Ramadan in the summer means the kiddos don’t have eight hours of learning and socializing to distract them from boredom. Sure there are sports and other games to play but if parents are fasting, that makes it hard to sustain a large amount of energy and enthusiasm for very long. If the kiddos are fasting too, then the number of distractions is that much more limited.
It’s ideal to say that the day should be spent committing acts of worship such as reading the Quran and praying the extra prayers that might get ignored during other times of the month.
But we have to be realistic; this is a difficult to accomplish with kids. It’s difficult for them to focus on any one task for too long, which means it becomes difficult for parents to focus on any one task for too long. This means that parents need to think outside the box to keep their kids active during Ramadan.
This is our attempt at cutting work short for everyone; here are eight kid-friendly places for fun activities that don’t involve a hefty physical strain:
1. Go paint your own pottery with the little ones. Encourage their creativity and get personalized art work from the kiddos that can be cherished forever. The Mad Potter has a number of locations in Houston: http://www.themadpotter.com/
2. The Children’s Museum of Houston is indoors and educational. An air-conditioned building with activities and stations to keep children busy for a block of hours seems ideal for fasting parents: http://www.cmhouston.org/
3. Can we bring the lost art of reading back please? There are so many libraries with amazing children’s sections – we should be taking advantage of these resources! Scroll down for a list of local libraries to find the one closest to you: http://houston.kidsoutandabout.com/content/libraries-houston-area
4. Fish, fish, and more fish! The Downtown Aquarium should not be overlooked for another means of educational, air-conditioned fun: http://www.aquariumrestaurants.com/downtownaquariumhouston/
5. Discovery Green now has many physical activity stations and group workout sessions, but there are also writing workshops and “Recycling Saturdays” and special events on weekends. Discovery Green is a great place for kids too young to fast to pass their time: http://www.discoverygreen.com/ebevents
6. With three different pyramids of family-oriented education and an IMAX theater that has regular showings of breathtaking documentaries, Moody Gardens kind of has it all: http://www.moodygardens.com/
7. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has featured exhibits year-round. Here’s a link to the calendar of events for July: http://www.hmns.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3&Itemid=3 Be sure to visit the Cockrell Butterfly Center: http://www.hmns.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=56&Itemid=8
8. A visit to Houston’s Space Center could be intriguing for both children and adults. Who wouldn’t want to know some of the amazing aspects of being an astronaut? http://spacecenter.org/
There you have it. Plan your day from early morning so that you can fit in as many of the activities available at some of these centers, get done late afternoon, and rest and pray until Iftar after that. The kiddos will have their entertainment and possible education; parents can take comfort in spending time with their kids without sacrificing the meaning of Ramadan.
After all, taking care of one’s children, making sure to play an active role in their lives is as important as anything else for Muslim parents.
The 30 Days of Ramadan series is written by Sobia Siddiqui, CAIR-TX Communications Intern. Enjoy more of her writing on her personal blog, Religion in the Melting Pot.