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Showing posts from 2020

Teaching Toddlers : Kindness and Making Friends

For playgroup in Week 3, we focussed on the theme Kindness & Making Friends.  Our playgroup ranges from kids between 18 months to 2.5 year olds. Around this age, children start to notice other kids and are curious to learn and interact together. So this week, since we had the kids meeting regularly now for 3 weeks, we focused on learning names. Here are the lessons for  Week 1  and  Week 2  which I posted previously on this blog. We have paused our playgroup for now due to coronavirus measures in Istanbul, so I'm sharing what we did before we closed to inspire and help Moms of little kids with ideas for teaching islamic concepts since I know there isn't alot available online focussed on under 3 years olds and I had to make it up as I went along :) We always begin our playgroup with Salaam song(  Omar Hannah ) and "Nabil & Noura say salaam" each week to build consistency. Related to the topic this week of  Kindness & Making Friends , we chose these concepts

Teaching Toddlers: Bismillah

Bismillah Activity  For playgroup in Week 2, we focussed on the theme  Bismillah:  "In the Name of Allah" For Moms: By saying this before we begin anything, it is a  way of remembering and thanking Allah. It is a practical way of making us more mindful of Allah. When we get into this routine, then we remember Allah and always try to do things that please Him. We get maximum benefits from whatever task we are doing by remembering to take Allah's name before it. Aishah [R] related that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: "When one of you eats food, then let him say: 'Bismillah.' If he forgets in the beginning, then let him say: 'Bismillah Fi Awwalihi Wa Akhirih (In the Name of Allah in its beginning and its end.)" [Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1858] A simple act, such as eating becomes a source of blessing (by the permission of Allah) and an act of worship.  Additionally, various Hadith and saying from Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) show us that saying this phrase enables

Teaching Toddlers - Theme : Salaam

I was thinking about a structure for planning the content for our Muslim Mommy & Me Playgroup,  using the islamic toddler books I have at home for ideas. What I realised is that for kids under 3, the lessons have to be super simple. Instead of Aqaaidah (beliefs) or rituals, it's easier and more effective to  focus on Akhlaaq (morals, behaviour as muslims). My dear sister in law (a teacher and homeschooler) gave me a great idea to use the Arabic Alphabet as a prompt for a theme each week. So for (ا) alif, in week 1 you could do a theme around Allah. Maybe use play dough to write the letter ا etc. I may bank this one to use with my 3.5 year old, Insha Allah For playgroup in Week 1, I chose the theme Salaam.   Song: Salaam song( Omar Hannah ) and we use this every week Book : Nabil & Noura say salaam (I had it already at home) Activity : Colouring in with colour pencils (I printed a colouring in page from here ) We always end with a snack and for sunnah snack I offered date

Introducing our Muslim Mommy & Me Playgroup - first in Istanbul

Since my 3.5 year old daughter is now settling in at school, I turned my focus on finding activities or groups for my 2 year old son. With Covid restrictions, so much has changed and the options are limited and just so pricey!  We are lucky to have around us : enthusiastic moms + active toddlers + well-suited parks- put it together and I decided to start my own playgroup! And since we're always trying to find ways to inject some Islamic teachings for our kids as its not so easily accessible here, especially in the modern suburbs (ironic I know!), I've positioned it as  "Muslim Mommy & Me" Playgroup - the first English based one (that I am aware of) in Istanbul Turkey.  The aim is to introduce little kids to key islamic concepts and morals in a fun, social context. We meet outdoors at a local park and I bring along books, art supplies and snacks. Sample Format  🤸🏽‍♀️ exercise (3 mins) 📚 Circle time : salaam song , salawaat  Book/+song (15 mins) 🥒 Sunnah Snack (

Kemerburgaz Kent Ormani Istanbul

There is alot to discover at this amazing park in Gokturk,  and you will probably only be able to see it all if you have a car. We travelled by taxi (Progo to be precise), and therefore covered what we could on foot- with 2 strollers (2 toddlers under 4) It took us 20/25 minutes to get there by car. We spent 5 hours and probably could do with more. Entrance fee is 15TL per car, and more for minibuses etc. As we entered on foot since we were dropped off, there was no charge. (however costs added up with all the rides and activities- see below!) To eat: There are plenty benches located in the forest and around the park if you want to bring your own food for a picnic. You could camp out for the day! There is also a Beltur restaurant selling breakfast items (till 1 pm) and then a lunch menu including pasta, kofte, sandwiches as well as drinks and desserts. It overlooks the green open field so it has a great setting and prices are reasonable. Being in Nature: There is plenty of open green s

Review : Polonezkoy Zoo -The Ultimate Guide including pics and prices

O verall:   A great day out for the family to get a healthy dose of animals and nature away from the city. Not a place to go out of your way for if you're for tourist - but ideal for us animal-deprived Istanbullus! There are aspects I am not so keen on like some animals being enclosed. However, as I understand these animals can no longer survive in their natural habitats and are therefore being kept here as a way to preserve their lives- at least that the view I am going with :) Entrance fees and details: They open at 9am at least during August when we visited. It was super quiet at 10am when we arrived but picked more by midday. 50TL adult, 30TL kids over 2. There are discounts for older people. Under 2 is free. Duration  of visit :  6 hours (2 adults, 2 toddlers under 4). We did 10am-16:30pm including naps, lunch and snacks.There are different sections to enjoy so you could structure your day best suited for little legs, the weather (its open and hot), and also meal times. There

Beach Review : Tirmata Beach Club -Kilyos

As many families in Istanbul, we have been on the prowl looking for "safe" family fun day options to enjoy the summer amidst the risk of Coronavirus. We came across Tirmata beach club in Kilyos as a good option for a beach day as was shared on my local Mom's group. We had fantastic day there yesterday and here is my review and info. Covid measures: Standard- temperature check at the entrance, masks worn by staff, masks mandated for guests in certain places (but not enforced). Chairs placed apart with some distance. Markings in the restaurant about where to stand in queues. Price: 75 TL (weekend) with children under a certain age free (mine were under 4). This is in the upper range of beach club prices in the area - but we selected it specifically with the hopes of superior safety and upkeep- which is largely delivered. Taxi from Istanbul (Etiler) cost us 100TL one way, via taxi. When we were ready to leave, they called us a taxi and we waited just 15 minute

Spice up your Istanbul life: Takeaway Asian food is here!

Great news for spice lovers- after many years of having really few authentic options for Indo-Pakistani (Asian/Desi) food (especially the takeaway kind) in Istanbul, I just came across a few new places offering amazing food, delivering to most areas across Istanbul. Some are homemade family run businesses and others are restaurants. They are all halal (as claimed by Muslim owners). Here is a handy list I compiled with feedback from what I have tasted myself as well as what my friends shared with me. You can contact each place directly to get their menu details and latest offers. Heres an end to our spice-deprived days, yay! Takeaways Chicken biryani 1. Pakıstani Turkish food point Owner:  Parivish Essenyurt. Delivery  20TL. Starters, biryanis, curries, drinks. WhatsApp : 0552 532 20 91 Review: Chicken Biryani- delicious Mutton Karahi- pricey at 70TL but absolutely delicious. Samoosas (frozen) - ok, not the same pastry (purr) we use back home, but did the job Spr

Cheats Guide to setting up an Eid to Remember

If you’re thinking about how to make Eid special for your little ones, given the context of a semi or fully socially isolated Eid this year, here is my cheats guide! ⭐️🌙  Many of us are already so busy just by running our homes, and with trying to do extra prayers in this last week. So like I suggested to my friend this week- Keep it simple and you’ll come up with a great day: think treats, gifts, activity and you’re done! 🌟 Kids (particularly smaller ones), appreciate the little things, and I’m sure with a sincere intention, you’ll make a lasting impression Insha Allah ! So here’s my simplified approach to make an impact : 1. Decor 🎀 Think about buntings, posters and table decor such as labels, serviettes and my favourite - toothpick flags. Use free online printables -  @ayeina_official  have a comprehensive list so just pick and print! You could also make some simple decor with your kids as an activity together to build up anticipation for the big day. Balloons are the cheape

How I improved my duas to Allah with one easy tool

As part of my preparations for Ramadan this year, I decided to spend some time focusing on my dua, and defining what it is I would be asking of Allah during this special month. I realized that whilst dua is a daily practice, preceded by my every salaah, I have not given it enough meaningful attention to benefit from the value I could otherwise gain from it. Allah says in the Quran (Chapter 40, Verse 60): “ Call upon me; I will respond to you .” I became aware that I have not been clear and specific in my appeal to Allah, often just quickly rattling off some previously thought of requests without giving it conscious thought. To expect results, I need to define exactly what I wanted from Allah, in all aspects of my life. This way I can feel sincerer and connected to Allah with my requests. So I sat down and brainstormed all the many things I wanted for myself- and my family by using an awesome tool called “ Mind Maps.” Artist: AJacub786 This takes me back to my scho