Sep 30, 2010 by Carrie Gajowski, MA

Ultimate Block Party

On October 3, 2010, the Bandshell area of New York’s Central Park (72nd St. & 5th Ave.) will become the main stage in an international event for families, educators and public figures to explore the real power of play with top architects, scientists, engineers, artists and inventors. Over 25 fun family play and learning activities will be free and open to the public! Come, play, and learn! At the Ultimate Block Party, there will be hundreds of Imagination Playground Blocks for kids to play with, along with numerous other activities that emphasize the value and science of arts and play. Children of all ages are invited to participate in these activities and more: Map Reading, Games, Physical Play, Visual Artistic Expression, and Music and Dance.

This is a great opportunity for both adults and children to re-discover the art of play and how play can actually help people learnnew skills and ideas.

Organizers of the event hope to make this an annual event. Their goal is to re-introduce the concept of play and its importance to everyday life. Some statistics about playand its critical role in our childrens’ lives:

  • 40 million elementary school children will have no arts or music training in their schools this year. NPR 2009.Fully 50% of children have no art training in 8 thgrade (NEA Report Card, 2008).
  • In last two decades children have lost an average of 8 hours of free play a week. The American Academy of Pediatricians call the decline of playtime a national crisis.
  • According to the Mayo Clinic website this is the first generation that will live fewer years than their parents due to essential hypertension, diabetes, and poor conditioning. Children need to play physically and get off the tube.
  • Children ages 8-17 now spend an average of 8 hours a day in media-based activities-dramatically up from five years ago. Kaiser Family Foundation 2010
  • The Partnership for 21 stCentury Skills, a collaborative of business leaders and CEOs and Daniel Pink are among many to suggest that creative innovation will be a critical skill for the next generation of skilled workers. The arts and play provide no better training ground.
  • Children are suffering from a “nature-deficit disorder” according to Richard Louv who wrote in 2005, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder." He said, “Unfettered time outside is fundamental to human development. It's wonderful for (kids') ability to learn, and it's wonderful for their stress level."

Come join the fun at the Ultimate Block Party this Sunday!