Monday, November 22, 2010

Play Activities - A place to get ideas for entertaining activities for your children

Sometimes it is hard to think up fun, new things to do with your children. You need to involve our children in entertaining, educational activities which can inspire both parent and child.

'Play activities' is a free and fun educational e-mail for parents of children under 5. Play-activities is ideal for parents, grandparents, teachers of home schoolers, preschoolers and kindergarteners, childcare providers, after-school clubs and babysitters.

It allows access to a wide range of activities to help your child develop a balanced play life, have fun, and enjoy a good mix of the early childhood skills identified by child health professionals.

Sign up to Play-activities and receive a free, fun-packed daily email containing:

Each Play-Activity is...

  • Educational and fun, with the developmental stages highlighted.
  • Appropriate and adaptable for babies, toddlers, pre-schoolers and kindergartners.

The site is created by qualified teacher Melitsa Avila. Melitsa wanted to create a source of activities for parents and children to enjoy, which offered a balance of gross and fine motor activities, social & personal activities, and problem-solving and language activities all in one easily accessible place –

Says Melitsa, “I’ve always tried to inject fun into learning. When I was teaching I found kids learned more and did more when they were playing and having fun in lessons. Now I have my own kids. I want them to be playing in a variety of ways to develop a love and curiosity for learning. But above all I want them to be having fun!

“I noticed many sites offering coloring and/or craft activities. But I wanted a more holistic approach for my kids. So combining the main developmental skills kids, and parents, are working on in those early years developmental checks with their doctor, health visitor or pediatrician, I put together a collection of activities parents and kids can enjoy doing together.

“The activities don’t have to be fantastical but spending time connecting with your child in a one on one activity is just what you want and they need. Having lots of fun together is so important.

“I often didn’t know what I wanted to do with my child so looking up a theme didn’t work for me and I realized that I was always finding things I wanted to do or that I thought HE would want to do. Surely I should be trying a broader range of activities to excite and stimulate my child in the early years. I liked some ideas my friends had but often didn’t remember them when I got home!

“I wanted activities that were educational, fun and easy to do, using materials I had at home and that covered gross motor skills too, as kids need to move, and a balance of play skills is essential for boys and girls.

“With the daily play-activities email you get that variety, because you don’t choose which activities come through; it’s a playful surprise. Our activities can stand alone or easily fit into your normal activities. Our site is interactive too - you can submit your own favourite activity in an easy format and also rate activities once you’ve finished.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

An awesome resource for Islamic education - Educating the Muslim Child

'Having a younger child around while you are homeschooling can be difficult. How well things work with homeschooling with a younger child will depend on how well you prepare for it.

First of all, you need to check your expectations. I know that homeschooling is not an easy job – but even though we have a lot of jobs to fulfill – cleaning, cooking, taking care of young ones and educating the older children – we have to realize the importance of each and every job we fulfill. Your younger child needs you – and when you are homeschooling and they are pulling on your shirt sleeves yelling mommy – mommy – mommy – it can be difficult to remember that your only job is not homeschooling.'

Read more tips, ideas and posts at 'Educating the Muslim Child' (Yemen Links) which is an awesome blog about homeschooling and learning.

Site offers all necessary information, links and useful stuff which is

Check the post 'Muslim homeschool sites' to discover more Muslim blogs or sites.

Site link:
* 'Educating the Muslim Child'

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why homeschooling and why we should decide if it is best for us?

There are many reasons to decide home schooling for your kids and as a parent we have to decide either it is best choice for us or not?

Reasons to home school may be lack of confidence in the public schools, religious, a child with special needs, or just because you feel it is what is best for your family.

As parents, we are children's primary educators. We teach them every day life skills. (i.e. personal care, responsibility, values, etc.) It would seem reasonable that we could extend that learning to include skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Education today, is the center of many debates. Yes or no to school vouchers, reducing the risk of school shootings, inclusion, charter schools, and low test scores in standardized tests. The list could go on forever. Whether you decide to home school or not is an individual choice. Not just for you but for your child, as well.

Public Schools: A lot of parents are turning to home schooling because they just do not trust the public school system. In some areas, schools do not have the money to provide updated textbooks or supplemental teaching supplies. In addition, they don't have the money to hire qualified teachers and students are taught by unqualified substitutes. Some parents argue that class sizes are too large. It's tough for your child to get the individual attention he may need if the teacher has 22 other students who need attention, too. The outbreak of recent school shootings has also caused a lot of parents to pull their children out of public school. Some feel it just isn't safe.

Why not send them to private schools? Well, the truth of the matter is that even though private schools offer smaller classrooms and have the financial backing for teaching materials, most parents can't afford it. Some private schools cost just as much as a college education. Sending your first grader to private school may cost you $10,000 or more per year. I addition to cost, most private schools have religious affiliations. It just may be that you, a practicing Baptist, do not want to send your child to a Catholic private school.

Religious Freedom: Religious freedom is another reason why some parents turn to home schooling. With the separation of school and church, as well as, the ongoing debate over prayer in the schools, make home schooling ideal. Maybe you can't afford to send your child to the Catholic school or maybe there isn't one in your area. At home you can teach your child anything about your religious beliefs. It can be incorporated into your child's curriculum. There are a lot of associations geared towards Christian homeschoolers. There are many different religions in this world. Their beliefs are not all equally represented. Home schooling provides parents that opportunity.

Children with Special Needs: Home schooling is an option for parents with children who have special needs. It could be a mental disability, a learning disability, or a physical disability. Your child may even be gifted. In any case, children with special needs often get overlooked in the public school system. There is so much red tape to go through to even get your child tested. Some children get labeled as a problem child and never get the services they need.

Its Just Right for You: Home schooling may be a goal for your family. Maybe you were a home schooled child and loved it. As a parent you know more than anyone how your child learns. You know what their interests are. Maybe the traditional school setting is not what your child needs. Maybe you just want to give it a try. You heard an acquaintance boast on how it has helped her family and became interested. Or, you are already a stay-at-home mom so there wouldn't be any drastic changes, such as quitting your job.

There are many reasons why; there are reasons why you shouldn't. Not every parent is suited for home schooling; just alike neither is every child. This decision should require some evaluation on the parent and the child. What are your family's educational goals? What are your feelings or concerns about the choices available to your family? These and other questions can help you determine why or why not, home schooling is for you?

Written by: Tequitia a wife, mother, and freelance writer

Source link: Why Home School?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Benefits of crafts activities for kids

 Crafts activities can provide hours of fun for kids if supervised properly.
There are so many reasons why we should encourage our kids to participate in craft activities.  Crafts projects help open door to creative process which helps later in skill development required for a successful life.

Here are few benefits of crafts activities:

  • Brilliant for fine motor development, verbal skills, muscle coordination, concentration, achievement: One of the most important developmental phases for children is that time when they begin to master basic motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Learning to use fingers and hands deftly is an ongoing process which can be helped along through a variety of activities, including crafting.
  • Learning to follow directions: While plenty of craft projects are flexible enough to allow children to explore their ingenuity, most of them involve a set of instructions that must be followed in order to produce the final product.
  • It’s fun: Having fun is a cornerstone of childhood, and its value should never be discounted when coming up with interesting activities for children to explore
  • Form of expression/ form of creativity
  • ˜Takes them away from the TV”
  • Something is produced so spouse other people can see kids been doing things ( daycare)
  • Open ended art
  • Enjoying the process, being creative, making decisions, using their hands
  • Expectation
  • Arts and crafts activities are a series of problem-solving activities. Kids are presented with a goal, perhaps a painting or a model. Using a method and a set of skills they either recreate this item or design an entirely new piece of artwork. Children must find ways to interpret and identify the best way forward from a whole set of ideas. As they proceed, they are constantly discovering the laws of cause and effect. The young artist will often have to think laterally and may have their perseverance tested. In other words, every craft project is one big problem to be solved so that it results in a real sense of achievement.
  • Crafts are also a great way to keep kids occupied. Arts and crafts activities may be particularly valuable for more active children. The activities demand patience and results are only achieved with effort and time. It means that arts and craft activities provide a valuable opportunity for concentration and quiet time.

Useful links and resources:

* Benefits of Creative Activities for Children


Thursday, October 28, 2010

How to prepare a crafts friendly environment for your kids at home?

You can encourage your kids to create or make the crafts projects. To start it just prepare corner in the room as 'crafts space' enabling him/her to check the things ready for crafts activities. You need to start describing few activities or project yourself so that your children get inspiration. Creativity starts at that point when kids see a lot of available stuff and simple or basic tips, ideas to start their own crafts projects.

Here's a list of what to set out and how to organize it all:

• Fill a small basket with stickers and small accessories to go with the theme. (Pipe cleaners, fun foam shapes, googly eyes, felt, Popsicle sticks, etc.)

• Fill a small container (plastic) with the glue "stuff" (glue stick, white glue, tape)

• Provide a small container or basket for markers, crayons, pencil crayons, sharpener, and such.

• Use a flat tray to hold all of the paper items (construction paper, paper bags, paper plates, copy paper, newsprint etc.).

