Today I shared 8 of our Top 10 PAL Picks for 2013, Holiday Gift Guide. Here are some favorites we featured on our segment today but be sure to check out all of our Top Picks below for easy holiday shopping!

Play On Words LLC, led by highly respected speech therapist Sherry Artemenko, announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks for 2013. This recognition is the toy industry’s only program directed by a credentialed speech-language expert recognizing the language learning edge in exceptional toys, games and books. Distinguished by unique design, quality and character, these PAL winners can generate rich play that advances language. Sherry’s 35 years of child development experience with over 15,000 hours working with kids empower her PAL selections, popular blog, private practice and media appearances.

The word for My Top 10 PAL Award Picks for 2013 is flexible play. These winners can provide hours of fun and learning as kids reconfigure the toy, play with it in a new way and construct new scenarios.  Parents and grandparents have told me they put the list on their phone for shopping!

Fairy Tale Blocks by PLAN Toys (3 and up, $30 ) Click here

  • kids set up scenario for happily ever after–create castle, turret, carriage pulled by horses, moat, and towers.
  • blocks have a hint of their purpose but are open-ended for creative play and changeable stories: 1 piece  became a bathtub, top of turret, and swimming pool in a child’s story
  • prince and princess add element of people and dialogue, ever changing story

Walk-A-Long Snail by Hape ( 1 and up, $30) Click here

  • Goofy, buggy eyed- snail tags along behind a toddler, while his shell rotates and comes off for some shape sorting play.
  • Good baby and toddler toy should provide a lot for parents to talk about, modeling the language of colors, shapes, position words, and action

HABA Puppet Theater (3 and up, $130) Click here

  • invited 3 sisters over, an explosion of talking when I unveiled this–they grabbed their own puppet and started the dialogue
  • Easy set up  transforms into a shop with 2 boxes to hold fruits and vegetables, cupcakes or money…flip the sign to say you are open for business!

New York City Christmas Puzzle by Ravensburger (14 and up, $19) Click here

  • puzzle is multigenerational activity
  • great way to invite conversation with teenagers

Smartmax Tommy Train by Smart Toys and Games  (3 and up, $23) Click here

  • Trains so popular with kids and take on language learning with face, animated
  • Kids were constructing and changing their train so fast, experimenting
  • magnetic bars and balls attract and repel,
  • compatible with other sets

That’s It! by Gamewright (10 and up, $10) Click here

  • Great party game or learning tool for teachers
  • 200 topic cards, players shout out answers until they get the one named on card
  • “What gets backed up?” sewer, plumbing….traffic
  • rapid naming of words within a category

Wonder Whale Kicks and Giggles Gym by Infantino (infant, $60) Click here

  • discovery, cause-effect, as baby kicks the whale, the sea animals wiggle
  • right in reaching area for babies to grab and explore and vocalize
  • parents describe sounds, textures, patterns and colors
  • tummy time with whale pillow and underwater filled cushion with sea animals

Smaland Doll’s House by Lundby (3 and up, $99) Click here

  • Kids rushed in the room, started re-arranging furniture and assigning roles–lights up
  • Floors and walls decorated in patterns with more options on their website to download wallpaper, newspapers, or learn how to make your own picture frame
  • Modern design of this Swedish dollhouse, takes the family through it’s day of pretend

Here is our complete Top 10 PAL Pick for 2013 list:


– Elf Grenadine’s Heart by Corolle

– Grow-With-Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit by Infantino

– Mighty Mini Band by Hape

– NogginStik by SmartNoggin Toys

– 1.2.3 Take Along Fire Station by Playmobil

– See ‘n Spin Alphabet Rack by B kids

– Stack ‘n Squirt Pals by B kids

– Trampili Elephant Music by Steiff

– Walk-Along-Snail by Hape

– Wonder Whale Kicks and Giggles Activity Gym by Infantino


– Bebe Bath and Accessories By Corolle

– Easy Turn Coupe by Step2

– Fairy Tale Blocks by Plan Toys

– Fire Station by Hape

– Puppet Theater by HABA

– Little Hedgehog Puppet by Folkmanis

– Racing Round Stacking Pyramid by Janod

– SmartMax Tommy Train by Smart Toys and Games

– Story Circus Baby Train by Janod

– Take Along Modern Doll House by Playmobil


– Alpaca Puppet by Folkmanis

– Artzooka! Recycle Sticker Creations by Wooky Entertainment

– Artzooka! Surprise Match Boxes by Wooky Entertainment

– Base Kit by littleBits

– Friends Heartlake City Pool by Lego

– Nancy B’s Science Club Microscope and Activity Journal by Educational Insights

– NYC Christmas Puzzle by Ravensburger

– Western Fort by Playmobil

– Smaland Doll’s House by Lundby

– Super Sized Floor Puzzle USA Map by Ravensburger


– Animal Soup The Mixed-Up Animal Board Game! by The Haywire Group

– Bugs In The Kitchen by Ravensburger

– Disney Jake and the Neverland Pirates Shipwreck Beach Treasure Hunt Game by Wonder Forge

– Disney Sofia the First Magical Tea Time Game by Wonder Forge

– Disney Sofia the First Royal Prep Academy Game by Wonder Forge

– Hello Sunshine! by ThinkFun

– Loco Lingo Kindergarten by HABA

– On The Farm Who’s In The Barnyard? by Ravensburger

– Skunk Bingo by Gamewright

– The Great Cheese Chase by Peaceable Kingdom


– Doodle Jump by Ravensburger

– Justice League Axis of Villains Strategy Game by Wonder Forge

– Ooga Booga by Blue Orange Games

– Qualities by SimplyFun

– Rhyme Out: The Triple Rhyming Game by Educational Insights

– Rory’s Story Cubes Voyages by Gamewright

– Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Clash Alley Strategy Game by Wonder Forge

– That’s It! by Gamewright

– What’s It? by Peaceable Kingdom

– WordARound by ThinkFun


– A Home For Bird by Philip C. Stead

– Alphabet Anatomy: Meet The Capital Letters by Linda Ann Jones

– Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

– Little Red Writing by Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet

– Magic Forest Friends by HABA

– Penguin And Pinecone by Salina Yoon

– Pig Has a Plan by Ethan Long

– Red Cat Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond

– The Ant and the Grasshopper by Rebecca Emberley and Ed Emberley

– Up! Tall! And High! by Ethan Long