Put-Ups & Put-Downs: Teaching Kindness with Playful Learning

Playful Learning, Oh My Handmade, Put-ups and Put-downs

For our May theme I am sharing a sponsored post and giveaway every week that is creative, collaborative, and community focused as a little gift for us all to celebrate our grand opening. This post for our sponsor Playful Learning is the second in the series, find the first post here & check back at the end of the month for a post on my 3C’s of marketing that led to these collaborations!

Playful Learning, Oh My Handmade, Put-ups and Put-downs

Encouraging children to be playful, creative, kind, and feel like they make a difference is hugely important for me and is what my work with communities was focused on in my pre-OMHG days. When Mariah of Playful Learning approached me about working with her to help share the launch of her new online academy for children and her first e-course on Put Ups & Put Downs I gave her an enthusiastic YES! What I didn’t expect was that reviewing the course would help my daughters change their relationship with each other and give us all language and tools for talking about hurtful words that have changed our lives in just a couple of weeks. Put Ups & Put Downs is a simple but profound lesson about how powerful words are and how each of us can choose to use that power to make the world a little brighter or turn around a hurtful moment into a hopeful one. If you have children in your life who you want to help grow into strong, confident, creative leaders this post is for you! Let’s watch the trailer video together and then I’ll tell you about how using this lesson has impacted our family in the best of ways.

Last week when Chris and Sela went to pick Ila up from school she was in a terrible mood. She pushed Sela away when she tried to hug her and yelled at her when she tried to hold her hand. An hour later Sela screamed at Ila and threw toys at her in frustration. When we all sat down as a family to talk about what was going on Ila told us, “A big kid gave me a put-down today, I was telling my friend a story and big boy told me I didn’t know anything.” After talking it out she said “I just spread the put-downs to Sela didn’t I? I was acting just like that mean boy so I’m going to change Sela’s day to a put up story just like we did for Susie.” And she did. She asked Sela to play a game, used gentle words, and they ended up snuggling into the couch to read books when five minutes before they were at each others throats. This ability to change tracks instead of the day just getting crankier and crankier has been thanks to the two girls having a shared language to express how they are feeling instead of just reacting to each other.

Playful Learning, Oh My Handmade, Put-ups and Put-downs

The new Playful Learning Ecademy uses Instructure to offer a fully interactive experience for parents and kids, the website is easy to navigate, user friendly and Ila had no problem logging in, finding her courses and printables, or adding her own video comments in the private classroom area. We all fell in love with the children in the videos and all the materials were presented in a way that was accessible and relevant to Ila and Sela. Chris and I got a new vocabulary to start talking to the girls about their conflicts with each other and I was really impressed by how rapidly Sela took to the language and started using it right away. A few hours after our first dive into the lesson when Ila yelled that she couldn’t use a toy Sela clearly said, “that was a put-down Ila” instead of denying it or arguing like she would have before Ila agreed and apologized. They resolved and transformed the situation all on their own with no intervention from the big folk.  It made me aware that the sooner we teach our kids to identify and speak out about words and actions that hurt them the more confident they will be about communicating when things don’t feel good as they grow older. Dealing with put downs as adults is still hard and hurtful but for kids it can change their entire lives (watch this Ted Talk from my old Vancouver poetry slam stage buddy Shane Koyczan if you have any doubts). The scars we pick up as kids can define us and even if I can’t protect them all the time I want to give my girls the tools to stand up for themselves and each other.



I also want them to develop a friendship based on love and trust by starting at home with these lessons of kindness and taking them to heart for myself when I catch myself yelling or being dismissive. Sweet though they look in these pictures they have been fighting and bickering a lot since Sela turned 3 and wasn’t a cute little baby anymore-as an only child who idolized the idea of a sister this has been hard on my fantasy of what it would be like to parent them! So this course has been helpful for me to support them in changing their snaps to sweeter words. Watching them stop and change their behaviour without Chris and I intervening has been empowering for them and amazing for us as parents. I’m so excited to be working with Mariah and Playful Learning in the future and helping her spread the playfulness to children and families around the world that I’ve already organized times next month to share the lesson with Ila’s class and Sela’s daycare.

Playful Learning, Oh My Handmade, Put-ups and Put-downs

Playful Learning, Oh My Handmade, Put-ups and Put-downs

The lovely Mariah has offered one OMHG reader a spot in the Put Ups & Put Downs course along with a gift certificate for the class so you can share the experience with a friend. Entering is sweet and simple, just leave a comment below with your thoughts on the new Playful Learning Ecademy, OR a playful learning moment with the child(ren) in your life OR an experience as a parent or educator where this lesson would have made a difference by May 30th (winner announced May 31). 

This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to Beth Swan with comment #6 (winner chosen by Random.org)!

This is just the beginning for Playful Learning with so many courses in the works to nurture children’s sense of play, social responsibility, love of nature and more so be sure to connect on Facebook or Pinterest and find projects to inspire your little ones on their wonderful blogI can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this new community and support this resource for parents and caregivers!


  1. Cindy S says:

    This is exactly what I’m looking for with my two kids! It seems like a great way to encourage the type of behavior I want them to have!

  2. Kristi says:

    What a great experience you had Jessika! This seems like it would be a great tool for our family. Our little darling would benefit from some extra ways to react in conflict situations at school.

  3. Sarah (sarahjanesroom) says:

    Sounds like something that would be helpful for our girls – we’ve read the “Have you filled a bucket today” book which helped, but I like the “put-up” and “put-down” language.

  4. Rebecca says:

    This sounds like a wonderful course! This lesson would have made a difference in helping my boys negotiate conflicts with each other and others.

  5. Cinnamon says:

    Oh this would be such a gift to win. I grew up in a yelling family with many siblings, absent parents, and a very poor support system. Now, with my two young ones, I try so, so hard to not use the nasty tone of voice and put downs I grew up with, but am frustrated at my inability to come up with another way! (And now my 5 year old girl is starting to sound just like me when she talks to her little brother, which is so disturbing because I can see clearly that my efforts to provide a different childhood are not working.)

    I used the Learning Spaces book when I set up my children’s room, I would love to use this course as a way to set up good healthy habits for our family!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with us! The patterns we learn as kids are so hard to break out of and they come up again and again once we become parents. I also grew up in a yelling family where words were used to hurt and I am still learning new ways of teaching my girls & myself about how to change the story. This course will definitely get your little girl telling you when something feels like a put-down and I’ve found nothing helps me switch tracks more then realizing the words coming out of my mouth are not the words of my heart. I love this quote from Tom Robbins “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood” I believe it is true for us & for our little ones!

  6. Beth Swan says:

    I would love this! Making my boys closer to one another for life is the best gift I can work towards. Long after I kick the bucket, they will need the skills to be able to nurture relationships through the thick and thin!

  7. Jenelle Montilone says:

    I would love to try this ecourse & learn more about the activities with my 2 boys- because we’re a homeschooling & close family there are certainly times when we ALL could learn to use soft words and better effectively communicate our feelings clearly. Heck yeah to more >put ups< in the world for big & small people alike!

  8. Lorisa Zazulak says:

    This would be such a benefit to me as a mother and as an early childhood educator. My whole class could us this. Wow, what a changed classroom I would have.

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