Thursday, March 31, 2011

Parents and Children


The Pencil and Eraser

The following came in my email.... it was so beautiful that I was compelled to blog about this. Please share your thoughts.......

PENCIL: I'm sorry

ERASER: For what? You didn't do anything wrong.

PENCIL:I'm sorry because you get hurt because of me. Whenever I made a mistake, you're always there to erase it. But as you make my mistakes vanish, you lose a part of yourself. You get smaller and smaller each time.

ERASER:That's true. But I don't really mind. You see, I was made to do this. I was made to help you whenever you do something wrong. Even though one day, I know I'll be gone and you'll replace me with a new one, I'm actually happy with my job. So please, stop worrying. I hate seeing you sad.

 Parents are like the eraser whereas their children are the pencil. They're always there for their children, cleaning up their mistakes. Sometimes along the way, they get hurt, and become smaller / older, and eventually pass on. Though their children will eventually find someone new (spouse), but parents are still happy with what they do for their children, and will always hate seeing their precious ones worrying, or sad….However our parents are getting smaller and smaller each day…One day, all that we would be left with will be eraser shavings and memories of what we used to have. 

Allah, Most Wise admonishes us

"Thy Lord hath decreed that ye worship none but Him, and that ye be kind to parents. Whether one or both of them attain old age in thy life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say: My Lord! Bestow on them thy Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood." (Quran-17:23)

If the above wasn't enough to bring tears to the eyes....the following video made me cry........ parents..... do we fulfill their rights? 

I read a beautiful article on Muslim Matters ......on UNCOMPARABLE LOVE....... click here to read .... and DO read.

Our Dearest Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) said: 

"Your Mother, Your Mother, Your Mother and then your Father


"Ya Allah make us steadfast and give us Istiqamah, strengthen our hearts and protect it from the evil whisperings of Shaitaan the accursed. May we be from the ones who can earn Hasanat (good deeds) by serving our parents, Enable us to be a source of Sadaqa e Jariah for them as they are our gateway to Jannah" Ameen

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Experimenting with Copper

Experimenting with Copper Pennies 

After our penny cleaning and penny polishing activities, our second penny experiment came from

Following the instructions of Chemistry Fun with Pennies we did the following:

Materials needed:

10 Pennies (We used a medley of pennies, namely the US 1 cent, Canadian 1 cent and the Euro 1 cent.)
1/4 cup white vinegar (dilute acetic acid)

1 teaspoon salt (NaCl)
1 shallow, clear glass or plastic bowl (not metal)
1-2 clean steel screws or nails

STEP 1: Soak the pennies in a Vinegar and Salt solution for half an hour.

STEP 2: Take out half of the pennies, rinse them and leave on an absorbent paper. Take the other half of the pennies and leave them on an absorbent paper without rinsing them. Mark the coins and leave them for an hour 

STEP 3: DONOT throw away the salt and vinegar and place 2-3 nails and screw in the solution. Try and place one half dipped in the solution and the next half out of it. Leave it for a half to 1 hour. We left ours for an hour till all the reaction stopped.

OBSERVATION: withing a few moments the reaction becomes visible as tiny bubble appear on the surface of the screws and nails, as visible in the above picture.

Half an Hour Later

 We noticed something very fascinating Subhanallah!

Click on the below images and see the enlarged image. You can clearly see the bubbles rising up in a straight line from the screws.


We also noticed that the nails and screws in the solution had become slightly discolored.

An Hour Later

All reaction had stopped completely, and this is how the nail and screws looked.

The half dipped screw.

All the screws and nail.


The copper that coats the nail/screw comes from the pennies. However, it exists in the salt/vinegar solution as positively charged copper ions as opposed to neutral copper metal. Nails and screws are made of steel, an alloy primarily composed of iron. The salt/vinegar solution dissolves some of the iron and its oxides on the surface of the nail, leaving a negative charge on the surface of the nail. Opposite charges attract, but the copper ions are more strongly attracted to the nail than the iron ions, so a copper coating forms on the nail. At the same time, the reactions involving the hydrogen ions from the acid and the metal/oxides produce some hydrogen gas, which bubbles up from the site of the reaction - the surface of the nail or screw."

What about the coins?

The rinsed ones looked the same while the salt and vinegar ones held a surprise for us. See for yourself.

 When we flipped the coins over we could even see the oxidized coppers green color on the absorbent paper.


"Rinsing the pennies with water stops the reaction between the salt/vinegar and the pennies. They will slowly turn dull again over time, but not quickly enough for you to watch! On the other hand, the salt/vinegar residue on the unrinsed pennies promotes a reaction between the copper and the oxygen in the air. The resulting blue-green copper oxide is commonly called 'verdigris'. It is a type of patina found on a metal, similar to tarnish on silver. The oxide forms in nature as well, producing minerals such as malachite and azurite."

