Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2011, Holiday Gift Guide: Best 10 Toys, Games and Books That Spark Fun and Encourage Language Development

Today I am announcing our Top 10 List of PAL Awards for 2011. These top 10 toys, books and games reflect a select group of products that have the chemistry to develop language and while delivering great play. The PAL Award is  the toy industry’s only program focused on products distinctly featured to encourage a child’s language development while delivering great play.


Southport, CT November 14, 2011

Contact: Bob Artemenko, Playonwords CMO 203-526-9990

“Sherry is an important guru in the world of kids’ products. Her insights across a wide spectrum of child development issues run sharp and deep. In addition to her impressive media presence, she has a speech and language pathology background.” Andy Forrest, Principal Forrest-Pruzan Creative, Disney Inventor of the Year, 2010

Sustained interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko to a unique subset of the best toys, games and books that have the chemistry to develop language while delivering great play. Today, Playonwords is announcing the Top 10 picks in each product category. Each set of “Top 10’s” represents their PAL category out of the 100 winners in 2011.

Providing parents and educators with the TOP 10 PAL Award Picks for 2011, takes the guess work out of gift giving for the holidays. Each product has been tested and reviewed by Sherry and her team of parents, kids and educators. Observing kids in action, combined with her critical eye for language potential, Sherry awards products and writes insightful reviews offering practical tips on how to maximize the educational value in each winner. Many parents and educators find PAL’s winners and play ideas helpful throughout the year on Sherry’s blog,

Uniquely understanding how the interplay of new toys and healthy play can advance language development is what distinguishes the PAL Award. Sherry’s expertise has been tapped in interviews with NBC Connecticut, The Chicago Tribune, Time To Play, MomTrends, and Scholastic Instructor.

For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or just about cognitive development, it’s about going deep on both. Her expertise has been built on science and more than 15,000 hours of client experience. Each set of Top 10’s represent a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common, they are trusted lists of fun products that educate through play.

TOP 10 TOYS – From Ark to Zoo, from sand boxes to secret agents, great stories and vocabulary building abound

  1. Doodle Roll by Imagination Brands Co., LLC
  2. Duplo My First Zoo by Lego
  3. Earlyears Baby Tea Party by International Playthings
  4. Madeline’s Pet Hospital Playset by Paddywhack Lane LLC
  5. My Animal Farm Playset by Rubbabu Inc
  6. My Take Along Noah’s Ark by Playmobil
  7. Quercetti Magnetino Carry-On Letters by International Playthings
  8. Sand and Water Fun Farm by Step2
  9. Secret Agent Headquarters With Alarm System by Playmobil
  10. Wooden Whimsey Blocks by ALEX toys

TOP 10 GAMES – Riding trains, flying planes and hunting treasure will keep grammar going and prepositions popping

  1. Buzz Blast by Discovery Bay Games
  2. Chuggington’s Traintastic Cargo Game by I Can Do That! Games
  3. Dabble by INI, LLC
  4. Flashwordz by U.S. Games Systems, Inc
  5. I Built It! Memory Match + Tic Tac Toe by Games Under Construction I Built It! Games
  6. Mermaid Beach by Gamewright
  7. Richard Scarry’s Busytown Busy Busy Airport Game by I Can Do That! Games
  8. uKloo Early Reader Treasure Hunt Game by uKloo
  9. Who Am I? by HABA
  10. Where Is Sock Monkey? Board Game by Cardinal Industries Inc

TOP 10 BOOKS – Alligators with attitude, artful amphibians, splendid spotted snakes inspire magically descriptive words 

  1. Art and Max by David Wiesner
  2. Beach Is To Fun: A Book of Relationships by Pat Brisson and Sachiko Yoshikawa
  3. Chirchir is Singing by Kelly Cunnane and Jude Daly
  4. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
  5. Hands Off, Harry! by Rosemary Wells
  6. I’m Not by Pam Smallcomb and Robert Weinstock
  7. Say Something, Perico by Trudy Harris and Cecilia Rebora
  8. Scritch-Scratch a Perfect Match by Kimberly Marcus and Mike Lester
  9. The Splendid Spotted Snake by Betty Ann Schwartz and Alexander Wilensky
  10. Sea of Dreams by Dennis Nolan

 To see the entire list of 2011 Playonwords PAL Award winners: Click her

Each holiday season millions are spent on kids’ toys, games and books. These PAL winners above are not only great fun, but also encourage rich language development. Think “tastes like ice cream, fortifies like spinach,” optimizing your toy purchases to build language while maintaining every bit of fun. Now’s the time to be intentional about your child’s toy chest, game drawer and bookshelf! was founded by well respected speech language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko, a 35 year champion of language driven play. Her esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and helpful tips to parents set her apart as a leader advocating the language component in toys.

Over 15,000 hours working directly with children has shown her that a unique subset of the best toys, games and books have the capability to develop language while delivering great play. Studies show:

• • •

Kids with highest IQs at three, had the most words at one and two

Language learning is cumulative – early words  early sentences  language and reading Most kids maintain their verbal advantage through childhood

Sherry established the PAL Award to identify unique toys, games and books that through their design, quality and character, encourage play that advances language. PAL winners in the hands of kids, spark fun and creative play with lots of talk. Such toys, recognized on the basis of her child development expertise, are complemented by practical coaching in her blog, showing parents how to get the most from toys, games and books to build language and underlying cognitive skills.