Creating a Beautiful Mess: Ten Essential Play Experiences for a Joyous Childhood


Product Details

Redleaf Press
Publish Date
5.7 X 0.4 X 8.8 inches | 0.25 pounds
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About the Author

Ann Gadzikowski is the director of early learning for Encyclopedia Britannica, and is the author of curriculum books, teaching guides, classroom readers, and numerous publications for parents of young children. Her book Creating a Beautiful Mess: Ten Essential Play Experiences for a Joyous Childhood won gold in the 2015 National Parenting Publications Awards, and her book Robotics for Young Children won the 2018 Midwest Book Awards.


"What a lovely book examining the joys and importance of children's play! The investigation of the ten essential play experiences gives parents and educators many ideas for engaging children, following their natural instincts, enhancing their play experiences, and enjoying play fully with children. I found myself smiling throughout as I read the wonderful descriptions, considered the resources and support statements, and felt assured by Ann Gadzikowski's analysis of play."
-- Gaye Gronlund, author

"Early childhood educator Gadzikowski offers a charming book on play, outlining the various types, importances thereof, a historical look back, and ideas for implementation. Arguing that 'the concept of balance in children's play experiences is similar to the concept of nutritional balance, ' the author provides ten essential play experiences for a 'balanced and joyous childhood.' While educators categorize play into domains of development--and parents think in terms of its when and where--Gadzikowski's arrangement represents a child's experience. VERDICT From blocks and make-believe to turn-taking games and stories with toys, this work's encouraging and gentle perspective is sure to motivate even the most authoritarian parent. Warmly recommended for all messy mischief makers."
-- Library Journal

Creating A Beautiful Mess is packed with good information. Gadzikowski reminds us that self-directed play is important for our children and teaches us how to embrace it as a joyous necessity for them. This is a must-read for parents.
--Foreword Reviews

This is an engaging book for parents and professionals who--in the spirit of play--freely choose to read it. While grounded in scholarly material on the potential connections of play to all aspects of children's development, the book focuses on the value of play from a child's point of view. Play is freely chosen, engaging, and is done purely for pleasure. The book expands to ten the number of activities generally considered as play and captures their discovery and delight by providing wonderful examples. Most importantly and sensibly, it promotes a balance of activities. This book is a joy to read!--Frances Stott, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Erikson Institute

Perhaps the thing I like most about Creating a Beautiful Mess is the fact that the author alerts parents and professionals to both the cognitive and social milestones of each of these ten beneficial play experiences. The entire text is truly a balanced approach to adding the playful joy back into the life of the child and at the same time insuring that childhood is a respected window of opportunity for holistic living, learning, and becoming. For Gadzikowski, play is not a four letter word; rather it is the child's pathway to joy.--Mary Ruth Moore, Ph.D., professor of early childhood and elementary education and the faculty liaison to the Joe L. Frost Play Research Collection at the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Library of the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio

Exceptionally well organized and thoroughly 'reader friendly' in presentation, "Creating a Beautiful Mess: Ten Essential Play Experiences for a Joyous Childhood" is as informed and informative as it is practical and easily applicable for parents with no formal childhood education training. Very highly recommended for both community and academic library Parenting Studies reference collections.--Margaret Lane, Margaret's Bookshelf, Midwest Reviewer's Bookwatch