After all these activities we found that best results were achieved by not just vinegar but vinegar and salt solution. I found a very good explanation for it here.

"According to Dr. Rosenhein, salt (sodium chloride) plays a very important role in making a copper chloride complex. Salt breaks down into sodium ions and chloride ions and it is the chloride ions that form a surprising complex with the copper ions (specifically the Cu+1). It is also well known that a mixture of lemon juice and salt does a good job in removing tarnish from metals and works very well on pennies. By themselves, the salt and weak acid do very little in the way of removing the coating of copper oxide on the penny, but together these ingredients make a great cleaning agent."
source:Steve Spangler Science

In fact, that introduced us to another experiment.

According to a friend of mine they did it at their home and got the best results with Tobasco sauce...hmmmm interesting...

WOW! Chemistry is many things to discover so many possibilities. Subhanallah!

Penny Polishing

Penny Activity for Lil Muallim # 2

Penny Polishing

As soon as Lil Muallimah got the penny pinching activity, Lil Muallim # 2 wanted his own penny activity too. So I made a penny polishing tray. Now when Lil Muallimah saw it she wanted to an equal share in it too.......So here's the tray penny polishing tray with two toothbrushes, one for each.

You need: an old Tshirt or small towel/wash cloth, a small container holding 1/4th cup vinegar with 1 teaspoon salt (dissolved), a bowl conatining teh dull pennies, a tooth brush and another bowl to hold polished pennies. I got the for how to set the tray from here.

Before starting make sure the salt is completely dissolved in the vinegar. 

Then take one penny at a time, dip the toothbrush in the salt and vinegar solution and rub the pennies over an absorbent cloth. to avoid mess.

You needn't worry about getting them excited about this activity. A few rubs will start showing the difference... and the kids will be full of ooos and aahs marvelling and getting super excited. Akhumdolillah.  

Once the penny is polished with the salt and vinegar solution from both sides, have the child rub it dry with a soft towel or rag from an old  T-shirt.

Voila!!!! Shiny Pennies........

Food for  thought: How dirty do coins get going around in peoples hands... eewww

If you like this activity you may be interested in doing it with an older child at a different level.

 Check out Penny Cleaning

and Experimenting with Copper Pennies

Umm Umamah's Message Board


I apologize to all those who were trying to leave a comment on my blog and just couldn't!

 Jazakallah to all sisters who took the trouble of bringing my attention to it, or I wouldn't have known. Turns out I had messed up the settings. I finally fixed it last night. So please do leave a message to a post you like. I would LOVE to hear from you. 

Umm Umamah

Sensory Tubs # 1


I saw sensory tubs for the first time at Counting Coconuts and simply LOVED the concept. Only when I made my own, did I realize the potential of this medium. It's a great activity for toddlers and can be worked around in so many ways.

It not only gets the kids excited but also invites them to talk about the things they are touching, make stories and let their imagination run wild. While exploring this activity, their reactions and enthusiasm made my mind race with so many other possibilities. 

For now here is our 1st Sensory Tub experience:

Our first sensory tub was very basic and we played with it at different levels as I was exploring the concept with my kids.

Level 1

I Spy


I asked:

I spy with little eye something that is round and soft
I spy with little eye something that is light green and hard
I spy with little eye something that fixes hair 
etc etc

Lil Muallimah enjoyed answering the simple riddles and her eyes glowed when she picked the right thing.

She even made simple stories like:

The rabbits eating the lentils and the pom pom is on the flower 
The trees top is falling (referring to the cactus:):))

Then Lil Maullimah started moving her hand inside the tub that made think of :

Level 2


I poured in some more lentils and covered everything. Then I told her to find the lost objects.

Lil Muallimah looking for objects

She had soooo much FUN doing this. She would find something and tell what it is and then pull it out with a shining face happy with her accomplishment. Mashallah!

Level 2

Find it!

Third time round I told her to move her hand around and find only the thing I described. This was an added sensorial activity with the sensory tub as, she had too feel and find what I had asked for. She really played like good sport in this one. She only pulled her hand out when she felt she was sure she got it, which she did most of the times Mashallah. And when something else popped out of the lentils, she quickly hid it back under lentils with an Oops!  

Here are all the things she found till there were none left .......... and then did it all over AGAIN!!!! :)

Lil Muallim # 2 thought this was a very COOL activity, and he begged for one for himself, So I made one for him too, with a boyish theme. :) hahaha!

I played with Lil Muallim # 2 a little differently

Level 1

List it!
(a memory game)

For List it! I first made Lil Muallim# 2 count how many objects there were. Then I gave him a minute to look at everything closely, and try to remember them.

