Do you want your kids to love the Qur’an? Do you want them to look forward to attending Qur’an classes? One of the most frequent complaints I hear from children is that they find the Qur’an boring. Upon listening to their objections, I realize that the source of their boredom and frustration lies in their parental figure/mentor/teacher having no idea how to be an effective teacher. These children share with me what many adult versions of these kids vent to me about: As adults, they want to love the Qur’an, they want to read it, but they have a psychological barrier they cannot surmount because for them, the Qur’an reminds them of being yelled at, being forced to sit in a corner and memorize words they never understood, mean teachers who never smiled, parents who were angry because they did not memorize well enough, and never any fun.
Yes, we must teach our children how to respect the Qur’an, but respect does not necessitate solemn experiences. We want our children to LOVE the Qur’an; we want them to grown into adults who find the Qur’an to be their best friends. To help develop that relationship, sometimes the best way for children to find the Qur’an meaningful is to build a relationship with it as they build relationships with friends. Through play, games and activities, children develop bonds with one another; why not allow them to experience the same fun and exciting friendship with the Qur’an?
The following are suggestions on how to teach the Qur’an in fun and exciting ways. The curriculum was created for the awesome Camp Izza, a camp in which children often entered Qur’an class saying, “This is the first time I find Qur’an fun!” and, “Finally!! Time for Qur’an class!” Understand that Qur’an class was being compared to a full day of games and activities, so these statements are quite weighty. To learn more about Camp Izza please visit www.campizza.com.
These activities are geared towards children memorizing smaller portions at a time and whose ages span from elementary through early middle school. Adaptations may work for older children. A modification for children not yet in elementary school is mentioned at the end.
Party for the Quran!!!
Objective: Get kids SUPER excited about the Quran and loving it.
Needed: Any materials desired for the party.
Suggestions for pre-party: Have a conversation about why the Quran is amazing, what it is and why we love it. Excitedly share that we will throw a party for the Qur’an. Help kids think of ideas to make the party fun. Ensure kids are doing most of the talking and that the parent/mentor/teacher is only facilitating the discussion.
Pre-party Activity Suggestions: Have kids draw pictures for the Quran. Encourage them to be as creative as they desire. Put pictures up around the room. Kids who finish drawing can get into groups and put together a skit/song/anything else they creatively think up for the Qur’an. Put up decorations, buy party food/dessert, play nasheeds, etc. Buy small bubble containers kids can use to blow bubbles around the room.
Once kids are all ready, have them hide in different places of the room to “surprise” the Quran as it walks in.
Party Time: Parent/teacher/mentor should stand outside the room with the Qur’an, knock on the door and say, “The Qur’an is coming in!” As it walks in with the parent, all kids shout, “Surprise!!!” and blow bubbles around the room to welcome the Mushaf. The Mushaf should be walked around the room so all kids get to interact with it by blowing bubbles on it and feeling excited about seeing it. Then, have all groups perform what they prepared for the Qur’an. This is a GREAT way to get every age group super excited about the Qur’an, insha’Allah (God willing).
Quran Freeze Tag
Needed: Open area, Players, Qur’anic verses
Following the traditional game of freeze tag, one or more individuals are picked to be “it” and chase the other players in the game. If someone who is ‘it’ tags another player, that player must stand frozen in place. The person who is tagged should stand frozen with their hand held up high so other players know they need to untag him/her. When someone comes to untag the frozen person, the frozen person must recite the portion of the Qur’an they are working on memorizing for that period to the person who untagged them. During this time, none of those deemed ‘it’ are allowed to touch either of these two players and can only chase them again after they have finished and are back in the game. Players should all hold papers containing the portion of the Qur’an they are working on memorizing so that they can read it when untagged.
(Note: This game is better played if the portion of verses are not too many or difficult for the kids to recite. Before the game begins, parent/mentor/teacher should recite the verses with the children or give them some time to practice so that by the time they play Qur’an Freeze Tag they will already know how to recite the verses on their own. Provide slips of paper with the verses written on them so the kids can keep them in their pockets or in their hands so they can look at them when they are being unfrozen.]
