As we all know, this will be the strangest Ramadan we have ever experienced due to the Covid-19 crisis, where social distancing has forced us to stay home and become more isolated from our friends, extended family, and the community around us. There will be no mosques open, no ongoing taraweeh prayers led by imams, and no attending iftars at friends’ or families’ homes due to the nationwide, government-issued lockdown.
For introverts, this may be a good thing because it gives them more time to themselves to work on their own personal hobbies. But for other people who thrive on social interaction, and love going to friends’ homes, or the mosque for iftar and taraweeh prayers, it may be a challenge. The typical social aspect of Ramadan gives us all a spiritual high and a sense of community during the holy month. But, despite this unique situation, let’s still try and make the most of this month by exploring fun and spiritually-motivating ways to boost our faith and increase our family ties, without pulling each other’s hair out!
Let us value the gift of time from our Creator, and cultivate that sense of community in our homes. This indoor bonding time and increased connection with our families will replace the void that we feel both from staying home, and from not having extended family or the community physically near us this Ramadan. The more connections we make with the family we are blessed with, the more the love will increase, and the domestic tensions will decrease.
With the days meshing together, and for having what seems like endless time on our hands, it can be easy to fall into a routine, and run out of ideas for things to do to pass the time and keep busy. It may seem hard to create happy, positive memories in such a negative, anxiety-ridden time. But with a little creativity and spiritual inspiration, you can find all sorts of ways to make the most out of Ramadan during this quarantine. I’m sharing 8 fun Muslim-friendly activities you can do with your family this month to have a worthwhile Ramadan full of fun, high spirits, and love. Check them out below!
1. Have a Picnic without the Ants
Of course, there will be no fresh air, but there will, literally, be no bugs to bug you–no mosquitos, ants, etc. So, make whatever food you like (maybe have a BBQ in the backyard), grab a picnic sheet or mat for the family room floor, and complete it with a basket full of drinks. This is a great, and super fun iftar idea. You and your family can just spend some quality time together, talking about your goals for after the quarantine is over, and then watch a fun show or family-friendly movie.
Islamic Twist: Talk about your spiritual goals for Ramadan, or if you really want to get in the spirit, share or listen to a story of one of the Prophets. You can also watch family-friendly movies or shows with relatable Muslims, like The Breadwinner on Netflix either during or after your iftar.
2. Enjoy a Family Game Night (or a Few)
Gather around the coffee table, the dining room table, or heck, even on the floor, and break out some classic games. Remember the 90s? Clue, Life, Monopoly, Sorry, Jenga, puzzles, or anything else. Get your competition on!
Islamic Twist: Play some Islamic board games to tap into your knowledge, and to help your children learn some new interesting information and facts in a fun way. Some great Islamic games are 5 Pillars Family Game, Bingo: Arabic Alphabet, Quran Explorer Game, Quran Knowledge Game, Salat Knowledge Game, Hadith Challenge Game, Madinah Salat Fun Game, Hajj Fun Game, and The Great Mosque Game. You can find more great games on Noorart.com.
3. Craft up Your Skills and Get Your DIY On
I don’t know about you, but this can be a very soothing activity for me because it allows me to slow down, and tap into my creative side. I am not running around trying to make sure my kids are fed, or if they did their homework. This is sort of like “me-time,” but with the kids.
If there is a craft that you have had in mind, but never had the time to actually do it before, this is your chance! The kids also need a fun activity to do because, eventually, they will be tired of electronics and toys. So don’t wait, and pull out your craft supplies! There are a gazillion tutorials for cool projects online and on YouTube, even some that will show you how to make homemade items like play dough, crayons, candles, etc.
What is so great about YouTube is that there are a lot of videos of kids creating things that will inspire your own children, and get them super excited and engaged to follow along. Get ready for some little inventors around the house, and be prepared to get your own creative mind working! Check out this video by Ryan’s World where he shows you how to make a variety of things at home using household products.
Islamic twist: Since it is Ramadan, you can also do some fun crafting where the kids join in to help make classic Ramadan symbols like moons, stars, lanterns, mini Qurans on a book holder, mini mosque silhouettes, etc. They can use their crafts to decorate around the house, their rooms, or play areas. This will really get them in the spirit and truly feel like it’s Ramadan, despite the quarantine. Check out these awesome Ramadan craft ideas, here.
In addition, a lot of Muslim children and young Muslim adults have taken up making their own businesses with their creative geniuses, and have become popular on platforms like Instagram and YouTube because they are so relatable to other Muslims. Once your child completes his or her creation, perhaps you can share it with friends, family, and the Muslim creatives on social media. Who knows? It may lead to something amazing!
4. Watch Live Streams and Webcams
This is like watching the Discovery or the National Geographic channel with your kids, but it’s way more interactive and fun! There are many webcams and live streams offered by various educational facilities from around the nation. Here are a few cool live tours you can see from the comfort of your home:
- Georgia Aquarium–Ocean Voyager Webcam: They have a variety of webcams for different aquatic animals. Feed your curiosity and explore the underwater world and marine life!
- San Diego Zoo and Smithsonian National Zoo Webcams: Explore the Animalia kingdoms from your sofas. You also have more time to observe each animal because you don’t have to walk the, sometimes, long distance between animals when there’s only a finite amount of time in the day.
