can be used for lawn care and property maintenance.
If a watering ban is in effect in your area, you might want to hold off on
this activity until reservoir levels are higher.)
Creative Bike Construction
- For teenage kids, suggest they buy old bicycles in working condition (sometimes
you can find used bicycles for as little as $2.00 at garage sales, rummage
sales or yard sales) then use simple tools to rearrange the bike parts and
design a one-of-a-kind creation. (Imagine: Ten speed handle bars, with a banana
seat, Mountain Bike forks and touring bike frame. Definitely make sure bike
helmets are worn with this activity!)
Let It Rain!
- Children don't melt in the rain! In fact, neither do adults! Provide them
with plenty of outdoor time and don't be scared to join them. Puddle splashing
is fun in a downpour and all it costs is the time to dry your clothes. Take
advantage of powerful rainstorms. Let the kids laugh it up with you in the
rain for a little while they will talk about it for the rest of the
summer! (It is also a very humbling to be drenched to the bone with the power
of Allah's rain.)
- One great form of exercise is walking! (Or 'Wheeling', for kids who may
use wheelchairs.) Inexpensive places to walk (or 'Wheel') regardless
of the weather grocery shopping, public library, local museums, playgrounds,
Head For The sky!
- Go fly a kite! (If you don't have one, make one!)
This Is For The Birds!
- Challenge kids to learn the names of at least five different birds, common
to North America, and recognize them by their appearance and calls.
- Build a simple bird-feeder to hang in the yard or on a balcony in a shady
spot. Enjoy hours of fun sitting to watch the birds snack during the day.
(Makes for a nice lesson in Sadaqa.)
Head For The Open Road!
- Drive the family out into the countryside and try to get lost on some unfamiliar
roads, challenging the kids to help remember the way home. (Always keep a
pay-phone quarter, a map and a bag of sweets in the glove box just
- Take a family walk out on a country road for little while. Pack a picnic
lunch, prayer mats and a water jug for Wudu. Moo at cows in a field or give
Salaams to a flock of sheep an honest sense of silly humor will help
keep a light mood in the family during the long summer break.
Watch Them Grow!
- Get the kids involved in neighborhood clean up programs, inner city garden
planting projects or empty lot beautification programs
- Have them grow herbs or vegetables in the yard or on the balcony and take
responsibility for the living plants they nurture. Watch their enjoyment as
they wash vegetables from their garden for a family meal!
- Take a rainy day trip to a local plant nursery to enjoy looking at Allah's
beautiful array of plant creations at different stages of growth.
- Kids change and grow daily. Sometimes we get so close to our children that
we miss the beauty of their development. Parents! Take some time to just sit
quietly and watch your children playing, eating, coloring, running or even
sleeping. Try to look at them as individuals, not just 'your kids'
you'll be surprised at who you might meet. (You may also be surprised to see
a great deal of your own behavior in theirs.) Thank Allah for bringing them
into your life.
Family Duties And Trust
- Get them involved in family chores and tasks DO NOT go at it in a
way that suggests they are working, but rather, let them know you trust them
and give them tasks that demonstrate that trust, depending on their age and
ability of course. Never underestimate your child's capabilities.
Summer Camp Ideas
- Have your children involved in a regular extracurricular activity with other
children. There are plenty of day camps with a wide array of focuses available
in most localities. (Islamic camps, Sports camps, Computer camps, Arts camps.)
Thoroughly research the camp yourself to ensure that it will be well run and
that children will be properly supervised. Many well-meaning individuals have
attempted to organize day camps without proper knowledge of how to see to
the safety, comfort and fun of the children who attend. It is better to keep
your children at home than to send then to a camp that will jeopardize their
safety or their comfort. Islamic camps are no different: Ensure that instructors
are qualified and able to deal with the children in an appropriate matter.
If Islamic teachings are not taught in a balanced fashion or shoved too vigorously
at a child, more harm could be caused to the child's faith than good.
Volunteering: A Great Way To Grow
- Suggest that your adolescent volunteer once a week at a retirement residence
or at a hospital for sick children, helping to serve lunches or read to patients.
Children's Story Library:
Children's Story Library is popular with parents as well.
tomorrow's Muslims today!
with Sound Vision Team: