PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Lucas, 6 and Aniyah, 7, recently built a house in Central Park. The skylight was a hole in the roof and a black piece of cloth was the flat TV. The New York Coalition for Play provided the boxes and junk.

The non-profit organization joined the Ultimate Block Party along with Disney, Crayola, Lego and researchers from Columbia University and MIT celebrating play and pushing against the belief that education only takes place when kids are in seats, staring at chalkboards and taking notes.

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Forty cities are interested in the Ultimate Block Party as a beginning to get people to stop dismissing play and start questioning the way we assume kids learn.

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Currently, direct instruction takes most of the day for even young children with less opportunity for exploring, interacting and learning on their own.

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, a researcher at Temple University, cites data showing that play reduces stress, improves working memory and makes children more socially competent. As co-author of the book, Einstein Never Used Flashcards, she is gaining followers. Read more in The Chronicle Review.

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Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio