Ramadan and the Moon

Can you imagine not eating or drinking during the hours of daylight for a whole month? Well that’s what Muslims across the world will be doing during the month of Ramadan. For 2014, Ramadan starts on 28th June in the UK.

The Islamic calendar is based around the moon and so for them the day starts at sunset. The start of Ramadan is determined by the first sighting of the new moon of the ninth month so the first day of Ramadan can vary depending on where you are.

Ramadan is not only a time for fasting, but it is also a time for prayer, charity-giving, self-evaluation and spiritual growth. It is considered a very holy period, as the first verses of the Koran (Qu’ran) were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad during the first third of Ramadan.

If you want to know more about Ramadan then visit the BBC Ramadan page.

Ramadan for Children

Children are not expected to fast throughout this period you’ll be please to hear. But there are activities you can do with young children to help them to develop an understanding of Islam and learn what Ramadan is all about. Good Tree Montessori has a list of 30 activities which range from making moon shaped biscuits to a good deeds calendar.

Developing an Awareness of the Moon

The moon is a beautiful object that is a constant companion to the earth. It influences our tides and in early times it protected us from some of the heaviest bombardments from space.

Throughout the month the moon appears to change shape and is visible during different times of the day. You’ll see a new moon in the early evening, and as its orbital position changes relative to the sun, it fills out, eventually becoming a full moon. This is when the moon is opposite the sun with the earth in the middle. Then it gradually becomes thinner again.

Look for the Moon During the Day

The moon is sometimes visible during the day though it is quite pale and not always easy to see. If you want to see it during the day the best time to look for it is within a week or so of the full moon. Before it’s full it will be visible in the afternoon and after it’s been full it will be visible in the morning. All you need is a clear sky. Children will get excited if they see the moon during the day, so if you do spot it, make sure you show it to them.

Print the Moon

A fun project to do with the children is printing the moon. Simply adapt the Sun Print project I talked about a few weeks ago. You could cut up the polystyrene circles into the different phases of the moon and make a whole display.

For more moon facts visit:

http://starchild.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/StarChild/solar_system_level1/moon.html

http://www.primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/moon/facts.htm

http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/space/moon.html
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