Cardboard Home Telescope {Tutorial} Plus {Review}

This recycled cardboard home telescope began it’s life as two paper towel rolls. We added some reading glasses and paint to make a homemade telescope just like the one Sadiq, the protagonist from Sadiq and the Desert Star, used to help him look for stars.

Sadiq and the Desert Star is a new book by Somali American Siman Nuurali and illustrated by Anjan Sarkar. It was published by Capstone and they recently sent me an advanced copy to enjoy.

My daughter read the story, and had lots of questions about Berbera, Somalia, where Sadiq was from. We learned it is a coastal city and was the most important place of trade in the entire Horn of Africa. Sadiq’s grandfather used the desert star to guide his caravan trips through the Sahara Desert.

After we spent some time learning about Berbera, my daughter gathered supplies to start her telescope right away. She wanted to see if she could really see Mars, just like Sadiq and his friends at the observatory.

Supplies

The first step my daughter took in making her own telescope is to cut one of the paper rolls lengthwise.

She took the cut paper roll and placed it inside the other tube.

Next, I helped my daughter pop out the glasses from their frame and she taped one to the end of the cut paper roll. She made sure to place the curved side facing the tube.

Once that end was secure, she did the same to the other end, but this time she made sure the curved side of the glass faced away from the cardboard.

Next we painted the tube with cardboard paint. You can use any paint you want, but we thought it might be fun to use chalkboard paint so that we could use chalk on the tube to write down what we saw.


We had a bit of a problem trying to paint over the tape that attach the glasses. I think when we make more telescopes for our upcoming space club, we will have everyone paint their tubes before taping on the glasses.

Now our telescope was ready. We wanted to take a photo in the daytime to show you what it looks like, but please never, ever use your telescope to look at the sun. This is dangerous and could really hurt your eyesight.

While she did love this book overall, she was confused as to why Sadiq’s mother and sister were wearing the hijab in the kitchen. Her own grandmother and aunt, who wear the hijab everyday, always take it off when they come home.

My daughter did love the facts about Somalia that was included, as well as the new Somali terms she got to practice. For example, in Somali, a grandfather is awoowe, but in Libyan we use jidu. I also loved the glossary in the back for the astronomy terms, plus the sections that encouraged kids to talk about and write down their thoughts about the book.

There are more Sadizq books coming out and my daughter can’t wait to read them:

To check out our other reviews of books, with craft tutorials, visit

Meet Yasmin {Book Review}

Naji and the Mystery of the Dig {Book Review}

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see hundreds of books lists and tutorials that teach about the Arab world and Muslim culture.

Pakistan Straw Topper Flag {Tutorial} Plus {Review}

I was recently sent the picture book Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly, from Capstone Publishing.

This fictional tale is about a spirited second grader named Yasim, who lives with a multi-generational Pakistani American family.  She has adventures as an explorer, a painter, a builder and a fashionista.

I took the book to my story time at the library and it got a room full of thumbs up. Everyone that attends is in age range of 4-6, so the book was perfect since the author suggests a range of 5-8.  I read them the chapter on  Yasmin being a painter.  We then talked about times we were in art class when we feel that we are not any good.  The kids loved that there was a person just like them, who feels that way about their artwork too.  It was such a great discussion about how art allows you to make mistakes.

While reading the story, I returned to talk about the word “jaan” in the chapter.  Yasmin’s mother says it to her and I shared the appendix in the back with the kids to show them what it means, life, and is used as a term of endearment in Urdu. I also showed the kids another page on Pakistan facts and a recipe for lassi, a yogurt drink.

When I got home, I shared the book with my teen, who wanted to try to make the lassi.

She had a little fun with the straw, by adding a Pakistan flag, based on our previous moon & star straw toppers.  There is an image of it in the back on the Pakistan facts page. The flag is a green field with a white crescent moon and five-rayed star at its center, and a vertical white stripe at the hoist side. Since the side of the flag is white, when she drinks the lassi, the clear straw also turns white.

The drink recipe only took a few minutes to make and was so yummy.

Lassi Ingredients

3 cups plain yogurt
2 cups milk
ice cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

My daughter placed the ice in a blender first.

After crushing it, she added all the other ingredients.

After everything was pureed, we placed it in the refrigerator for a few hours to get cold.

While we were waiting for the lassi to get cold, we made a Pakistan flag with a few simple things we had around the house. Including a fun bottle of fabric paint I received as a Plaid Ambassador.

