Presents its Spring 2022 PAL Awards

Erika Cardamone discusses the benefits of learning through play LIVE at PHL17

“The game is not just about having fun, but about taking risks, experimenting and testing the limits.” American Academy of Pediatrics

Play is the basis of a child’s learning. When children play, they experiment, solve problems, converse and collaborate. These are the essential skills of the 21st century. We’ve seen the importance of play and adaptability, especially over the last few pandemic years. Our children have endured virtual play dates, developmental setbacks, educational changes, and academic crises. Through it all, play continues to be the precursor for our children to learn self-regulation, empathy, creativity, problem solving, and develop a lifelong love for learning.

During the uncertain pandemic years with fewer social opportunities for all of us, socio-emotional well-being has become an important theme in schools and homes. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is an essential skill that helps children better understand their emotions, improve self-awareness and problem solving, and develop empathy for others. Bringing SEL into the classroom improves academic performance and life outcomes.

Play encourages self-regulation where a child builds a sense of self. During play, children use their imaginations, take risks, negotiate turns with peers, and practice important language and conversation skills. It is these critical experiences that help our children develop self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills and thus lead to responsible decision-making.

The PAL award continues to seek out the best toys and games that promote learning through play and encourage language development, flexible thinking, problem solving and creativity. helps toy brands and consumers understand the strategic value of in-game language learning by helping to build vocabulary, foster cooperation, express emotion, stimulate creativity and develop skills. descriptive and problem-solving skills. The PAL award across internet, packaging and print media differentiates brands that know the market now demands products that are not only fun, but also imbued with learning potential. The gold seal with three smiley faces lets customers know there’s more than good entertainment on the box, book cover, or app license.

EARLY DEVELOPMENT: Erika’s background in pediatric speech therapy has given her an eye for the best products to develop attention, vocabulary and concepts through play, preparing children for their first sounds, words and phrases. While discovering themselves in a fun mirror, learning about cause and effect during playtime, practicing pretend play by planting and counting, and exploring their surroundings while riding their first bike, children learn skills essential early linguistics.

  • Friendly Fishing by SwimWays
  • Glow in the Dark Monster Puzzle by The Learning Journey International
  • I See Me Lion Mirror™ by VTech
  • Kick & Score Playgym™ by VTech
  • My First Big Floor Puzzle: Fire Truck, Recycling Truck, Train, Excavator by The Learning Journey International
  • Numberblocks MathLink® Cubes 11-20 Activity Game
  • Poppy the Count & Stack Planter Pot by Learning Resources
  • Scoot Around Bike by Hape
  • Spin and Learn Ferris Wheel™ by VTech

READING AND WRITING: As children get older, literacy becomes a priority in their studies. Learning their first working words and phrases, making words rhyme, creating new words during play, using a magic carpet that allows for tons of writing practice, and learning fun facts about your favorite topics, all of this builds essential skills to advance reading and writing.

  • 100 Things That Go™ by LeapFrog
  • Animal Rhymes Music Book™ by VTech
  • Chalk-a-Word by SimplyFun
  • Color and Erase Reusable Activity Mats and Blocks by Crayola
  • Smart Sparks by MindWare
  • Triangle Math by ThinkTank Scholar
  • Trivia: Animal, Geography and Science by MindWare
  • Word Heist by Gamewright

LANGUAGE STRUCTURE, CRITICAL THINKING AND REASONING: These exceptional products can develop language structure, critical thinking and reasoning, often teaching vocabulary, concepts or grammar while having fun. Follow instructions to make complex designs, make observations in the dark, solve problems, draw conclusions, design and build your own floor plan and structures made of blocks to practice physics, deepen learning about languages, flexible thinking and promoting innovative thinking.

  • Architect by MindWare
  • Contraptions Reactions by MindWare
  • Dinosaurs Escape from the Shining Mosaics of MindWare’s Peaceable Kingdom
  • Dino Explorers, Underwater Explorers and Space Explorers puzzles by Learn with OjO
  • Geological by ThinkFun
  • Dig it in the dark! Dinosaur Eggs by MindWare
  • Raccoon Tycoon by Forbidden Games
  • Recycling and conservation pattern block puzzle set by hand2mind
  • SavannaScapes by SimplyFun
  • Techno-Tiles by The Learning Journey International

STORYTELLING/PRETEND PLAY: Whether it’s storytelling about a Wild Life Ranger rescuing animals and exploring, checking off everyday tasks like ironing, re-enacting a trip to the grocery store, or imagining your pets preferred in an igloo, a tree house or a spa, the children come in. the world of simulation, creating their own stories with many flexible accessories to guide their imagination. Oral storytelling precedes writing as children learn the steps to creating a good story.

  • Aquabeads by Epoch Everlasting Play
  • Design and Drill the Bolt Buddies Tractor by Educational Insights
  • Ironing Time Learner Kit™ by LeapFrog
  • Arctic Pets Igloo, Safari Pets and Scented Spa Scribble Scrubbie Playsets by Crayola
  • Sensory Bin Mermaid Lagoon by Creativity for Kids
  • Teach and Talk Cash Register by MindWare
  • Wild Life Ranger Adventure Station by Schleich

SOCIAL LANGUAGE: Complementary to pretend play, social language flourishes as children play with toys and games and interact with media that encourage extended social interactions. Naming and recognizing emotions in themselves and others By adopting a puppet personality, taking turns playing or exploring the outdoors with a friend, children understand and manage their emotions, which leads to stronger EQs .

  • Funny Bird by Folkmanis
  • Funny Rabbit by Ravensburger
  • Kangaroo and Joey by Folkmanis
  • Create Your Own Bug Catcher by MindWare
  • SwimWays Ultra Baby Spring Float
  • Ultra Powerful Battle Game by Expand Your Mind
  • Yeti by Folkmanis

ABOUT PLAYONWORDS.COM is powered by highly respected speech therapist, Erika Cardamone. Her 16 years of championing language-rich play, PAL Award lead reviewer, popular blog and expert advice to parents set her apart as the leading advocate for the language component in toys.

Over 10,000 hours of direct work with children has shown him that a unique set of the best toys, games and books has the ability to develop language while providing great play.

Studies show:

  • Children with the highest IQ at age three, had the most words at one and two
  • Language learning is cumulative – first words => first sentences => language and reading
  • Most children retain their verbal advantage throughout childhood

Creative pretend play that sparks storytelling can advance future literacy

Erika hopes parents will recognize the PAL award for identifying unique toys, games and books that, through design, quality and character, encourage play that advances language. PAL winners in the hands of children spark fun and creative play with lots of talking. These toys, recognized on the basis of his expertise in child development, are complemented by practical coaching in his blog, showing parents, caregivers and teachers how to get the most out of toys, games and books for develop language and the underlying cognitive skills.

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Raymond I. Langston