Play On Words, led by highly respected speech-language pathologist Erika Cardamone, announces Fall 2023 PAL Award Winners, a high recognition directed by a credentialed speech-language expert recognizing the language learning edge in exceptional toys, games and media. Erika's 17 years of child development experience working with kids empower her PAL Award selections, video reviews, blog, media appearances (PHL17 Philadelphia, FOX6 Milwaukee, and ABC9 Syracuse), and consulting practice.
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- A new acronymic is making heads turn in the toy industry — MESH. The acronym was around long before the pandemic had parents and caregivers really talking about our children's mental and social health. But now, it seems we're all a bit more tuned in to our children's needs. MESH focuses on building skills to create resiliency in children. Giving them the means to successfully adapt to difficult life experiences.
We've long known that kids learn through play. We know that play develops important skills used later in life. But now, ThinkFun has identified 8 crucial MESH skills that help children develop resiliency. Many of these skills are the foundation of what we do as speech-language pathologists. Practicing communication strategies, problem-solving, adaptation, and other higher-level cognitive skills, are exactly what we do when playing in our therapy sessions. It's incredible to see such a positive response from the toy industry. These guidelines can actually shape new products to maximize their ability to foster MESH skills.
The PAL Award continues to seek out the best toys and games that cultivate learning through play and encourage communication, flexible thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Playonwords.com helps toy brands and consumers alike see the strategic value of language learning in play through its helping to build vocabulary, foster cooperation, express emotion, kindle creativity and expand descriptive and problem solving capacities. The PAL Award differentiates brands who know the marketplace now demands products that are not only fun, but also infused with learning potential. The gold seal with three smiley faces tells customers that more than great entertainment is to be found on the box, book cover or app license.
EARLY DEVELOPMENT: Erika's experience in pediatric speech-language therapy has given her an eye for the best products to build attention, vocabulary and concepts through play, preparing children for their first sounds, words and sentences. While working a bead maze and, playing music and guessing sounds, learning early math vocabulary and practicing early problem-solving with shape sorters, kids learn essential early language skills.
- 8-in-1 Activity Cube by Viga Toys
- ABCs & Activities Wooden Table™ by LeapFrog
- Chompers the Number Dino™ by VTech
- Dino Multi-Activity Volcano by Janod
- Food Truck Playset by GUND
- Lolo's Boat Bead Maze by Bababoo and friends
- My Fun Day by SimplyFun
- Rainy Ranch by Ravensburger
- The Happy Marshmallow by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
- Touch & Learn Wooden Activity Cube™ by LeapFrog
- Tracy the Fidget Triceratops by Learning Resources
- Sustainably Soft Baby Doll Collection by GUND
READING AND WRITING: As children grow older, literacy becomes a focus in academics. Learning their first functional words and phrases, rhyming words, identifying letters and sounds, practicing holding a writing utensil while simultaneously being wow'd by scents, and reading rhythmic fairytales, all pick up essential skills to advance reading and writing.
- All About the Planet by Highlights
- Crayola Triple-The-Fun See-Thru Easel by Grow-n-Up Limited
- Doodle & Draw by Crayola
- Grandpa Kevin's Updated Classics by Missing Piece Press, LLC
- HD Coloring Kit by Crayola
- Imagine and Draw Activity Book by Highlights
- Moonlite Story Collections by Moonlite
- Silly Scents Smash Ups by Crayola
- Slide-to-Read ABC Flash Cards by LeapFrog
- Tangram Puzzle Fun by Highlights
- The Great Big Book of Really Hard Puzzles by Highlights
- Wild Animals Deluxe by Highlights
LANGUAGE STRUCTURE, CRITICAL THINKING AND REASONING: These outstanding products can build language structure, critical thinking and reasoning, often teaching vocabulary, concepts or grammar while delivering fun. Making observations, solving problems, and drawing conclusions, designing and constructing marble runs and castles, and transporting to a Las Vegas stage or prehistoric dinosaur chase, all further language learning, flexible thinking and promote innovative thinking.
- Cauldron Quest by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
- Electronic Motors Catalyst by Tinkering Labs
- Erggs' Crash Arena by Squaregles
- Go's Spiral Drop by Squaregles
- GraviTrax Junior Jungle Starter Set by Ravensburger
- Gravity Maze Builder by ThinkFun
- Hedbanz Lightspeed by Spin Master
- KEVA Design Woods by MindWare
- Logic! CASE Starter Set by HABA
- Meet MahJong by Ravensburger
- Penn & Teller Magic Lab Virtual Reality by Abacus Brands
- Qwirkle Color Blind Friendly Edition by MindWare
- Rubik's Coach Cube by Spin Master
- Safari Park Jr. by Smart Games
- Tightrope by MindWare
- VR Dinosaurs by Abacus Brands
- Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles by Ravensburger
STORY-TELLING / PRETEND PLAY: Whether telling stories using familiar characters, heroic Oggs or misunderstood Erggs, taking a pizza order and baking cookies, pretending to clean up, or serving ice cream, children enter the world of pretend, creating their own stories with plenty of flexible props to guide their imagination. Oral story-telling precedes writing as kids learn the steps to create a good narrative.
- 1.2.3 & Disney: Winnie's & Piglet's Tree House by PLAYMOBIL
- Build-a-Slice Pizza Cart™ by LeapFrog
- Design & Drill Bolt Buddies Crane by Educational Insights
- Gabby's Dollhouse Gabby Cat Friend Ship by Spin Master
- Hatchimals Alive Hatch Nursery Playset by Spin Master
- Ice Cream Booth by Janod
- Kinetic Sand Deluxe Beach Castle by Spin Master
- My Baking Oven With Magic Cookies by Hape
- Oh So Fun! Cleaning Cart by MindWare
- Oggsmore Keep: A Castle Saga by Squaregles
- PAW Patrol the Might Movie: Skye's Mighty Movie Jet by Spin Master
- Rainbow Learning Lights Mixer™ by LeapFrog
- Scribble Scrubbie Glow Lagoon by Crayola
- Squinkies Originals Cupcake Surprize Bake Shop by Blip Toys
- Storytime With Sunny™ by VTech
- Yeti Yikes! Ski Mountain by Squaregles
SOCIAL LANGUAGE: Complementary to pretend play, social language blossoms when children play with toys and games and interact with media that encourage extended social interactions. Naming, and recognizing emotions in oneself and others, listening to dynamic stories, improving mindfulness, perseverance and attention with fidgets, or working cooperatively during gameplay, children understand and learn self-regulation.
- 12 Days of Fun & Focus by MindWare's Sensory Genius
- Bumpas by Good Soul Brands
- Emotional Support Fries by Relatable
- Finger Food Frenzy by MindWare
- Furry Fidget Friend by Tangle
- Future Fans Football by Future Fans
- Goo Games by Sky Castle Toys
- Home Grown Growing Kit by MindWare
- Narwhal Waterfall by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
- Pawvocados by Blue Orange Games
- Storypod by Craftie Fox, Inc.
Playonwords.com is fueled by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Erika Cardamone. Her 17 years championing language rich play, lead reviewer for the PAL Award, popular blog, and insightful tips to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.
Over 10,000 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.
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
Erika hopes that parents will recognize 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 and videos, showing parents, caregivers and teachers how to get the most from toys, games and books to build language and underlying cognitive skills.
Erika Cardamone, Play On Words, 1 2032284438, [email protected], playonwords.com
SOURCE Play On Words