Apologies for a long absence. Alhamdulillah, as usual, we have been super busy getting on with life. Children have pursued new interests and hobbies since the last time I wrote.
Playing nature detective and studying bugs, trees, plants and all sorts of insects have been their passion lately. Also, birdwatching is at the top of their daily to do list. SubhanAllah, I have a little chuckle to myself thinking “What a typical British thing to do” lol. They are always making posters about either one of the above topics. For example, Sumayya knows the names of more than 20 odd birds and made a poster on “How to spot a bird and how to identify it” using Microsoft word by inserting the pictures of the birds where necessary. This was done completely on her own initiative without help by anyone. Hence, we were impressed with her effort, mashaAllah.
I got a family membership to RSPB about two months ago. We received the initial welcome pack with gift sets, books, maps and nature detective’s diaries- all have been so helpful to take on kids’ interests further. I find the RSPB’s “Nature’s home” magazine so interesting and the children’s version “Wild Times” is engaging and full of hands-on activities. Sumayya wrote a letter and drew some pictures of nature which she sent to the magazine characters penguin and woodpecker. She was super excited to receive a postcard with a message from both on two separate occasions. Yesterday she wrote another set of letters, but this time included some jokes which made me smile when I read (not because they are funny, because of her composition and how it did not make any sense. But she thinks it is funny, all of them are about birds btw). I would highly recommend to join RSPB to anyone whose children are interested in becoming nature detectives or simply appreciates things in the nature.
In addition to receiving quarterly magazine individually for each child and adults in the family, you will also get annual ticket to allow you free entry to more than 1400 RSPB nature reserves up and down the country. I have been planning to take them to our local one for ages but never got around to materialize this intention. InshaAllah, when Allah wills it to happen, I will write a post on how the day has been. For now, we have been to local reservoir next to our house a couple of times the past week. It was great to walk through the woods, have picnic at the top and walk down by the lakeside. Alhamdulillah, the full circular walk took us nearly 2 hours with breaks and picnic in between and none was complaining of low energy (especially little I who is only 2.5 y.o)
I have also bought them a Children’s Microscope that comes with a set of everything needed to use a microscope (tubes, pincers, magnifying glasses). Alhamdulillah, children have been spending a lot of happy hours gardening and have used their microscope a few times there too on their own initiative. To be honest, I no longer have time to supervise their every single activity as I have so much running around to do, cleaning, cooking, washing clothes or folding them away, feeding/bathing baby S or tending to I’s needs, or visiting my neighbour (who has spent 2 weeks in hospital recently) etc. So, when they want to do something they will come and ask me. Thereafter I will have to watch them every now and them through the kitchen window overlooking the garden or shout a few questions from a distance to make sure they are acting sensibly.
Sumayya asked me to buy her a binocular which was advertised in adult magazine “Give Nature A Home”. The prices were between £200-2000. The particular one she wanted to own was £649. I never knew binoculars could be so expensive. So, I said to her frankly I will not be spending so much money on binoculars at this moment. Perhaps when she is much older I will think about it again. Her response was “Well, I will fund raise then you can buy me”. So, she spent a couple of days sorting her very own cupboard where she keeps some of her gifts received up today on eids or other occasions from family and friends: bangels, hair clips, hair bubbles, scarf pins and even a stone that she painted herself. She put them all in one box today and decorated the box. On the very top she wrote the message “For sale, please buy these for £1, 50p and 20p” and carried this box to work with a jar full of changes totalling £1 in case people would need change. Me and grandma had such a good laugh when she was not present lol. To my surprise, she manages to sell a few items at 60p each to her friends after lessons and explained them she was trying to raise money to buy a binoculars. And that she would be bringing more items to sell until she makes the amount required lol. MashaAllah, what a determined child (which comes with its *disadvantages*, of course, at times when she keeps arguing with us)
I would like to finish on emphasizing how children love and appreciate being outdoors when they are younger. They have innate nature to observe the simplest things around them: how the leaves are falling, how the birds are flying, how the trees are moving or how the flowers are blossoming day by day. It is when we do not take the time to listen to their interests, it is when we do not take them time to allow them be outdoors, it is only then they may simply lose this love. As they grow older, this genuine love for nature is replaced by other materialistic things. For example, I am often startled to notice in the classes where I teach that some kids find it amazing to look at a beautiful flowers and find so much comfort and joy by simply talking about colours or the smell. I can sense the gratefulness and joy in these kids. Whereas other kids walk past straight and even if I mention the topic they find nothing so attractive about the simplest blessings we can be grateful for surrounding us. I find building on the love for nature is also a great way of connecting children to their Creator by being grateful and appreciative the beauties Allah has made for us on earth. Now, make it weekly mission to go out at least once a week with your children, be it a local park, playground or your own back garden. Go out, look around and enjoy being outdoors while doing some dhikr inshaAllah.