Key Theme: Citizenship
In an environment in which Muslim discrimination is at an all-time high and in which presidential candidates openly share Islamophobic rhetoric, how can parents respond? The goal of this activity is to: (a) help children appreciate their role -- as Muslims -- to improve the welfare of their communities, and (b) help children appreciate their ability -- as Americans or Canadians -- to participate in government.
And, once you finish, share it with us! One lucky member will get a special, limited-edition, signed, children's book (that you can't even buy anymore!) from Noor Kids.
Ages, Time, and Material:
Children must be 4-to-8 years old and either American or Canadian. Activity will take 1 hour. You will need: wide-ruled notebook paper, construction paper, pencil, glue stick, envelope, and postage.
Part One - Video [5 Minutes]
Watch this video with your child. In the video, a boy has written a letter to President Obama about Syrian refugees. The purpose of the letter is to help children understand that when he or she writes letters to their government representative, the individual will read it.
Once the video is completed, have a discussion with your child to bring home this idea that when we see problems in our country, one way we can try to address them is by writing letters.
Part Two - Story + Qur'an [20 Minutes]
Read the story, "Not My Park," from the book Agents of Change. If you aren't currently a Noor Kids member, you can sign up and get this title for free by clicking here.
After reading the story, focus on the following question: is it our job, as Muslims, to help solve problems in our community?
Use Qur'anic ayat 13:11 (Indeed, Allah (SWT) will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves) and 99:7 (So whoever does an atom's weight of good will see it) to discuss the importance of doing good and improving our communities.
When discussing these verses from the Holy Qur'an, actually take out the physical Holy Qur'an and read these verses along with the translation to help children build a culture for this practice.
Part Three - Writing a Letter [25 minutes]
Most children between the ages of 4-and-8 are familiar with the Islamophobic rhetoric that is being circulated during this year's election season. In this part of the activity, we will be writing a letter to the future president. If you are Canadian, you'll be writing a letter to the current Prime Minister, as the elections have already occurred. If your child doesn't know what an "election" is or who the "president" or "prime minister" is, this would be a great opportunity to educate them.
Gather the notebook paper and a pencil. On a table, ask your child to write a letter to the future president (Americans) or current prime minister (Canadians). If your child cannot write, have the child dictate and you can write for them.
Include two parts in the letter: first, introduce yourself to the president. What is your name? Where do you live? What do you want to be when you grow up? Second, what do you want the president to know about Muslims? Are you worried about how Muslims are being treated? Why are you worried?
Once complete, glue the notebook paper onto a piece of construction paper.
Part Four - Snap, Seal, & Send [5 Minutes]
Upon finishing the letter, snap a quick picture and share it on the Noor Kids Facebook Page or e-mail us at email@example.com. We'll post it up for others to see. Also, one participant will get a signed copy of "School is Out for the Summer," the limited-edition first book we ever published (a book that is no longer available anywhere)!
For Americans, address the envelope to:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20500
For Canadians, address the envelope to:
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Be sure to include your return address. Often, the President or Prime Minister will send a reply in the mail as well...and kids love getting mail -- believe us, we know :-)
While a lot of people will see this activity, there will perhaps be few that will actually complete it. This activity is an important one, because it helps children, at a young age, appreciate their ability (and religious obligation) to participate in their community.
How did the activity go for you? Share your thoughts below!