Category Archives: 2018

PAL Award toys and games 2018

Large Red Barn with Animals by Schleich

As I brought the Large Red Barn into a first grade classroom I heard, “I want to play with that!” Kids came right up to the farm and got  their arms inside of it to play. The flexibility of the barn construction allowed … Continue reading

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Croco Jungle Research Station by Schleich

I was just carrying the Croco Jungle Research Station down the hall to a classroom of eager kids when students passing by said, “Whoa!!” Kids jumped right into storytelling play with hands moving quickly to operate the Crocodile’s skull cave, set … Continue reading

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Mobile Vet With Hanoverian Foal by Schleich

My eight year-old friends (one of whom regularly rides a horse) were delighted to be chosen from classmates to be able to play with the mobile vet clinic. I left them to set up their story as they putt the halter on the  horse, … Continue reading

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Bluebee Pals-Lily the Lamb-Talking Educational Learning Tool & Life Skill Companion App by Kayle concepts LLC

Lily will melt your heart. This sweet little lamb can sing your child a song, read a story or play an app with her, sharing all kinds of learning! Lily is special because she comes with a free Life/Skill Companion App … Continue reading

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Magnetic Board (Dinosaur) by Bigjigs Toys LLP

My 4 year-old friend took no time to start moving the magnetic dinosaurs and story accessories to plan his adventure. “This is a children and this is a mom,” “She’s hatching two eggs.”  Preschoolers seem to know more about dinosaurs … Continue reading

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Multi-Spout Sprayer by Hape

What kid doesn’t like water play? This little pump brings on big fun in the bath, kiddie pool or outside with a bucket of water. With four options for squirting streams of water– a flower shape, big gush, light spray,or stream–kids … Continue reading

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Moonlite by Spin Master

Kids love a bedtime story so why not add a little magic by projecting the illustrations on the ceiling in the dark, as you cozy up and read to your little one. The Moonlite inventor/Mom knows the value of reading … Continue reading

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Otrio by Spin Master

Kids and adults were fascinated with and quickly became addicted to playing Otrio which seemed simple at the start but really required great concentration, memory, and critical thinking to strategize offensive and defensive moves. What appeared to be a quiet … Continue reading

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Playful Chef Chocolate Studio and Shoppe by MindWare

 I want this for my birthday!” said my 10-year-old chef after stirring the chocolate chips, dipping pretzels into the melted chocolate and pouring it into heart moulds for his gift for Mother’s Day! He prepared the Chocolate Shoppe candy display and assembled his … Continue reading

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GearZooz GearBuddies Lion & Mouse by VTech

Who knew a mouse and a lion could be such good buddies but this mouse is one brave guy, riding on his buddy’s back. This duo uses VTech’s Smart Gear™ technology where a child can place the mouse on the … Continue reading

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Learn and Spin Aquarium by VTech

Baby can make the ocean friends spin in this self-contained aquarium by pushing down on the water spout to send the star fish, crab and angel fish reeling. Learn numbers 1-2-3 through phrases, “One crab, two starfish”  short sentences,  “Three … Continue reading

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Play & Move Puppy Tunes by VTech

Your little one will love to dance and groove along with this guitar playing puppy, who rocks as she presses the button. A mom just asked me for suggestions for her daughter who loves music and starts up her rotating dance … Continue reading

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My First Learning Tablet by LeapFrog

Kids imitate the adults in their life and that goes for “playing” with a tablet too! Little ones can explore, listen, follow directions and learn while pressing the 20 app icons that introduce numbers, letters, counting, shapes, animals, colors, weather, fun … Continue reading

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Tad’s Fridge Phonics by LeapFrog

Kids are drawn to Tad’s Fridge Phonics as they hang out in the kitchen and have a game to play while learning the alphabet! Select a letter tile, press it and learn about letter names, phonics and word skills through … Continue reading

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Bright Lights Soccer Ball by VTech

I opened the package, tossed the ball in the air and heard,  “1-2-3 here we go!” and indeed the fun had begun. A great baby/toddler gift, this happy soccer ball will entertain older siblings too with it’s encouraging phrases, songs and directions … Continue reading

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PJ Masks Super Catboy Learning Watch by VTech

Kids strap on this watch and set out to be the super hero, Catboy, learning numbers, counting, addition and shapes through games, clock faces, and a timer. Learning to tell time has never been so much fun as wearing this … Continue reading

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LeapStart Peppa Pig by LeapFrog

It’s been my experience that kids can’t put down the LeapStart because of its fun interactive activities, while they’re learning crucial skills for reading to prepare them for the classroom. Now it’s time to play with Peppa Pig and the gang. LeapFrog knows … Continue reading