Qur’an Hot Potato:
Needed: Stereo/MP3 player/speakers + nasheed, Item to be the ‘hot potato’ [ie: Ball]
One individual to control the nasheed, Players
Sitting in a circle, players listen to a nasheed while passing around a ball. Someone should be controlling the nasheed and stopping it at random. This person should not be looking at the circle as to ensure the process remains random. Players in the circle pass around a ball [or any other item] while the nasheed plays. When the nasheed is momentarily stopped, the person holding the ball in that moment is out and must sit in the “Pot of Awesomeness.” When someone gets into the “Pot of Awesomeness,” those remaining in the circle should say vigorously pound their fists on the floor twice while shouting, “Subhan’Allah (Glory be to God)! Subhan’Allah!” The person/people in the “Pot of Awesomeness” throw their fists in the air and scream back, “Allahu Akbar (God is Great)! Allahu Akbar!” (This is an essential part of the game to help ensure those who are “out” still feel like they are a part of the game and are able to continue focusing on the circle even when they are out of it.)
The game continues until only one person is left in the circle and that is the round’s winner.
After every round, recite the verses being practiced for that day as a group one or more times. If there is more than one surah (chapter) being memorized by players, have each group recite their verses sequentially and encourage all players who previously have memorized the verses to also join in and recite. [Provide slips of paper with the verses written or keep the mushaf in a nearby area.]
Subhan’Allah- Subhan’Allah- Alhamdulilah [Wet/Dry versions]
Needed: Open space, players. For wet version: Bucket with water and bean bag balls to absorb water.
Following the traditional game of “Duck Duck Goose,” this game has players sitting in a circle with one player walking around and tapping the heads of other players. The person who is ‘it’ walks around the circle and as they tap each head, they state, “Subhan’Allah,” until they eventually pick their target and shout, “Alhamdulilah (Praise be to God)!” The person who is ‘it’ and the target then run around the circle, the target chasing the person who was ‘it.’ The person who is ‘it’ must sit in the spot of the target before the target tags them. If the target tags them, the person who is ‘it’ must sit in the “Pot of Awesomeness” (See “Quran Hot Potato” for more details). Every time someone enters the “Pot of Awesomeness,” all players recite the verses they are memorizing. If there are few people entering the pot, the game may be stopped every five minutes to recite the verses all together. [Provide slips of paper with the verses written or keep the mushaf in a nearby area.]
Once the person who was ‘it’ either sits in the “Pot of Awesomeness” or in the previous spot of the target, the target now becomes the person who is ‘it’ and the game continues until all players have had a turn or until time is up.
To play this wet on hot summer days, have those who are ‘it’ grab a bean bag ball absorbed in water and squish the water on top of each player’s head or on top of the head of the person they choose as the target.
Quran Dodge Ball [Wet/Dry versions]
Needed: Open area, Players, Balls, Demarcated lines or items used to demarcate lines.
Wet version: Bucket with water and bean bag balls to absorb water.
Following the game of traditional dodge ball, players form two teams on two different sides of the lines. Once the game begins, players throw balls at other players with the objective of getting other players out. If the ball hits the body of a player on the opposite team directly, without bouncing on the floor, that player is out. If the player on the opposite team catches the ball thrown at him/her, the thrower of the ball is out. This continues until all players of one team are out and the other team wins. For wet version, use wet bean bag balls to hit players.
After every round (or every few minutes), have all players recite the verses they are memorizing as a group. [Provide slips of paper with the verses written or keep the mushaf in a nearby area.]
Qur’an Water Gun Blast
Needed: Open area, players, water guns, and water bucket/source for re-fills
Kids are divided into two different teams. They chase each other and shoot water at the opposite team members. If they squirt them directly in the chest/stomach area, the person shot is out and sits down in a side area. This continues until all members are out from one team and the other team wins. After every round (or every few minutes), have all players recite the verses they are memorizing as a group. [Provide slips of paper with the verses written or keep the mushaf in a nearby area.]
Note: For Younger Children:
Games will depend on the dynamics of the kids. The above games can work, but if there are very young kids, alternatives range from having children color or play with blocks, dolls, etc., while listening to the short surah being memorized in the background of the game. Before campers engage in any activity, have them recite the words they are working on for that day. Then, have them listen to the surah simply as they play. You will notice them eventually making out the words and reciting it in the background as they engage in their playtime. Stop them from time to time to recite the words again as a group and individually.