I just wanted to share a few basic games that we have been using lately for Islamic Studies and Arabic.
The Name Game
Materials: Flashcards with the Names of Allah.
Objective To help memorize the Names of Allah.
I make up flashcards as we go, adding new Names as we learn about them. Before we play, if we decide that it is time to learn some new ones (I ask the kids if they think they are ready, of course I can tell by how well they do when we play) and if so, I select Names from the Names of Allah book . Usually we add around 4 at a time but it varies. I read about those Names in the book and we briefly discuss how knowledge of this Name is helpful and how this characteristic of Allah impacts their lives.
Next, it’s just a simple flashcard game. I have 4 kids that play. In turns, I flash a card to each one (one side has the Name of Allah and the other has the English translation; at the present the Name of Allah is written in transliteration, but I hope to redo the cards and use Arabic text as well (one of the three cannot read Arabic fluently yet). We play to a score of 20, each correct answer gets a point. In the first half of the game (til someone gets to 10) I flash the Name and they guess. In the second half, I flash the translation and they have to give the correct Arabic Name. If a person guesses incorrectly, then the others have a shot at answering.
This game is really effective for us, Alhamdulillah. The kids (9 to 13) always look forward to playing the game. We usually play at least a couple of times a week and we are about up to 23 Names right now. During the play of the game, I try to inject little reminders about the Names here and there and how they impact their day/life.
Who Done It?
We use this game to practice Arabic (currently past tense verb endings). We play it in a similar fashion as the Name Game by me calling out a past tense verb and they tell me which person (he, she, I, etc) did it, based upon the ending they hear/see. I just call out the verbs now, but I think it will be more effective if I make flashcards for this as well.
We don’t play this as often as the Name game, but I am thinking the addition of the flashcards will make this game easier because right now I just call out the words so there’s some lag time as I think of what words to call out. The kids do not have to know the meaning of the verbs, they just listen/look at the endings. However, I think that I will use my batch of verbs from the conjugation worksheets at TJ and have them learn the meanings of those as well (thinking aloud here, lol).
Islamic Calendar Time
Ok, not a game, but we’re doing well with our review of that Alhamdulillah. Three of my four middles know the days of the week in Arabic and one knows all the Islamic months in order. I wanted to share a handy way we learn the months. Some of the kids have a hard time, so this is what we do: At the beginning of the new Islamic year, we learn the first month, Muharram. I just go around asking them throughout the day, what’s the first month. Then, when the next month rolls around, we add the second month. Now, they are responsible for saying the first two months in order whenever I quiz them. Then, the next month, add on the third, continuing until all the months have passed, in sha Allah. This way, they don’t have to remember a whole bunch of months, but learn them slow and steady.
We did this this year, and so now we are on Rajab, the current month (7). (This also works well with the English calendar as well). We do a daily/semi daily calendar time and the first thing we do is go through the months. I ask each child to name the months we have learned so far in order. If they forget, I do a little routine where I call out the names in a rhythmic fashion, two at a time and take a step for each I call out (hard to explain but its catchy) and then we repeat the sequence 10 times with them repeating the names as I call them. It adds some spunk to our review time and sometimes the kids join me in the “action.”
We go over other concepts such as days of the week and important events in the Islamic calendar. We don’t end up doing this everyday but we usually are able to do it several times a week. Another helpful thing that I don’t do as often as I would like, but have done in the past, was to have the kids write the current date daily, this reinforces the months as well if they are writing them everyday in sha Allah. I’ve been wanting to do an Islamic daily journal which would require them to write the date and then respond to a daily Islamic prompt. I used to do this with my older daughter, which she enjoyed, so in sha Allah, I’ll pick this up in the future………………………
These are just a few things that we do to make learning fun.