Playonwords LLC Announces Top 10 PAL (Play Advances Language) Award Picks 2015, Holiday Gift Guide: Best Toys, Games and Books That Spark Fun and Encourage Language

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Respected speech-language pathologist Sherry Artemenko announces her Top 10 PAL product lists by type and category representing the only industry recognition focused on encouraging language development through great play. Parents and educators trust Sherry’s recommendations and seek her advice through her popular blog,, private practice, media appearances and articles.


PAL Top 10 Seal

Daily interaction with children guides Playonwords founder, Sherry Artemenko, to a unique set 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 PAL Picks of 2015” by age and product category. Our Top 10 Picks take the guesswork out of gift giving for the holidays. Parents and grandparents are using our list to shop for smart toys with lasting play value.

Each product has been assessed and reviewed by Sherry with input from 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 on

Our 2015 Top 10's include a number of great winners that inspire rigor in story planning, creation and presentation. Whether constructing a colorful Build & Imagine magnetic paneled playscape, producing animated features with Wonder Forge's Storymation Studio, or coding your hero's winning moves through a Digital Dream Labs Puzzlets labyrinth, kids are positioned to strengthen cognitive foundations for reading, writing and general literacy development.

Sherry’s expertise has been tapped by NBC Connecticut TV, Parents Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle,,,, ASHAsphere (official blog of the American Speech Language Hearing Association), ASHA LEADER magazine, and ASTRA’s blog, The Whoo Hoo Factor.

For Sherry, great play is not just about fun, or language 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 represents a breadth of themes and genres, but they all have one thing in common - they are trusted lists of fun products that boost learning through play.

Here are our 2015 TOP 10 PAL Picks:


  • Activity Playmat Ladybug by Janod
  • Ambi’s Fishing Boat by Galt Toys
  • Ambi’s One Man Band by Galt Toys
  • Busy Builder Wagon by BKids
  • Colors Activity Book Owl by Janod
  • ELC Toybox Pull Along Zebra by International Playthings
  • French Cocotte Trolley Cooker by Janod
  • Jungle Fun Activity Cart by Alex Toys
  • My Pram Caterpillar by Janod
  • Sit-to-Stand Ultimate Alphabet Train by VTech


  • Alex Toys Jungle Fun ABC Play Mat
  • Alex Toys My Alphabet Puzzle
  • Beauty Belongings by Hape
  • Crayola Color Wonder Light Up Stamper
  • Kids First Automobile Engineer by Thames and Kosmos
  • Magnetic DIY Trolley by Janod
  • Multikub Farm by Janod
  • Ready, Set, Shapes! by Alex Toys
  • Smart Max Click and Roll by Smart Toys and Games
  • Take Along Zoo and Aquarium by Playmobil


  • Bakery Shoppe Set, Furniture Fits 18” Girl Dolls by The Queen’s Treasures
  • Creative Play House by Plan Toys
  • Disney Imagicademy Storymation Studio by Wonder Forge
  • Fairytale Theater by Build and Imagine
  • Frilled Lizard by Folkmanis
  • Go! Go! Smart Friends Busy Sounds Discovery Home by VTech
  • Maker Studio Construction Set by Thinkfun
  • Princess Palace by Janod
  • The "Painting" Teepee by Pacific Play Tents
  • Worry Eaters by The Haywire Group


  • Dinosaur Escape by Peaceable Kingdom
  • Disney Doc McStuffins Mix Up! Fix Up! Game by Wonder Forge
  • Hucklebee by MindWare
  • Koala Capers Game by Educational Insights
  • Journey Through Time Eye Found It! Game by Wonder Forge
  • Listen to Clues by Hape
  • Resulta by Hape
  • Tangram Tales by MindWare
  • Three Little Piggies by SmartGames
  • Tiggly Words by Tiggly


  • Bid-A-Letter by SimplyFun
  • Dohdles! by Thames and Kosmos
  • FrankenWords by The Haywire Group
  • Pass the Rooby Roo! by SimplyFun
  • Pictopia: Star Wars Edition by Wonder Forge
  • Puzzlets by Digital Dream Labs
  • Rory’s Story Cubes: Batman by The Creativity Hub Ltd.
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Star Destroyer Strike Game by Wonder Forge
  • Super Genius - Reading 1 by Blue Orange Games
  • Word Speed Dice Slide by Ideal/Alex


  • A New Friend for Marmalade by Alison Reynolds
  • Ally-saurus & The First Day of School by Richard Torrey
  • Disney Imagicademy Storymation Studio by Wonder Forge
  • Max’s Math by Kate Banks
  • Mochu Says Goodnight by Kadho Inc.
  • Sleepytime Me by Fine and Denise
  • Sweet Dreams, Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
  • The Cowboy by Hildegard Müller
  • The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
  • Two Speckled Eggs by Jennifer K. Mann

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!

ABOUT PLAYONWORDS, LLC was founded by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Sherry Artemenko. Her 35 years championing language rich play, esteemed PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate of the language component in toys.

Over 15,000 hours working directly with children has shown her that a unique set 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 & reading
  •      Most kids maintain their verbal advantage through childhood
  •      Creative pretend play that sparks story-telling can advance future literacy

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 and caregivers how to get the most from toys, games and books to build language and underlying cognitive skills.

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Sherry Artemenko, Founder and President

Bob Artemenko, CMO
since: 03/2010
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