They say play is a child's work. And just as work could mean anything from alleviating world hunger to hoarding red staplers, play can be a timesink or a richly rewarding developmental experience. (Hint: you want the latter.)
Which is where a-ha! Learning Partners comes in. a-ha! runs structured play workshops and provides resources and support to parents who are "committed to taking an informed & active role in their children's learning and development."
Their approach is developed in collaboration with The Brazelton Institute, which, now that I'm a parent, I recognize as a leader in this kind of thing. [And even so, I sometimes want to say to the kid, "Why not play 'statue' so I can finish my email?"]
But frankly, the reason I know about this, and the reason I think a-ha! is probably different from the pointless over-programming that Manhattan parents are so susceptible to, is because I worked with the former McKinsey guy who started it, Don Burton, at Disney, and he's been incredibly focused on realworld child development techniques for years.
And besides, your kid can climb on mountains of clay, and they'll clean it up afterwards. That's worth the tuition right there.