- Boston Children’s Museum Virtual Field Trip: You are basically taking a fun field trip without having to move an inch, and without the long lines and ticket costs! Score!
These are just a few option; you will be overwhelmed with the endless possibilities online!
Islamic Twist: After viewing all of the cool stuff online, you can have a discussion with your kids, significant other, or other family members in reflecting upon how Allah has placed a habitat for every creature on this planet, and bask in that amazing reality! You can also find plenty of Islamic live streams and webcams online and on YouTube to watch as a family, like this recorded live stream of Mecca.
5. Clean and Organize Your Home
If there are any drawers in your home that have been a mess for way too long, or your garage needs organizing, this is a great time to work on these things. During this Covid-19 lockdown, if you’re running out of things to do to keep busy, this could be an opportunity to tackle any and every chaotic nook and cranny that has been driving you crazy. As you clean and organize, ask yourself (like the famous Marie Kondo suggests), “Does this spark joy?” If your mess does not, it’s time to get rid of it, and organize your spaces so that you are at peace, and can think and feel better! It’s a great idea to get your children involved so that they can learn and get in the habit of organizing at a young age. You can even make an activity out of it so that it’s fun and exciting by turning it into a race or competition.
Islamic Twist: If you get your kids or loved ones involved, maybe you can give them a basket of goodies for Ramadan as a reward, depending on how much or little they helped! Also, instead of spring cleaning, you can start a tradition of Ramadan/Eid cleaning, where they help get the house in better shape for the holiday. You can also put on Quran or some Ramadan inspired songs to lift their spirits, like Ramadan is Here by Raef, Hasbi Rabbi by Sami Yusuf, Shahr Ramadan by Tamer Hosny, and so many other great songs listed on the Ramadan Album by Awakening Music.
6. Read New Books/Have a Book Club
This can be a great time to join or host a family book club! Whether it’s just with the members of your household, or with other family and friends, this is something fun and beneficial for you to do with your kids. They will look forward to reading and talking about new books, and it will be especially fun if you do activities related to the book afterwards as well. Also, if you are having a book club with extended family and friends, it will be exciting to have Zoom sessions to look forward to where everyone, and especially the kids, can talk about their favorite parts of the book together. Another option if you don’t want to have a book club is simply reading a new book to your children every night (if you don’t already do this).
Islamic Twist: There are so many great Islamic books that we can read to our children to teach them about our faith in a fun, engaging way that they’ll be able to comprehend. So whether it is involving our kids in a weekly or monthly book club with Islamic children’s books, or doing it on our own as a family, these can be fun, educational, and spiritually rewarding experiences for everyone. Some really great Islamic children’s book options to read this Ramadan are How Much Does Allah Love Me? by Heba Subeh-Hyder, Ramadan (Celebrate the World) by Hannah Eliot, Tell Me More About Ramadan and But… Who is Allah? by Bachar Karroum, just to name a few.
7. Bake or Cook Up A Storm
Statistics show that the kitchen is one of the most bustling places in the house where family members gather. So, round up your loving family, and make a yummy recipe together that you all agree on. Take turns, laugh, and listen to nasheeds in the process. Have fun with it, and don’t worry too much about it coming out perfect. You may even accidentally make a twist on a recipe that will end up being a success, and a new tradition for your family! However you do it, you are creating priceless memories you will all cherish forever.
Islamic Twist: Muslims from around the world have special dishes (especially sweets) specifically for Ramadan. So this Ramadan, look for traditional favorites that you have never made before. Step out of your comfort zone, and try a dish from outside of your culture and/or tradition. You may end up loving it, and make it more often! We are blessed to have so much diversity in our religion, and this allows us to try, taste, and whip up endless recipe possibilities that can become new family favorites. Check out our article, “Iftar from Around the World,” by Nur Amer for some popular and traditional iftar dishes from various cultures. And don’t forget, whenever you can, get the whole family involved, whether it’s by helping you make the food and/or desserts, or preparing the table for iftar!
8. Enjoy Nature
Alas! There is nothing that can soothe our souls more than serenely taking a stroll in a beautiful wooden trail or park. Sometimes, we need to just get away from technology and electronics, and just immerse ourselves in the natural world around us. Nature not only ripens our senses, but gives us time to reflect, slow down, and reset. It is great for our physical and mental health.
Islamic Twist: If you appreciate your environment, it leads to loving your Creator more. This is a good time to reflect on the relationship of our faith with science, and think about how everything in our ecosphere is in harmony with one another. We can appreciate and reflect on how, as humans, we are interconnected with the Earth from being dependent on trees, on the water cycle, the animals, and more. If we reflect on and immerse ourselves in the natural environment that God gifted us, it will quite positively leave us in awe, and make us more humbled! It is also a great opportunity to talk to our children about what our greater role and purpose is in this world, and how it is our duty to take care of the Earth God blessed us with, because what better way than among the beauty of nature? You can also teach your children the importance of reciting dhikr when reflecting on and admiring God’s creations, like saying “Subhanallah,” “Allah Akbar,” and “Mashallah” when seeing something fascinating and beautiful in the world around us.
There you have it–a list of eight fun (and maybe even nerdy, haha!) things to keep you occupied during Ramadan in this Covid-19 crisis. We all run out of ideas with our kids and families, so I hope that this guide can help you when you are having an off day. After all, #weareinthistogether!