Guest post by Stephanie from kitabkids

The rituals and traditions of Hajj are rich and complex. Rather than being overwhelming, I have always found this has made the task of sharing the Hajj story with my children an absolute delight. No matter how many crafts we do, how many parts of the ritual I explain, how many stories we tell, there is always more to explore!

When my children were very little, I started out with sheep crafts and a very gentle version of Ibrahim and Ishaq AS’s story. Cotton wool ball sheep, sheep masks and sheep weaving crafts were all on the agenda. This may at first glance appear to be a slightly ghoulish craft for little ones given the fate of the sheep but I have found in my experience that firstly, very small children relate extremely well to the delightful sheep imagery (the vast majority of preschoolers adore all things farm and animals) and secondly, they can comprehend and accept extremely well the idea of the sacrifice. It’s my view that children should be aware of food sources from an early age and this narrative ties in well with that. Theming Eid ul Adha celebrations around sheep is also a fun way to carry on with this imagery (there are loads of adorable ‘Eid mu-baa-rak’ products around and they are fun to make with little ones!).

Image from @kitabkids

 

Image from @kitabkids

 

Image from @kitabkids

Once my children were slightly older, I found that they responded well to learning about the pilgrimage of Hajj as a whole. Without going into an enormous amount of detail but still explaining at an age-appropriate level, I have held Hajj reenactments that allowed my children a glimpse of what Hajj might be like when InshAllah one day they are called/invited by Allah SWT to attend. The Kaaba became a central focus of our crafts. It’s striking and simple design lends itself so readily to an enormous range of crafts and is an easily identifiable symbol.
We have made and painted Kaaba from cubes of wood and air-drying clay and had a lot of fun making a paper loom and weaving black and gold paper through it to create a woven Kaaba. My children have also thoroughly enjoyed using our peg dolls and other items around the home to create a mini Hajj and last year we also used a beautiful printable from Smart Ark to make a Hajj diorama.

Image from @kitabkids

Image from @kitabkids

The global anti- Racism movement is also a great and important topic to weave into the discussion of Hajj and we have in the past created paper dolls of all different races to recognise the significance of Hajj, and indeed Islam as a unifier of nations. Older children would no doubt be extremely interested in Malcolm X’s experience of Hajj.

Image from @kitabkids

 

Check out this link to see Malcoom X’s experience of Hajj
For the past two years I have taken a slightly different approach to our Hajj/Eid ul Adha crafts as my children have grown older and their comprehension has increased. This approach is to take a very specific aspect of the Hajj ritual and experience and focus on that one part alone. Last year that specific topic was transport. I was inspired by a beautiful book I have, released in connection with an exhibition held at the British Museum. The book shares some truly remarkable experiences of various Muslims and their journeys to Hajj. My boys in particular really enjoyed hearing stories of these journeys by train, on foot and by camel amongst others and we made a huge wall display from recycled cardboard showing the different forms of transport used.

Image from @kitabkids

Image from @kitabkids

Image from @kitabkids

This year we are focussing on the story of Hajar and Zam Zam, a tale that I know my children will find incredibly inspiring. We have commenced that topic with a desert study since I believe that it isn’t possible to truly comprehend Hajar’s struggle without first allowing the children some insight into desert terrain. Shortly we will commence some crafts that relate more closely to the story itself and we have been incredibly inspired in that sense by Mariam Hakim’s beautiful book, ‘An Ocean in One Drop: the story of Hajar in Hajj’. I always love to work closely and draw inspiration from children’s picture books and I think that children relate well to this approach, seeing their favourite books brought to life!
You can follow along with our exploration of Hajar’s journey over at my Instagram account @kitabkids.
jouhayna
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