• On painting days, lay out his smock, paint tray (for poster or finger paints use an ice cube tray), paint brushes, water container (plastic), sponges, stamps and wet wipes for quick clean ups.

• For a more complex craft or activity, make a sample craft for him or her to look at for ideas.

Try to match the Theme with whatever you are learning about that week (reptiles, apples, holidays and such). There is no right or wrong when it comes to crafts—just have fun!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How to help your child build self esteem?

Self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself. It includes such things as your self-confidence, self-respect, pride in yourself, your independence and your self-reliance.
All the ways you feel about yourself and your abilities are wrapped up in the term "self-esteem".

As a parent or a teacher, you have a great influence over the self-esteem of your child. For the first 4 or 5 years, parents are the most important contributor. When children start school, teachers and friends become important. Once they reach adolescents, peer groups begin playing a greater role in steering your child's self-esteem. The more positive their self-esteem was before adolescents, the easier it will be for them to resist negative peer group pressures.

In general, the more positive your self-esteem, the more successful you will be at dealing with life. The same holds for your children. The more positive their self-esteem, the more confident and proud they will be. They will try harder, be happier and have greater self-respect. They will make friends easier and will be more giving. Children with positive self-esteem are more secure and loving than children with negative self-esteem.

These are some ways to encourage self-confidence in children:

Children who are morally and spiritually conscience develop a sense of their own self-worth. Helping our children develop healthy self-esteem is one of the most important things that parents can do for them; it is the foundation of their faith and commitment to Allah. Children need to be assured that they are a special gift from Allah and they are to dedicate their talents and resources to Thy service--this gives them value, purpose and direction for life. Through every phase of a child's development, they need provisions for moral and spiritual enrichment that encourages them to truly reverence Allah and to thus value the beauty in themselves.

"We have indeed created man in the best of molds." (Quran 95:4) There is no fault in Allah's creation; to man, Allah gave the purest and best nature. Our duty is to preserve, and nurture the distinctive character that Allah has created.

Healthy feelings about oneself or high self-esteem is best started in the home, and this needs to be cultivated in our children from birth. Thankfulness for who Allah has made us to be is based primarily on how our parents or guardians view us. Children mirror others' perception of them; they measure themselves by the standards set by those shaping their lives. A child needs our unconditional love. While we may show disapproval of wrong actions, the child still needs to feel cherished. We are guided: "...truly no one despairs of Allah's soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith." (Quran 12:87) Our unconditional compassion for our children will promote and encourage their faith in Allah and instill the thinking that "I am lovable, I am confident."

Persons with healthy self-esteem are more capable of making decisions; they exhibit thankfulness for their accomplishments, are willing to take responsibility, and are better able to cope with stressful situations. They meet and feel enthusiastic about challenges. Often a student with a high IQ and low self-esteem will do poorly in school, while a child with average ability and high self-esteem will excel. The thinking that is cultivated in a person in the early years affects his entire life.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How to raise your child into excellent personality?

"According to Imam Al-Ghazali, a child is like an uncut diamond." The parent's responsibility is to cut, shape, and polish their child's soul until it becomes a shining beautiful jewel, pleasing to the eye of Allah. Clearly, it is the parents who determine whether their children will become of fine character or not.

Every parent wishes to raise their children to become noble souls, good in every way; but, many do not know how to achieve that goal in an effective manner.
There are two primary requirements:

1- Parents have to know how a child's character or personality is developed.
2- Parents must themselves possess right values that will act as the basis for shaping their children's character; these right values are the traditional values of Islamic Character, and children must be raised to understand their role as Representative of Allah in this world (Khalifah Allah).

By combining these two necessary aspects of character development, parents will be able to shape their children to be excellent individuals in this world and the next.

You can get help from an online ebook which can be freely read online.

'Shaping Excellent Character- A manual for parents'

This book is from "Islamic and book is an effort from "Women's club, University Kebangsaan, Kuala Lumper, Malaysia"

Summary of the book says:
* It is best to shape your children good character from an early age, but it is still not too late to correct the character of children of any age group.

* Children should be encouraged to be well behaved through directed positive influence. Reward them immediately when they do good. Gently admonish them immediately when they do wrong. Explain to them what they have done wrong, and clarify why it should not be repeated.

* Children need to be educated to observe certain limits in their freedom of action, and these are the limits that have been clearly set out for us by Allah when he gave us Islam as our perfect plan for a right life.

* We need to be consistent in encouraging positive values at every time and in every place.

* The application of Islamic values in raising our children is the best way to encourage the development of positive character.

This book is also available for non-muslim parents: