NEW YORK, Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ultimate Block Party, the first-ever, larger-than-life "play date" in a national education movement, attracted more than 50,000 eager and enthusiastic families to New York City's Central Park on October 3, 2010. Parents, caregivers and kids of all ages joined together like never before to experience an imagination-inspiring event filled with the arts, sciences and lots of learning through play! Created by Play for Tomorrow, a consortium dedicated to bringing the crucial role of play in children's development and education to families' attention, the Ultimate Block Party brought playful learning back to the forefront, demonstrating the real power of fun and games.
The debut Ultimate Block Party event transformed Central Park into the world's most innovative and stimulating playground with more than two dozen unique activities designed to educate and entertain kids of all ethnicities, backgrounds and socio-economic levels through play. The day featured the Goddard School's imaginative "Let's Play Cafe," Crayola's sidewalk chalk art, bilingual bingo, cardboard box building, Imagination Playground, the Children's Museum of Manhattan's Brain At Play, LEGO® CL!CK block construction, an artful drumming circle and an incredible game of Simon Says led by Sprout®. And throughout the day, music played from the Naumberg Bandshell for all to enjoy and dance to, plus many more activities throughout the park.
The stand-out event also attracted New York City notables, including Ultimate Block Party National Co-Spokespersons, Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and Craig Hatkoff, New York Times bestselling children's book author, Tribeca Film Festival Co-Founder and Founder and Chairman of Turtle Pond Publications LLC, as well as Emmy® and Golden Globe® Award-winning actress Mariska Hargitay, who attended the Ultimate Block Party with her family. In addition, the Ultimate Block Party has garnered the support of celebrity mom and special spokesperson, Sarah Jessica Parker.
"We are absolutely ecstatic about the incredible success of the event and humbled by the outpouring of support from New Yorkers for the first-ever Ultimate Block Party and its mission," said Andrew Ackerman, Executive Director of the Children's Museum of Manhattan and Co-Founder of Play for Tomorrow. "Our 'ultimate' goal is showing the undeniable importance of playful learning and we feel we have made one giant leap – 50,000 strong – towards accomplishing this!"
"It gave us incredible joy to see kids and adults partaking in the amazing activities side-by-side and to hear their excitement throughout the day. And New York City was just the beginning!" said Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D, Co-Founder of Play for Tomorrow and Professor of Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia.
By popular demand, and on the heels of the hugely triumphant kick-off event, the Ultimate Block Party will make a "play" in cities across the country, beginning in 2011. Among the cities that have already expressed interest are Houston, Fort Worth, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta, San Diego and more. Those who want to ensure their community is being considered are encouraged to visit www.ultimateblockparty.com and submit their city as a possible host destination.
Together with its partners, Play for Tomorrow is committed to building public awareness for the importance of play in fostering lifelong learning and to help enact change in policy and education. The Ultimate Block Party "Playbook," a guide for parents and caregivers that lets them check off each station in which they participate and illustrates how each activity is based in the science of learning, will be distributed at all upcoming events. The guide also includes a workbook for parents and educators featuring fun age-appropriate play-based activities linked to healthy development and skills acquisition that can be used at home, in school or in the community.
In addition, Play for Tomorrow is developing other valuable resources and tools, including Learn (LearningResourceNetwork.com), a cutting-edge web-based magazine and communications portal launching in early 2011, as well as a beautiful and inspiring upcoming book titled Becoming: The Genius of Child's Play to be released next fall. "Becoming will share the joyful and purposeful moments in play that helped shape many of today's most accomplished and recognized figures," said Susan Magsamen, Ultimate Block Party President, Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute Director of Interdisciplinary Programs and NeuroEducation Initiative Co-Director.
Play for Tomorrow was founded by a consortium led by the Temple University CiRCLE Program; University of Delaware, College of Education and Human Development; Children's Museum of Manhattan; and Johns Hopkins University NeuroEducation Initiative and Brain Science Institute. Activity sponsorship and support for the inaugural year of the Ultimate Block Party includes The Goddard School for Early Development, RIDEMAKERZ, LEGO, Crayola Sprout and many others. Among the education and endorsing organizations are the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the American Psychological Association, Families and Work Institute, and Zero to Three. Many New York universities participated to make this a success. CUNY provided Spanish translation of Ultimate Block Party materials, helping to further spread the word. For a complete list of sponsors, partners and event supporters, visit www.UltimateBlockParty.com.
The National Science Foundation and NSF Science of Learning Centers supported the Ultimate Block Party through the creation of several activities as well as two major workshops – the first on informal learning and research and the second on outreach and communications to continue this important work.
About Play for Tomorrow
In 2009, a small group of educators, business leaders, authors and researchers formed Play for Tomorrow to champion the importance of play in the lives of children. Conceived as a multi-tiered social movement, the groundbreaking initiative aims to ensure that all children are provided with the competitive skills necessary to succeed in the 21st Century global economy as well as build a public dialog to underscore the value of play in fostering lifelong achievement and social, emotional and physical well being. Play for Tomorrow is committed to working towards affecting policy and education delivery and overcoming the disconnect between what we know about learning and how we are teaching. The organization's mission is to change attitudes, beliefs and practices about playful learning among families, educators, child-care providers, pediatricians and policymakers.
SOURCE Play for Tomorrow