Archive for February, 2009

A lapbook does not have to be a long project. A lapbook can be assembled in a day or two, as a mini project. In this example a friend of mine wanted to introduce symmetry to her daughter, mainly through the use of drawings. Early study of symmetry usually involves lots of artwork, for example mirror painting (where a picture is painted on one side of the paper, then the paper is folded to print on the other half), or paper cut outs (where shapes are cut from a  folded paper , then the paper is opened out again). These activities are great fun to do, but at the end you have a collection of papers which can easily get lost or jumbled up. A lapbook is a good way to pull all these examples together, and store them so that they can retain their meaning. 


The word “symmetry” is not symmetrical, as illustrated above!

full view

This lapbook comprises several sections.

Examples of symmetrical shapes with the line of symmetry marked.

Examples of non-symmetrical shapes, with lines drawn as suggested “mirror lines” where the child was asked to place a mirror to check for symmetry.

Mini fold with symmetry information.

Symmetrical pattern made from cut outs.

Cut out shapes, some folded, with symmetry lines marked where approriate.

closer look

The colouring on the top left shape is clearly not symmetrical (someone got carried away with the felt tips) – but you get the idea!

mini fold

The writing says “If you put a mirror in the middle of the shapes you will see if the shapes look the same on both sides or if  they look different.”

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Just something short and simple this week! A simple poster to decorate your wall with. This was the idea of a friend of mine. The poster uses a visual reminder of “opening” to remind young children of the meaning of the name of the first Surah of the Quran. These posters were made by my sons several years ago when they were learning about the Five Pillars of Islam, and more particularly, about salaah.


The writing at the top says “Suratul Fatihah means the Opening. It is the first surah in the Quran.”


Because of the stage of writing the children were at  the inside was kept very simple. If your children are able to they can write out the surah in Arabic, or the English meaning, or both, behind the doors.

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Life’s Journey project

Ibn Umar (ra) reported that the Messenger (saw) said, “Be in this world as though you were a stranger or a traveller/wayfarer.” Al-Bukhari.

It is an important lesson that we teach to our children that this life is only a preparation for the final destination of the Hereafter. This life is a journey towards the Hereafter, and it is most important to us that we end up arriving in the right place, Jannah!

“The life of this world is nothing but a game and a diversion. The abode of the akhira- that is truly Life if only they knew.” (Surah al-Ankabut:64)

This project, devised several years ago by a friend, aims to emphasise the concept that life is a journey towards the Hereafter, and that the paths we choose on this jouney direct us towards our place in Jannah, or Hellfire. Jannah is the destination which we all aspire to reach, by the Mercy of Allah (swt). The project also seeks to teach the children about what is required of a person for them to achieve Jannah.

The project begins with a suitcase. Our life is a journey, and we should try to travel light, carrying only the essentials. The suitcase is made from pieces of A4 card, stapled together, with a cut out handled stapled on too.

What is the most important thing needed to qualify for Jannah? (Apart from the Mercy of Allah). The Shahadah, it is written on the suitcase.

The suitcase

What is inside?

contents of the suitcase

First we need to explain what Jannah is. This was done by making a little booklet about the descriptions of Jannah given in the Quran and sunnah. It is important to explain to the children that we cannot imagine, or draw what Jannah is like, nothing anyone could draw could come anywhere near the reality of Jannah. Inside the booklet is writing about descriptions of Jannah.

Some useful references: al-Insan:21; al-Hajj:23; Sad:54; al-Waqi’a:33; al-Waqi’a:15;Fatir:33 al-Ankabut:58; az-Zumar:20;al-Insan:13.

about Jannah

Imaan is also needed to qualify for Jannah, and this is explained by defining imaan as belief, sayings and actions, with examples of what that means.

belief in the heart

This section is about what we believe, as in the Six Pillars of Imaan. The shape of the paper is based on the shape of the heart, (the real human heart, rather than the love heart shape) and on it is written a summary of the Pillars. Due to the age of the children working on this project (around eight) Qadar is given a simple explanation. The point is to explain that we must believe in these six pillars to qualify for Jannah.

the tongue

We also need to testify to our belief, so here we have a tongue cut out with a list of “sayings”. First is the shahdah, then other good verbal actions, such as dhikr, dua, dawah, recitation of Quran.

Finally there was a cut out of a body shape, which can be cut in a clothing shape, listing amal (actions)which a good Muslim should do, such as prayer, zakat, sadaqah, Hajj, Umrah,helping the needy and so on. 

passportNext the children made a little passport booklet, including their names and dates of birth. Of course it is important to explain that passports are nothing to do with the Hereafter, but that a record of all our deeds will be collected, and the more good deeds we have the easier will be our experience in the Hereafter, inshAllah. Inside the booklet examples of good deeds were written, and it was explained that Muslims need as many of these as possible. The passport idea is merely illustrative and a way of explaining complex concepts about the Hereafter in a way that can be readily grasped by young children.

This completes the project, which can all be stored inside the suitcase.

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