Play On Words, led by highly respected speech-language pathologist Erika Cardamone, announces Fall 2022 PAL Award Winners, the toy industry's only recognition directed by a credentialed speech-language expert recognizing the language learning edge in exceptional toys, games and media. Erika's over 15 years of child development experience working with kids empower her PAL Award selections, video reviews, popular blog, media appearances, and consulting practice.

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Maria Montessori said that "Play is the work of the child." It enhances brain structure, promotes language development, storytelling, executive functioning, and drives learning. Play is something our children must do to gain knowledge about themselves and the world around them.

There's been an increased focus on the mental and social-emotional well-being of our children, especially in this post-pandemic school year. Parents, caregivers, and educators are seeing how foundational skills like problem solving, perseverance, and storytelling relate to play. When children engage with high quality toys and games that promote these skills, they're producing skill-building opportunities to navigate new situations and creatively overcome obstacles.

Additionally, the quality of play interaction between children and parents greatly supports their development as they grow. A family game night or pretend tea party will strengthen the bond between parents and children as they build skills that are the bedrock of speech and language development.

The PAL Award continues to seek out the best toys and games that foster learning through play and encourage language development, flexible thinking, problem solving, and creativity. 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 on the internet, packaging and in print media 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 matching colored cake layers, squeezing adorable pugs, playing music with a DJ Pup and listening to whale stories while stacking rings, kids learn essential early language skills.

  • Cake-N-Bake Challenge by Hey Buddy Hey Pal
  • Cocomelon Magna-Tiles Structure Set by CreateOn
  • Cocomelon Pattern Party by Funko Games
  • DJ Beat Boxer by VTech
  • EleFountain Water Show by Yookidoo
  • Gymotion Circus Playland by Yookidoo
  • Junior Marble Run by MindWare
  • Little Castle Pound and Roll Toy by Bababoo and friends
  • My Pal Scout SmartPaws by LeapFrog
  • Tongues Out! by Blue Orange Games
  • Wilma Whale Stacking Toy by Bababoo and friends

READING AND WRITING: As children grow older, literacy becomes a focus in academics. Learning their first sounds and words, reading to learn about creepy crawlers and through simulated dissection, and blending sounds to create words in a card game, all pick up essential skills to advance reading and writing.

  • Baby's First Book of 44 Sounds by SmartNoggin
  • Critter Creator Fossil Kit by Crayola
  • Dissect-It Frog Lab by Top Secret Toys
  • DoodleJamz Bright Board by Sky Castle
  • Wooden AlphaPup by LeapFrog
  • Word Splice by Mazeology

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. Following directions to complete experiments, making observations, solving problems, and drawing conclusions, designing and constructing magnetic marble runs, and measuring objects in bizarre units further language learning, flexible thinking and promote innovative thinking.

  • 12 Days of Crystal Science by MindWare
  • Ball Blaster Water Cannon by Yookidoo
  • Build-a-Bubble by South Beach Bubbles
  • Clay Sculpting Station by Crayola
  • Festive Mermaids and Holiday Dinosaur Puzzles by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Puzzles by Hape
  • Happiest Day by Funko Games
  • Minecraft Biomes by Ravensburger
  • Puzzle and Play by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
  • Scooby Doo: Three Night Fright by Ravensburger
  • Squaregles Starter Set
  • T.A.P.E.S. by Hog Wild Toys
  • Tie Dye Color Chemistry Lab by Crayola
  • VENN by USAOpoly
  • ZipLinx Triple Tower Blast by Blip Toys

STORY-TELLING / PRETEND PLAY: Whether listening to stories from your favorite characters, learning and pretending about animals of the wild, building an ultimate cityscape to play, or imagining a playful scenario of a chicken family, 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.

  • Critter Creator Glow Bugs by Crayola
  • Gabby's Dress-Up Closet by Spin Master
  • Glow Art Studio by Crayola
  • Mobile Chicken Coop by Schleich
  • Oh So Fun! Canoe by MindWare
  • Peppa Pig TonieBox Starter Set by tones
  • PixoBitz Studio by Spin Master
  • Pony's Stylish Hair Salon by Calico Critters
  • Smart Chart Medical Kit by VTech
  • Super CityScape Transport Bucket by Hape
  • Wiltopia Research Station by PLAYMOBIL
  • Wizarding World of Magical Minis Diagon Alley by Spin Master
  • Zombaes Forever by Spin Master

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. Working cooperatively to defeat a ghost, improving mindfulness with magic headphones, or understanding differences from plush animal hybrids, children understand and manage their emotions, leading to stronger EQ's.

  • Deluxe Charcuterie Kit by MindWare
  • Ghost in the Attic by MindWare's Peaceable Kingdom
  • Imagination Poppers by MindWare
  • Kinetic Sand Swirl-N-Surprise by Spin Master
  • LeapPods Max by LeapFrog
  • Less Mess Paint Kit by Crayola
  • Randimals
  • WOWmazing! Winter Kit by South Beach Bubbles

ABOUT PLAYONWORDS.COM is fueled by well-respected speech-language pathologist, Erika Cardamone. Her 15 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.

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

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

Media Contact

Erika Cardamone, Play on Words, 1 203-228-4438,


SOURCE Play on Words

Originally published on the BLOX Digital Content Exchange.