I spotted these mini lantern keychains on the Eidway table at the ICNA bazaar and I knew my kids would love them. The kids received them on the first night of Ramadan along with other decorations and art supplies. They quickly tried to hang them up and I got the idea to make these beaded hanging lanterns.

This type of lantern, also called a fanous, commonly decorates homes and public places during celebrations. It’s especially typical of Ramadan decorations. It originated in Egypt, but can be found all over. During Ramadan, Muslims eat only at night and also stay up late (sometimes all night!) to pray and read Quran, so there’s a functional reason for the pretty lights.

For our project I gave the kids an assortment of beads. Some were left over from my old projects or broken jewelry. We also had a box of these great, sparkly plastic beads from Target.

I used to make beaded jewelry so I already had the pliers, wire cutters, and beading string. If you don’t have all that on hand, you could of course just use a strong cord or string. I removed the key ring portion and just attached the beaded strand.

If you’ve never done beading with your kids, I really recommend it. It’s a great way to explore their creativity, patterns, symmetry (or asymmetry). Plus it builds fine motor skills that are so important for writing. Even little M was intrigued by the “balls” and their shapes and textures. (She also enjoyed throwing them across the room. True life.)

I put the hanging lanterns in their little nook, which is actually a little space in a closet, which reminds me that I probably need to do an updated home tour.

This activity sparked more beading this week. R made some necklaces and Z made gifts for his nature center class teachers and classmates. We have big plans to use beads in some of our Eid gifts too!

Have you ever done any beading? I got into it when I was in elementary school. We used to go to this hip, little shop that was covered with bowls of glimmering treasures that we would pick out and then have the staff help us make a necklace or something. I’m kind of excited to start doing more with my kids.

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