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!
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.
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.
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 blog. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this new community and support this resource for parents and caregivers!