Traditional Islamic art does not feature images of animals or humans. According to Salaam, living beings are considered part of God's realm and are generally taboo when it comes to Islamic art pieces. Islamic buildings, paintings and pottery are decorated with floral, geometric and calligraphic designs. Crafts are a practical way for kids to learn about Islamic culture. For a more educational experience, lead craft activities based on authentic Islamic art techniques.
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According to Salaam, arabesque is a form of traditional Islamic art composed of geometrical interconnected patterns, usually flower and tree shapes, that adorn buildings, textiles and dishes. Crayola suggests kids create their own arabesque art on paper plates. First, children look at examples of Islamic designs online or in books. From these examples, kids can either create their own designs on the back of paper plates with markers, crayons or paints; or they can use stencils as a guide, such as those on VectorForAll.com. For a more authentic design, instruct children to connect all shapes and fill the entire face of the plate.
Salaam states that calligraphy illustrating the Arabic alphabet is one of the most important elements of Islamic art. Verses from the Qur'an or words with special meaning may be the centerpiece of a painting or panel, or part of border components of architecture. Print off Stanford University's Arabic alphabet chart and provide a copy to each child. Kids can create their own colorful piece of art on paper using their favorite characters. Also, the Islam Channel recommends kids make their own alphabet chart on a piece of construction paper or cardboard. First, children write the characters in pencil, trace each with glue using a paintbrush and sprinkle each with glitter powder. Another option is for kids to paint their name in Arabic characters on a tile or panel. With your help, children can try to figure out their name phonetically or use an online translator, like the one on Firdaous.com.
Ramadan is a month-long Islamic holiday, where Muslims fast during daylight hours. With your help, children can create crafts out of clay to celebrate. To make the clay, mix 1 and 1/4 cups of flour, 3/4 cups of water, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and 1 and 1/4 cups of salt. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut out or form Ramadan shapes. Submission.org recommends making mosque or "fanoos" (Ramadan lantern) designs. Place the shapes on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow shapes to cool. Paint clay pieces using a variety of poster paint colors. Apply a coat of craft varnish once the paint is dry.