It’s spring–I think! New flowers, new buds, and new toys. I have tested so many new products for the PAL Award in these past few weeks that I want to share some favorites that stand out for having the potential to build language skills. Here we go:

Faber Castell Creativity Can girlThe Big Creativity Can by Faber–Castell. I set this tub of fun in the middle of table and watched 3 sisters aged 6, 7, and 9 go right to their projects after examining the clay, wheels, stickers, styrofoam shapes, wiggly eyes, feathers, bells, pom poms, paper grass, mesh tubing and more. They were busy in their own corner making a hot air balloon and “salsa dancer” (pictured to the left) as well as a bouncy toy. They offered advice, asked for help holding pieces as they stuck them together and showed off their creations. There is plenty in the box to make up a toy, figure or animal or object but you can also offer household items like paper towel rolls, or oatmeal boxes to stretch the imagination. Do it in a group and listen to the language. Here is my full review.

Let’s Make Pom Pals Pom Critter Kit by PomTree. Phew! That is a lot of “poms” but this tub of fun is filled with several sizes and colors of pom poms, wiggle eyes, foam shapes, felt stickers and chenille stems to make your animals. No glue is necessary as little squares of double-sided sticky tape keep your pal together. This make and play craft quickly turned into some wonderful creative scenarios as the pom pals came to life.  Open-ended play that relies on the child as director,  encourages language development as kids make up the format! Here is my full review.

Playful Chef Deluxe Cooking Kit by MindWare.  Kids learn the language of cooking, as they tie on their aprons, follow the color-coded directions for measurements, and learn about cooking gadgets and  fun facts about ingredients. (I learned a thing or two also!) The 14 kid-sized tools are nice quality, especially the flexible star cake pan which was a hit.  This child-parent/adult activity makes it special as kids learn their way around the kitchen. Here is my full review.