Supplies

Green felt
Fabric paint
Straw
Paintbrush
Scissors

My daughter started by cutting out a small flag shape from the green felt. It measured approximately 2 inches by 2 1/2 inches.

My daughter then used the scissors to cut out two slits for the straw to fit.

She used the fabric paint to create a stripe on the side of the flag, covering up the slits she just cut.

My daughter used the smallest brush we had, to create a small crescent moon and star shape on the side.

Once the Pakistan flag straw topper was dry, we used it to drink the cold lassi.

What a fun book Meet Yasmin! is and we are so happy to try a new drink.

Check out other book reviews that include crafts on the education page. Visit these other easy, multicultural kid recipes.

Eid Party Fruit Snack {Recipe}

Ramadan Man’ousheh Mini Bites {Recipe}

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see more fun tutorials.

Honey and Date Bee Cake {Recipe} Plus {Review}

I was recently sent the book Aishah Learns to Bake by author Latifah Peerbux,‎ and illustrator Nurul Ruqaiyah Ahmad Maliki, from Almaurid Books.

 

This adorable book is about a little girl name Aishah who helps her mum make a cake. They start to play a guessing game, where her mum gives her hints of ingredients they’ll need. She explains how Allah (God in Arabic) made each one, from the bees that give us honey to the dates we eat during Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. Along the way, there are silly illustrations of a cow standing on top of a cake and clocks that move way, way toooooo slow across the page.

 

Once all the ingredients are mixed, Aishah learns how things are baked. When her father comes home, she is able to share with him all steps and reminded him to say Bismillah an Arabic phrase that means ‘in the name of God, before he tried a bite.  The book includes a recipe and instruction on making honey and date cupcakes.

 

We got all the ingredients together this weekend and tried our hand at turning the cupcakes into the cake that the cow is standing on. We had to go to two different stores to find caster sugar, as it’s not a common item in our local community, but everything else we had a home.  My middle daughter also wanted to try her hand at fondant, so she tried a bee outer shell. A full list of ingredients and measurements are in the book.

Since this book was written in the United Kingdom, some of the measurements were written in metric, so we had to figure out how many dates we needed to pit (3 ounces). We spent some time looking at metric conversion charts and the history of the metric system, which is very different than the customary units we use in the United States.

 

After we had gathered everything, we placed the pit less dates in the food processor for a few minutes.

We added the dates and 3 tablespoons of water in a pot and placed it on the stove, till boil.  This allowed it to become a paste before we set it aside to cool.

While the dates were cooling, we made the cake batter and the fondant mixture. Tip: We made them in separate bowls but at the same time because they shared a few dry ingredients. Just make sure to keep them apart!

We baked the cake batter into two pans. Tip: Inserting a toothpick when you pull it out tells you if the middle is baked.  If the toothpick is dry, the cake is done, if the toothpick is wet, place the cake back in the oven for a few more minutes.

While the cake was baking and cooling, we divided the fondant batter into two batches. We added the yellow food coloring to one and the black to the second. We used the same toothpick to help control how much to add. And have a few sillies of our own while baking.

To be honest, the black ended up more of a grey, but that’s okay. We set them aside to work on layering our cakes.

We added a layer of the date paste to the bottom cake but didn’t spread it to the edges, leaving an outer circle.

In a side bowl, we mixed the honey buttercream icing and added it to the outer circle before adding the second cake layer. We spread the extra around the edges before adding the fondant.

We flatten the two balls of fondant and laid the yellow over the whole cake. Tip: It is easier to place on the cake to cut, rather than try to cut it flat.  We then cut the black into strips.

We added a little extra black to fit around the edges. This is a great time to sneak in a lesson in math and angles.

My daughter rolled up a little extra ball, turned it into a cone shape and added it for a stinger.

The true test came in the taste and it got a thumbs up from all of us, even the little five year old boy my oldest happen to be babysitting.  He not only finished it all, he wanted to know if it was okay to have a second piece since “it healthy.” (I said no, but sent an extra piece with his mom when she came to pick him up)

 

I am so excited to try this book out at my next story time with the kids at the library since my own youngest enjoyed the story and the cake.

 

Be sure to check out the book Aishah Learns to Bake from Almaurid Books or ask for it a your local bookstore, library or Amazon. Stop by to visit the activity kit too!

 

 

Visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest for more of our adventures in the kitchen or the Education Resource page for hundreds of books for Muslim children.