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Catch! by MindWare

Gather your cooperative players to chase after that mischievous little mouse who has stolen the cat’s bowl of treats. You need to surround the mouse before he escapes under the garden fence. A fun first strategy game to play as a team, … Continue reading

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Acorn Soup by MindWare

The best beginner games for preschoolers encourage pretend play so let’s get ready to do some cooking for Squirrel. We all know he must like Acorn Soup so take out a recipe card with your toddler and point to the … Continue reading

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Chugga Choo by MindWare

MindWare’s Peaceable Kingdom has been producing some of the best preschool games to start board game play that engages a 2 year-old in fun learning. The littlest players learn beginning game play as they take turns, follow directions and complete trains. … Continue reading

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Quick Pickle by MindWare

This cute game of tossing toppings and pickles comes in a cardboard hamburger box to add to the fun. Players draw patties, ketchup, cheese,tomato, lettuce, mustard, onion and pickles and follow the directions on the card. If you are too … Continue reading

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Q Moment AR by EQtainment

EQtainment, a leader in fun, engaging, age-appropriate products to build a child’s Emotional Quotient, has just raised the bar with their new “Q Moment AR,” which is a Merge cube paired with your device using their app to help kids learn … Continue reading

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Sensory Railway by Hape

Tell your toddlers it’s all aboard this sight and sound Sensory Railroad. Hape keeps adding fun new dimensions of learning to their railway system for children 18 months and older. This newest addition provides the conductor with a slightly bumpy … Continue reading

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Kinetic Sand Beach Sand Kingdom by Spin Master

Can’t make it to the beach? Bring the beach indoors with Spin Master’s new “Kinetic Sand Beach Sand Kingdom.” Every parent and therapist should appreciate their box design that transforms into a sand box, keeping this activity self-contained. Kids have … Continue reading

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Bunchems Creativity Pack by Spin Master

As I set out the Bunchems box in a classroom, kids were begging to play with them. “My grandma has those at her house!” one little boy said excitedly. Three kids got right into constructing their characters for the story. … Continue reading

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Kruselings by Hape

Welcome to the world of the Kruselings, Guardians of the Dreams. These beautiful character dolls by Kathe Kruse have been sent out to save the dreams of the world. My little girls immediately fell in love with these dolls and … Continue reading

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Magicube Mix and Match 9 piece by Geomagworld

Kids just love to play with Geomagworld’s magnetic cubes that are light enough for little hands and so maneuverable for a changing plot to the story. We had lots of laughs as we combined heads, bodies and legs from a … Continue reading

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Magicube Story Building by Geomagworld

Magicube Story Building is a speech pathologist’s dream product as it provides 143 characters and props for the telling of  “The Three Little Pigs.” Boys and girls alike begged to play with this set of attachable clips that adhere to … Continue reading

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Magicube Freebuilding Cubes by Geomagworld

Kids pointed to the cube of 27 small magnetic blocks and said, “Can we play with that?” They quickly pulled apart the light, magnetic cubes and began to build a tower, house and castle. These blocks served as the setting … Continue reading

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Where’s Mr. Wolf? by Blue Orange Games

Kids and parents loved playing “Where’s Mr. Wolf?” as players helped the farmer get his animals back in their barns before Mr. Wolf came around. Half the fun is this darling game board that fits in the box, home to 4 … Continue reading

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My Little House by Smartfelt Toys

It’s been my experience over the last 40 years working with kids that they LOVE a play house. “My Little House” is no exception as it is little enough for preschoolers but big enough for them to get active inside … Continue reading

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Puzzle Doubles! Glow in the Dark Pirate Ship by The Learning Journey International

My 5 year-old friend was captivated by the pirate scene and glow in the dark feature of this puzzle so we started to assemble it. The scene is rich with so much to talk about as we look for puzzle … Continue reading

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Go! Go! Smart Wheels (Police Car, Truck, Helicopter) by VTech

In over 35 years of work with kids doing speech therapy, I found plenty of kids who bonded with vehicles more than play animals or dolls. Seeing a favorite truck in the crib with a sleeping toddler told me who … Continue reading

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Frog Life Cycle by Folkmanis, Inc.

“Who wants to put on a puppet show” I asked as I looked at the hands go up in a first grade classroom. My two friends came over to retrieve the Frog Life Cycle and German Shepherd Puppy puppets to … Continue reading

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German Shepherd Puppy by Folkmanis, Inc.

Everyone fell in love with his sweet face on the German Shepherd Puppy. When I asked a group of first graders who would like to put on a puppet show, he was quickly selected. One little friend slipped his hand into the … Continue reading

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Long and Tall Puzzle 123 Rocketship by The Learning Journey International

I love puzzles because they have so much learning potential and they can really draw a whole family together while they’re being assembled. I brought this long and tall rocketship to my 4 year-old friend’s house and it didn’t take long … Continue reading

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Pop Oh Ver Stove Set by Kangaroo Manufacturing

The kitchen magic starts when you open the Pop Oh Ver box, unfold the canvas stove and slip it over a chair. “Wow!” as a mom said when she first saw it. Made from fabric, buttons and thick plastic pockets this … Continue reading

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Pop Oh Ver Kitchen Counter Top by Kangaroo Manufacturing

I’ll admit that the Pop Oh Ver Counter top and Kitchen Stove were two of my favorite new toys spotted at the International Toy Fair in New York City this year. Designed by a mom of 7 the Kitchen Counter Top … Continue reading

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My Story Dolls by Faber-Castell

Just looking at these finished dolls makes me happy knowing how much fun some first graders had making them. Wishful, Happy and Goofy each have their own unique fashion style, facial expression, mood, and story to express through their outfits. Girls … Continue reading

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ARTributes by Simplyfun LLC

A game of “Describe and Draw,” ARTributes gets kids thinking about descriptive words and how to depict them through a drawing. My 7 year-old players took a turn and chose 2 adjective cards from which to draw an image depicting … Continue reading

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Code Hopper by MindWare

Want to introduce your preschooler to some computer coding with a clap, smile and jump in the air? Code Hopper cleverly keeps kids engaged as they build their pathway of bright foam mats, designing the sequence of directions requiring decision … Continue reading

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Super Kid in Training by MindWare

Kids bring toys to life and that is exactly what happened with MindWare’s “Superkid in Training.” Our 5 year-old friend opened the box and went right to putting on the super cape, wristbands and mask and started setting up her … Continue reading

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Imitator by MindWare

What does it mean to imitate? My 7 year-old friends said, “Try to do something like someone else.” They set out 12 colored photos of people and things from people walking in crunchy snow, crackling fire, and a gorilla eating … Continue reading

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WordAround 2 by ThinkFun

I know I’m not the only one who is thankful for a second round of WordAround considering all the fun we’ve had with the first edition. With 300 new words to unravel, players got busy searching for a word in … Continue reading

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GraviTrax Starter Set, Expansion Pack and Accessories by Ravensburger

When my 10 year-old friend saw the GraviTrax boxes he said, “We have this at school! It’s a really fun game, I’m gonna teach you.” And he did. After telling me how popular it was at school, he got out … Continue reading

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Make a Mat by Makeamat.com

One of the exciting times in childhood is when kids discover letters and enjoy finding and identifying them in their world. Make a Mat is a wonderful addition to mealtime as kids learn from their placemat. A child’s name is one of … Continue reading

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Rival 5 Game by Rival 5 Game LLC

Get out your math facts and strategic skills to take on opponents in Rival 5. I played with a 12 and 14 year-old who loved the game and said, “It’s a thinking game but it’s fun!” Follow the simple instructions … Continue reading

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Anomia Kids by Anomia Press

Older kids and adults enjoyed Anomia and now kids ages 5 and up can join in the word retrieval fun! Players go around the circle and draw a card to place on top of their Play Pile. Each card has … Continue reading

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CODENAMES : Disney Family Edition by USAopoly

Kids loved the Disney movie illustrations as we placed our 16 Treasure Cards in a 4 x 4 grid for the playing surface. Since our players were 8 years and up, we chose to place the illustration side up, rather than … Continue reading

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BRIO World- SmartTech Engine with Action Tunnels and Washing Station

BRIO World has just gotten tech savvy and kids love it!  We combined 3 sets that use their new interactive smart technology, “Smart Engine Set with Action Tunnels,” “Smart Washing Station” and “Smart Engine with Action Tunnels. ” Our boys set up … Continue reading

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Hoyle Super Me! by The United States Playing Card Co.

Hoyle believes in fun first in their games but “there’s always room for a lesson.” “Super Me!” had kids fully engaged in finding matches and remembering where they were in the card grid while connecting an emergency with the proper … Continue reading

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Ravensburger VW 3D Puzzle

The kids were waiting for the puzzle to arrive (“I’ve never made a 3D puzzle”) and couldn’t wait to open the box. They assembled the van’s bottom frame, wheels and axle and then started in on the 162 piece puzzle. … Continue reading

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Trap and Gap Baseplates by Strictly Briks

Strictly Briks keeps engaging kids with new creative ways to play with building bricks. The story is that their CEO remembers the fun he had as a kid playing with trap doors and extending ramps for escape, racing or parking! … Continue reading

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