5 Reasons to Cook with Kids and Dealing with Messy Moments

Kid Friendly Recipes, Kitchen Tips & Tricks, Picky Eating | 7 comments

Kids in the kitchen are pretty much a guarantee for big messes. At least in our house. Even though I love a clean kitchen, and pretty much despise dirty, cluttered counters and crumbs on the floor, the messy moments that come from cooking and baking with kids are definitely worth it!

5 Reasons to Let Kids Get Messy in the Kitchen

I have a lot of reasons that I enjoy spending time with my kids in the kitchen. Over the years, I have learned that these reasons far outweigh negatives like: that whatever the task it probably would have been easier and faster to do it on my own and getting the kids involved almost always increases the mess factor by at least 100%.

Life's Messy Moments - Cooking with Kids

1. Bonding – My number one reason for spending time in the kitchen with the kids is because it creates a great opportunity for some one on one time with my children. When the kids are cooking with me, it usually ends up being just one at a time. This is great because it gives us time alone to talk and learn together.

2. Pick Eating – We’ve dealt with some serious picky eating in our house, but the more involved my kids are in the food preparation process (and in the mess making process) the more open they are to trying new foods.

3. Math Skills – Now that Logan and Madeline are older, cooking with mom provides educational experiences that they don’t even realize are happening. The best kind of learning happens when you are having fun.

Things like: We need 4 cups of flour and this is a 1 cup scoop, so how many times do we need to fill it up? (for Madeline). Or, for Logan: The recipe calls for 4 cups of flour. We’ve already put in 2 cups, but we are using a 1/2 cup measuring scoop, so how many more scoops do we need?

4. Life Skills- I learned how to cook by being allowed to cook while I was growing up and being included in the cooking process with my mom, dad, and other adult family members. By the time I got to college I knew how to make many basic dishes and several not-so-basic dishes.I was confident in following a recipe and ate well through my college years.

I was shocked at how many of my peers had no knowledge at all of cooking and were comfortable fueling their bodies with garbage every day because they either didn’t know better, didn’t care, or didn’t have the skills to do anything differently.

It might be messy now, and for quite a while, but I view the opportunities to cook with my children as valuable life skills teaching moments and investments in their future in terms of their knowledge of nutrition, food preparation, and appropriate eating habits.

5. Because it is Fun – Sometimes it is nice to just have FUN! Baking cookies can incorporate a lot of the other 4 reasons to cook with children, but let’s face it…making cut out cookies or other treats provides fun, cheap, easy entertainment. These messy moments become the treasured moments of childhood.

Life’s Memorable Icky Moments

Perhaps all of the messy moments in the kitchen with my children are simply payback for the occasion that I, as my 3 year old self, found it quite prudent to create my very first cake on the kitchen floor. A story that I am still teased about to this day. Last week while talking with my dad on the phone an egg rolled off the counter and onto a floor. He told me to just make a cake out of it.

I think my parents must have known back then that the kitchen would be always be my most favorite room in the house, because after that disaster I certainly made many, many more. And now it is Logan and Madeline’s turn to make the messes (I still make plenty of my own, too!).

Clorox has come up with an “Ick-tionary,” a wiki for icky, to highlight some of life’s memorable icky moments. I’m sure we have all played Leftover Roulette (deciding what’s in the food container in the back of the fridge, when it’s from and if it’s still good.) or done a little spilattes after dinner (stretching exercises that tone muscles and improve flexibility when you’re wiping up spills under tables and on countertops).

Some of our memorable messy moments that I would add to the Clorox “Ick-tionary” would be:

Flour-Power: When you are baking with kids and they turn the stand mixer immediately to “high power” after you’ve added flour to the bowl, thus dusting the entire kitchen in a layer of flour. Logan likes to remind me all the time: Remember when we were making cookies and I turned the mixer on all the way and flour went everywhere!

Eggsplosion: When little ones are learning to crack eggs and they squeeze the egg in their hand so hard that it cracks and the insides explode all over the counter. Madeline has been working on her egg cracking skills, but once in a while her grip is just a little too tight and BOOM we have egg all over.

We experience a lot of icky messes in our kitchen, but Clorox Disinfecting Wipes make it easier to clean up the grease, dirt, germs, and other sticky messes that are left behind when cooking with kids.

Easier clean up means more time enjoying making the mess and less time worrying about the clean up!

What are your hilarious ick-words or situations?

This post is brought to you by The Clorox Company. I have partnered with them to spread the word about Clorox’s Ick-tionary program. To share Ick-tionary terms and real life messes, visit www.icktionary.com. All opinions and stories are my own.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Kelly - April 18, 2013 @ 6:56 am

    We experienced our own “Death-by-Chocolate” last December when we were making homemade cocoa mix to give to neighbors for Christmas. I had purchased fairly expensive blocks of dark chocolate to chop and add to the mix. I had cocoa powder, sugar and chunks of the dark chocolate in the food processor. When we turned to food processor on to chop the chocolate finer, the force of the chocolate hitting the sides of the food processor caused the bowl to crack completely through all around the edge where the sides met the bottom of the food processor. And it kept spinning. Spraying the entire kitchen and all of the open canisters with cocoa powder, powdered sugar and chocolate chunks (with slivers of plastic food-processor-bowl mixed in.


  • 2
    Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey - April 18, 2013 @ 1:57 pm

    I am a terrible cook – would you believe that is leading Dex to be a BETTER cook, by fending for himself? Poor kid.


  • 3
    Tieghan - April 18, 2013 @ 7:27 pm

    Love this! I cook with my four year sister all the time. We make a huge mess, but she loves it and she always will try anything she makes!


  • 4
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - April 20, 2013 @ 8:31 am

    Love it!! Keeping it real, Katie. =)


  • 5
    Molly Jo at Frankly, My Dear... - April 21, 2013 @ 9:09 pm

    I love this post! My daughter is now 18, and we still can make a mess in the kitchen. You’re right, it’s so fun, and those are the days that are better. I love having her in my kitchen!


  • 6
    Meagan - April 24, 2013 @ 11:59 am

    I spent time with my mom in the kitchen growing up and still do to this day. When I was younger, it was a great opportunity to learn her cooking tips and family recipes, and as I got older it was more about talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.


  • 7
    Linda - February 05, 2015 @ 8:06 pm

    I wish my Mom was still alive to work with in the kitchen. I use to watch her, but never cooked with her.
    I still have beautiful memories but would love to have more. I’m not the greatest cook now but I try. I have to great sisters that I call all the time for something to do in the kitchen. Maybe one day I will be a good cook.


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