Marylanders Serious about Play
Baltimore, Md. – Children learn essential skills by doing something they all know and enjoy: playing. And on Sunday, October 2 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rash Field in the Inner Harbor, the whole city is invited to come together and celebrate playing—and the rich learning and growth that come with it—at Baltimore’s own Ultimate Block Party. The event comes on the heels of two other Ultimate Block Party celebrations—in New York City and Toronto, Canada—and makes Baltimore the third in a series of play celebrations in major cities across North America. Children and their families can take part in classic childhood pastimes—dressing up like railroad conductors, playing Four Square, flying paper airplanes, jumping rope and making art from recycled materials. And they can do yoga, make hip-hop music and play rock-n-roll baseball—and any number of other fun, family-friendly games and activities.
The Ultimate Block Party in Baltimore is hosted by the Ultimate Block Party and Port Discovery Children’s Museum, and sponsored by several local and national organizations: Baltimore City Public Schools’ Family Institute, Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, the Goddard Schools, the Walters Art Museum, T. Rowe Price, Sprout, Child First Authority, the Center for Jewish Education.
Family Institute, which works to provide Baltimore City Public Schools families with resources to support student learning in school and at home, embraced the Ultimate Block Party as a way to show that learning extends far beyond school. “The Ultimate Block Party is a great way to help families practice things that will support their students’ achievement –while having fun,”said Michael Sarbanes, executive director of City Schools’ Office of Engagement. “We believe our parents and communities play an incredibly important role in our students’ academic success, and this day puts that belief into action.”
“The Ultimate Block Party shares a common vision and understanding with Family Institute and the event’s many other sponsors that play equals learning—and does wonders to boost a child’s social, emotional and cognitive development,”said Susan Magsamen, president of the organization Ultimate Block Party (UBP) and director of interdisciplinary partnerships for Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute. “This event is as much about raising awareness of the learning that can happen through play as it is about letting loose and having fun.”
Founded in 2010, UBP is the result of leading scientists in education, psychology, neuroscience and cognitive science coming together with parents, teachers, school administrators and pediatricians who noticed a decrease in the amount of time kids spend playing. “Social, academic and economic pressures have led to an all-but disappearance of play in the lives of children,”Magsamen said. “But we know from our research that children learn best through discovery, imagination, play and collaborative learning.”
Organizers of the initial event were rewarded for their vision when more than 50,000 people from every borough in New York City, and even surrounding communities from New Jersey to Connecticut, came out in droves and spent the day at play. With the success of the New York event, cities across the country rushed to tailor UBP to fit their own communities. Baltimore is the first of these cities to actually hold an Ultimate Block Party event. So come out, Baltimore, come out and play on Sunday, October 2nd!
For more information, visit http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/ultimateblockparty.