Then I covered everything with more lentils, and asked him to list all that he could remember. Could he remember all of them?

Level 2

Find it !

This time round Lil Muallim # 2 had to find the object I described. It was  great practice of attention and patience. Every time I asked him to find something he found other things, which he quickly pushed back.. He couldn't wait for me to ask for the particular things that kept popping out, which I didn't till the end. Watching his enthusiastic face was a treat for me :):):)


I found a very cute idea for Sensory Tub for Babies too.

Since our first attempt I have played with other ideas too. Will be posting about them soon Inshallah! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Lego Fun # 1


Lil Muallim #2 built a community with his toys as we were working on Community and Community Helpers. I will be sharing all we did in another post soon Inshallah.

For now I am sharing the pictures of our Masjid, a very important part of our community.

Lil Muallim # 2 tried very hard making one with his own mind. He made the basic structure but it kept breaking when he added more to it. So I helped him finish it. He was very pleased with the end result. Alhumdolillah.

I also discussed the Community Helpers we could find in a Masjid with Lil Muallim # 2. 

I asked: "Who do you see as a community helper in the Masjid when you go for Salat with Abi"

He said:

  1. Imam (who leads the Salat)
  2. Muadhin (who calls out the adhan)
  3. Cleaners (people who clean the Masjid)
  4. Pizza man (who brings Pizza at the Masjid's kids events....... 

We will also be reviewing Ahadith about building Mosques, Aadhab of Masjid, Adhan, Muadhin, Imam, Salat in Jama'h etc So look out for the next posts in this series.

You may also like our previous Lego Masjid picture which I posted about in our Ramadan 2010 post.

Salah Charges Us

Time for Battery Charging

I saw such a cute post on The Muslim Homeschooler blog today. It is so cute that I couldn't resist posting about it too.

It reminded me of a power point presentation I had seen some time ago on SUJOOD.......Prostration. Click  on the image to see the Presentation.

Salah does really charge you in so many ways. Another cute aimation illustarting that is below. (But, I wish they didn't show musical notes around the alert persons head....:(....wish they had shown dhikr) 

SUBHANALLAH ..............!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Reading Readiness

Reading Readiness - Sight Words


Lil Muallimah doesn't know all her letters and their sounds perfectly but can read the names of colors and color accordingly . To know how she got there read on.

As I mentioned in an earlier post that for all my kids I used the following cards to teach them names of colors as sight words.

"I never felt the need to TEACH colors to my kids. I feel this is one of the things that just happens naturally with time. Kids eventually learn color recognition through their environment: their clothes, toys, food and so much more. After that is established, here is a method I used with my older kids too. I wrote names of colors on index cards with the corresponding .color.  I used these cards in different ways".

Color Cards Method # 1 

As flash cards

Once the kids know their colors I would show them these cards one by one and they would say the name of the color. So while the kids named the color through recognition they unconsciously absorbed the spelling too. I never had to teach the spellings of colors to my kids when it was time for them to write it. They just did it. 

I am still using the cards from when Lil Muallim # 1 was toddler Alhumdolillah

Color Cards Method # 2 

Matching  Colors

Lil Muallimah really enjoys this one Alhumdolillah. She takes out one colour name card from the tub, puts it down,says its name, finds the corresponding color foam, places it on the table and them places the colour name on it. She is all smiles with each match Mashallah Tabarakallah!

Another way of doing it!

Using color matching printables. I got the following from abcteach

You can read in detail about this activity here.

Color Cards Method # 3 

Matching Objects

All small odds and ends around the house come into play for this one. I make a basket loaded with bottle caps, marker caps, bands, beads, small toys etc etc


You can read details and variation of this activity by scrolling down  to this activity in this post.

Color Cards Method # 4

Matching Color Name

This is my favorite, because it clearly shows the transition from abstract to concrete with reading readiness.


She wanted to do it again and asked for airplanes...

This time she did not even try and match the cards with the word. She just looked up and colored the correct color. Mashallah.

Color Cards Method # 5

Recognizing Color Name in any Print Form

"For this one, all  my kids showed a different way of doing it (depending on their learning styles) but the results were the same. Perfect recognition of color words in any print material. Alhumdolillah"

Lil Muallim # 1 did it with phonic sense (this made him mix up black and blue at times as they both started with b)

Lil Muallim # 2 isn't too crazy about phonics, so he figured out his own way of reading them. He seemed to pay more attention to the size of the whole word and/or other visual techniques, for eg. red is a small word, yellow is a big word, green has two ee's etc  

Lil Muallimah ....... I will wait and see how she progresses.



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