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How to While Away a Winter Sunday Afternoon with the Kids & Teach a Little EQ at the Same Time

1. Take care of the birds.

First spend some time learning about birds. Check out the bird photo library (http://birding.about.com/library/weekly/aa020100a.htm). Download free kids kit "Learn about Backyard Birds" (http://www.birdfeeding.org/kids.html). Go here (http://birding.about.com/cs/kidssongs/index.htm) to learn bird songs and calls.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Learning how hard the winter is on birds and helping. Appreciating your own warm house with plenty of food and companionship. Gratitude.

2. Next make some food for the birds.

Never feed birds spoiled leftovers, salty snack foods or sugary cereals, and never chocolate (it contains theobromine which is toxic to birds, dog and cats). Only use peanut butter if you mix it with seed. Alone, it could choke a bird. Different feed attracts different birds. Learn about it here (http://birds.cornell.edu/pfw/AboutBirdsandFeeding/BirdFoods.htm).

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: That not everything is good for everyone [thing] to eat. Taking time to prepare something nice for the birds. Intentionality, empathy, teamwork, interpersonal skills.

3. Decorate a tree in the back yard with the food for the birds.

Take pine cones and coat them with peanut butter. Then roll it in birdseed. Then hang them from the tree branches.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Putting love in what you do. Going the extra mile. Innovation - how are you going to "hang" those pinecones? Make a spiritual celebration as you decorate the tree.

4. Tuck a child under each arm and curl up in front of the fire with some good books.

Here are two fitting ones: (1) “Lights of Winter: Winter Celebrations Around the World,” by Conrad. (2) “Snowflakes: Winter's Secret Beauty,” by Rasmussen and Libbrecht. Written by a physics professor, it has stunning photographs of snowflakes all ages can enjoy.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Learning about winter and multiculturalism. Learning what you can see under a microscope. Extend the learning by asking the children what other very tiny things around the house might look different under a microscope, dust for instance.

5. Now that you know all about snowflakes, how about making some of your own?

Get out the scissors and paper, take a look at “Easy to Make Decorative Snowflakes,” and you’re on your way. Hint: My Grandmother used to let me pin them to the curtains with straight pins. I thought that was a pretty cool way to display my work.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Creativity. Trying something new. Taking pride in one's work. Completing the task by displaying the work and then cleaning up!!!!!

6. With any of these experiences, let your child write about it and submit it here (http://www.osweb.com/kidzkorner/writeus.htm).

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Emotional expression, sharing with others, patience.

7. Go to the local art museum with a Winter Theme in mind.

If it's February, choose Valentine’s. Look all through the museum for paintings with red in them, or couples or that show love. Then come back to the house and make some creative Valentine’s. If it's March, choose March winds, and look for photos exhibiting the wind. This would really be a learning experience since we know “Mr. Wind” only by his effects.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Art appreciation, right-brain, symbolic thinking. The "energy" of colors and how they make us feel.

8. Buy the children the disposable cameras, or use your digital and have a “warm” photo project where you go through the house photographing things that are “warm.”

There should be some differences of opinion and some interesting discussions, i.e., colors are warm, appliances are warm, Mommy is warm, the fire is warm. End with a picnic around the coffee table in the great room, with hot cocoa and marshmallows and the meringues you’ve made (see below).

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Symbolic thinking, empathy.

9. Make some snowball cookies to go with your treats.

On this site, http://www.himonkey.net/cooking/pavlova/index.html , follow the directions for the Pavlovas, only make them round-shaped. If you skip the berries, they’ll look like snowballs. Then put together a winter puzzle, such as Mystical Realms Winter Rose Puzzle ( http://tinyurl.com/39dov ) - from the fine art series.

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Teamwork, fine art, working together toward a goal.

10. Dance!

A Child's Celebration of Dance Music" really hits the spot. "Disco Duck," Ba ba ba Ba Barbara Ann," "Shake a Tail Weather," Wooly Bully" ... don't stop us now!

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE FOCUS: Laughing, dancing and being silly -- an end in itself!

Submitted by:

Susan Dunn

© Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach™, http://www.susandunn , is the author of"How to Develop Your Child's Emotional Intelligence," http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html. She offers coaching around emotional intelligence for parenting, relationships, career, and resilience. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for free ezine. To receive daily tips about EQ, mailto:EQ4U-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.





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