The Ultimate Block Party's Blog

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Raffi - Renowned Children's Entertainer

Naturally curious, imaginative and creative, children learn by pretending and imitating and messing up, by trying and failing and succeeding, daring and surrendering—in other words, by playing.

During three decades engaged in musical play with children, I have been advocating on their behalf with the maxim, “Play is the work of the young child.” Through creative play children make sense of the world and their place in it. I applaud the Ultimate Block Party for their efforts to create a unique play experience for children, along with an opportunity for adults to understand that children’s learning is founded in play.

Raffi Cavoukian, Singer, songwriter, author, and founder of the Centre for Child Honouring

The Power of Musical Play
Those of us that are already part of The Ultimate Block Party believe that play is key to learning – and Raffi agrees!
There is not a name more synonymous with children’s music than Raffi. “Baby Beluga” and “Down by the Bay” may have just started to run through your mind just because you read his name. This is the amazing power of musical play! You didn’t need to study these songs or use flashcards, but you remember the fun lyrics and catchy tunes for decades without trying. The power of music is so great that research suggests that playing an instrument in childhood may improve kids’ abilities to hear differences in sounds, increases their fine motor skills and is even associated with better vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills! And state-of-the art brain research suggests that these changes are reflected in the structure of the brain! See? Music play isn’t just fun and engaging, but it is a great learning tool that helps kids to develop and learn.

Come Sing, Dance, and Create Music at the Ultimate Block Party!
At the Ultimate Block Party event in Central Park on October 3, you and your child will get the chance to flex your musical muscle by participating in a huge drumming circle full of new friends, dance your cares away with familiar faces from The Electric Company, and even join a pots-and-pans band! But these aren’t the only fun events we will have at the Ultimate Block Party – we will have over 20 additional activities that let you and your child be naturally curious, imagine new worlds, create new works of art, pretend to be someone else, imitate those around them, and even mess up newly built creations. The Ultimate Block Party is going to be a one-day extravaganza that will allow you and your child to play your way to new learning, knowledge, and happy memories. See you there!

Interested in learning more?

You can check out the website of an expert in arts and child development, Dr. Ellen Winner, at Boston College:

Or, check out the published findings:
Hyde, K., Lerch, J., Norton, A.C., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A., & Schlaug (2009). Music training shapes structural brain development. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(10):3019-3025.

Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Norton, A.C., & Schlaug, G. (2008). Practicing a musical instrument in childhood is associated with enhanced verbal ability and nonverbal reasoning. PLoS ONE , 3(10):e3566.

This blog was written by Dr. Jennifer Zosh, Assistant Professor at Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine

Listen to Let’s play – By Raffi Cavoukian

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  • Amanda Gambill: Playworks is so happy to have the Ultimate Block party here in Baltimore! The event is going to be amazing! We are also looked forward to being the mo
  • Shaping Youth » AHA & Nintendo: Tag-Teaming Innovation To Get Kids Moving (Pt2): [...] “fun and games” started taking on an electronic, screen-based focus and child’s play shifted from the ramp-n-rev of the recess bell to bra
  • Beth Kimberly: Absolutely! Recess is an invaluable part of the school day. I love that, as you point out, "there were NO negative impacts of recess." I find it awful
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