, established in 2003 by respected speech pathologist Sherry Artemenko, announces its first 2011 PAL Awards (Play Advanced Language) given to 21 new toys and games.

The highly selective PAL Award recognizes toys, games and books that, by design, content, quality, and character, engender play that advances language.  PAL Award winners are unique among a myriad of quality toys in that they more naturally and consistently encourage speech in everyday play. The PAL awards are announced throughout the year on

“I’m constantly walking into well-stocked playrooms devoid of language toys. Parents need input on how to recognize a toy that draws language out of a child and how to use that toy,” explains Artemenko.  “A train set without a conductor or passenger misses the opportunity for dialogue.” In addition to best speech science practices and creative play strategies, Artemenko identifies for parents the toys, games and books with enough “chat factor” for meaningful play.

Artemenko’s 30 years of experience in the school system and as a private practitioner, empowers her popular blog,, a trusted resource for parents, teachers, therapists and toy manufacturers. She’s a frequently quoted expert in various news outlets including the Chicago Tribune, Time to Play, and News12 Connecticut and has been a contributor to Parents’ Choice.

The PAL awards are announced on, featuring reviews tailored to language strategies. Criteria for the award include: opportunities to describe multi-sensory characteristics and actions for infants, flexibility for open-ended play and discussion, fosters interaction, dialogue, and story telling, inspires imagination and creativity and encourages pre-reading skills and critical thinking

Early language proficiency correlates with later performance in school—reading, writing, and critical thinking skills—and influences emotional, cognitive and social growth. From a baby’s first coo, a toddler’s words, a preschooler’s little sentences to storytelling, children progress in their ability to express feelings, successfully connect in social situations, solve problems and make good decisions.

To see the list of 2011 PAL Awards and reviews click on Award Winners here.