We all want our children to have a passion for learning and the best way to develop this is through play and with games. You’ll soon realize I’m obsessed with playful learning and this Ramadan I thought I’d share with you fellow mums (and dads, of course) what I’m doing with my kids to teach the Arabic letters and eventually read the Quran.
All the activities and games can be used to teach almost anything, including the Arabic and English alphabet, numbers, words, concepts, sight words and more. You can adapt the activities to target any language, especially if your kids are struggling a bit. With time being uber precious, I try to keep things as simple as possible – minimal effort but maximal fun!
As a Speech and Language therapist, I spend my time finding appropriate ways to teach children whilst keeping them interested, depending on their age and ability. Basically I play very clever, simple, fun games so kids will learn without realizing! My own two munchkins are a boy aged 4 and a girl aged 2. (I’ll be calling them Kai and Emm in this blog).
I definitely don’t have all the answers though, as you’ll see. I do, however think that it’s as important to share things that haven’t worked well (or been a complete disaster), as there is from success stories. And it’s fun to laugh at yourself too – being a parent can get all too serious!
Let’s start with a not so successful attempt. I took out the “kayda” (book of alphabets) and sat down with Emm who was very excited at all the attention she was getting. I presented the first letter, Alif, which she diligently repeated 10 times. We moved onto Baa and then mixed it up with Alif. She got it. I was praising her and saying “you’re such a clever little girl” and I was just as pleased as she was. I had underestimated her, as my eldest always seemed to pick things up much more quickly.
A voice in my head said “Fem, quit while you’re ahead and end on a positive note” (or letter in this case). Unfortunately the louder (crazier) voice said “but we’re having fun and she’s enjoying it, let’s do one more”. I couldn’t resist. She repeated the third letter correctly but then when mixed with the first two she got stuck… obviously. She named taa as alif – I couldn’t believe it – she had just pronounced it correctly and taa looks nothing like alif at all! It quickly went downhill from there – I could see she was becoming impatient, she was wiggling her bum, lying down, not even pointing to letters any more and my blood pressure was rising. This went on for a bit and then we stopped. I felt guilty at not being more patient (guilt is my middle name) and I should have known better than to think this would have worked.
Lessons learnt : 1. Emm needs an activity that is engaging and interesting. 2. Her attention span is approximately 4 minutes. FULL STOP.
Child’s attention span (rule of thumb) for any given activity
Attention span (minutes) = child’s age + 2 .
For example a child aged 3 years will have an attention span of 3+2 = 5 minutes.
ref: Dr Karen Holinga
Much shorter than you’d think, right? Of course there are other factors that will influence this such as difficulty of the task, appropriateness of the lesson and fun factor. A big influencer is level of alertness – if a child hasn’t slept well or is sick, then as you all know, don’t expect too much, or anything at all
I try to keep this rule in mind, as I’m prone to working on a particular activity for too long and expect Emm to stay interested for as long as Tee, which clearly won’t be the case.
Over the next few blogs I’ll go through how I break down learning into stages and I’ll share some fun activities that I do with my kids to target these stages. Hopefully you and your family will enjoy learning, as well as create lovely memories over Ramadan together.
To get started, why not download these FREE PRINTABLE ARABIC ALPHABET POSTERS A4.