The Ultimate Block Party | About
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-15262,page-parent,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-child-theme-ver-1.0.0,qode-theme-ver-17.1,qode-theme-bridge,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.5.5,vc_responsive


About UBP

In 2009, a small group of educators, business leaders, authors and researchers come together 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.


Founded by a consortium led by the Temple; University of Delaware; Children’s Museum of Manhattan; Johns Hopkins University Brain Science Institute. This group 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 how children learn among families, educators, child-care providers, pediatricians and policymakers.


Our Mission

The Ultimate Block Party aims to create a multi-pronged social movement that champions the importance of play and playful learning in children’s lives. We seek to ensure that all children are provided with competitive skills for the 21st century global world and to build a public groundswell about the value of play for fostering lifelong learning in the sciences and the arts. Our mission is to affect policy about children and the way we deliver education in our society.

Children create puppet figures at The Ultimate Block Party in Central Park, NYC.
Children play in the Lego pit at The Ultimate Block Party in Central Park, NYC.
The Reading corner at The Ultimate Block Party in Central Park, NYC.

Why Now?


The statistics are staggering. While we know that engaging children in learning through play and the arts is an integral part of how children learn, it is under siege. The major skills required for the 21st Century include collaboration, communication, content acquisition, critical thinking, creative innovation, and character. Research shows that playful learning provides an opportunity to build these skills in essential ways, yet:


  • 40 million elementary school children will have no arts or music training in their schools this year. NPR2009. Fully 50% of children have no art training in 8th grade (NEA Report Card, 2008).
  • Thousands of schools in the United States no longer have recess (Elkind, 2008). Researcher Anthony Pellegrini has documented how having recess helps kids learn. Turns out that the kids who miss recess the most are the poor kids who ironically need to learn the most to catch up to their more advantaged peers (NY Times, 2009).
  • 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.

Beyond the Block Party


The Ultimate Block Party is much more than a single event. The Block Party brings communities together with lasting impact. Our advisory boards are available to support ongoing community outreach efforts and our website’s blog and social media provides current, relevant information for families and educators.

Our Sponsors Include: