This activity targets your child’s social development. While giving back helps those in need, it has an equally significant impact on the person doing the giving. I must stress here, however, that children should be taught that giving back requires a level of responsibility and humility. Check out this video (excuse the language), End Humanitarian Douchery, to see what I mean.
As Muslims, we are taught that actions are judged on intentions. This is the most important thing to stress when encouraging your children to volunteer. The idea of community service is to be an active member of society and make a positive impact on those around you. It should build your child’s critical thinking skills as well as their own self-awareness and awareness of the society they live in, without building their egos. Rant over. On to the activity:
Skills: social responsibility, self-awareness, critical thinking
Materials: list of service ideas, poster board, candy (optional)
What to do:
- There are a number of service charts floating around Pinterest with ideas for daily service activities that a child can do. It can be as simple as saying hello to someone or smiling. After all, in Islam smiling is considered charity!
- I recommend creating an oversized calendar on a poster board (or just use a regular calendar) and writing down a service challenge for each day of Ramadan. For my non-DIY divas, I also found a really cool “30 Days of Good Deeds – Countdown to Eid” activity by Norisa Designs, available for only $10 on Etsy. The best part is it is a digital file that you download and print! No delivery hassle or waiting.
For motivation, create a point system with prizes to win at the end of Ramadan. You can evenly distribute points for each day, or you can come up with your own point system based on the service carried out. Ideas for prizes at the end: 500 dirhams; trip to Yas WaterWorld; trip to Ferrari World; ice cream night; movie night; sleeping one hour past bedtime; extra time playing video games; whatever you think your child would like!
DIY diva alternative activities:
To make this activity even more “Pinterest-esque”, a friend recommended to write down each service on a small piece of paper and then stuff them in balloons. Your child can pop one balloon a day and see what service they get to do. I have no idea how to do this, but I’m sure YouTube has at least a dozen tutorials.
I also loved the idea of building a candy cake. This is in no way promotes healthy eating, but hey, don’t judge, its cute. It allows you to engage in a fun crafting activity with your child and also serves as motivation to do more service projects. For your children who are still new to fasting, it can even be used as an enticement to practice fasting as long as they can during the day.
The tiers or candies can be categorized by type or amount of service activity. For example, if they completed five service activities in the week they get X type of candy, or if they read Quran 3 times during the week they get X number of candies.
Incorporate a reading element:
Check out a story called The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin, whose main character is a little girl who gives a belonging of hers to someone less fortunate for Eid.