Why I Let My Kids Destroy The Kitchen

The first time I willingly let my kids destroy every square inch of my kitchen, er, I mean, bake independently, was done through gritted teeth. I was aware of every drop of water that hit the floor, every bit of powdery flour that was smeared on the cabinet. I stared intently at the grout between the tile floors, wondering if I would still be cleaning granulated sugar out of the crevices 6 months from then.

Instead of screaming”LOOK AT THE MESS YOU MADE!” I said (half-smile in place) “Oooh, that’s gonna be hard to get all that sugar off the floor.

Instead of “YOU GOT EGG SHELLS EVERYWHERE!” I said “Hmmm, our cookies might be crunchy (chuckle).

Momming isn’t easy. Hell, adulting isn’t easy most of the time. By letting my children make a small disaster mess in my kitchen, they actually LEARNED.


Messes are Ok… Cleaning up is necessary

All too often, we jump on kids when they make a mess. From spilt milk to dropped bread, we have to ask if our reaction justifies the action. By making a mess, you’re also allowing the child an opportunity to clean that mess. It’s important to learn that cleaning is a part of cooking. Take it all, or get out of the kitchen.

Baking is fun…And allows memories to be made

I remember loving cooking as a child. My mom let me bake right alongside of her. Even though my baking was mostly confined to pouring pre-measured cupfuls into large bowls, and licking everything in sight when she turned to get something from the fridge, I considered it cooking. While I was probably annoying my mother by making her recipe take three times as long, she was giving me the gift of happy memories. Surely I can muster the same such courage and carve out a block of time to let my children pretend I’m enjoying this as much as I am.

Age-Appropriate Independence

From toddlers to preschoolers, elementary aged kids to high schoolers, there is independence to be taught and learned. There is SO much to do in the kitchen! 

Toddlers can put muffin liners in pans, pour pre-measured items, and stir.

Preschoolers can measure out dry ingredients, crack eggs, flip pancakes (supervision, supervision!), and use the mixer. 

Once they get to elementary age, there is limitless possibility. Of course it should be monitored and explicitly taught, but my 2nd grader was making ME fried eggs for breakfasts, and helping with all of our fruit and veggie chopping. He loved it, and I loved the help. 

Long story, short: It is amazing what kids are capable of when given the right tools, supervision, and support. Show them you have confidence in them, and their confidence will follow. 

You Never Know… You Might Be Raising the Next Master Chef, Jr.

One true fact about every child is that there is limitless potential to who and what they can become. Embrace their interests now because you never know what kind of hidden talents are waiting to bust out. 

Photo Credit: Mojitos & Munchkins


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18 Responses

  1. Miccah says:

    I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to help me in the kitchen. Thank you for sharing your inner angst, as I’m sure I’ll be cringing as egg whites drip all over the counter and flour is poofed onto every surface. But, like you, being in the kitchen with my mom as a kid is such a happy memory and is absolutely why I love to be in the kitchen now. Honest, real, and funny- great post!

    • April says:

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story. YES, you will definitely be cringing – ESPECIALLY with egg-related spills – But I hope you are able to enjoy the experience in the long run 🙂 Thanks again!

  2. Marie says:

    Hi, April! Visiting from the FMF Facebook page.

    This post made me laugh. I don’t have kids yet, but I do have a mean neat-freak streak. I will probably need to take Xanax or something if/when little ones come into my life and I start the process. Thanks for the smile and the encouragement today. 🙂

  3. 100% Cleaning is part of cooking, love it!

  4. YES yes yes!!!! The link up I shared today is also about cooking. My 3 year old has her own YouTube Cooking Channel!

    • April says:

      That’s amazing! Share the YouTube Cooking Channel. I would love to check it out! My kids love to make cooking videos as well, and pretend they are on Master Chef Jr. I haven’t shared any of it, but maybe I should….. Some of it is pretty funny 🙂

  5. Edwin says:

    This kind of destroying is exactly a learning. Kids will learn how to express their passions and take lessons from its splatters in the kitchen. My messy kitchen is my paradise..

  6. Michele says:

    Such great tips! I love that you let your kids do this! I need to do this more often and let the kids be creative! Thank you for joining us this week at #WanderingWednesday at Confessions of Parenting http://www.confessionsofparenting.com

    • April says:

      Thank you for your kind words, and for stopping by. I’ve crossed paths with some great story tellers at #WanderingWednesday!

  7. klineandtell says:

    Couldn’t agree more! It’s a great teaching opportunity 🙂

  8. Shannon says:

    My husband was a restaurant cook before becoming a stay-at-home dad, so on one hand he really wants to teach our kids to cook. On the other hand, I think it’s going to be very hard for him to give up this kind of control!

  9. Michele says:

    Congrats you are our featured post at #WanderingWednesday! Stop by and say hi! https://confessionsofparenting.com/2017/11/15/wandering-wednesday-10-link-up/

  1. November 15, 2017

    […] We also have April, from Mojitos & Munchkin. April is a proud Iowan, who now lives in Minnesota with her hubby and their three cherubs. After nearly a decade teaching, she is on a break from the classroom and enjoying life as a work-from-home Mom. You can find her writing on Scary Mommy, Daily Mom, and her blog, Mojitos and Munchkins, that she uses as a creative outlet to escape the craziness that comes with life. She loves movies, cocktails, the color purple, homemade spaghetti sauce, day dates and sunny afternoons. She thinks the world would be a better place without temper tantrums, soup, the color navy, temperatures that dip below 20 degrees, and the distance between people she loves. Her insomnia allows her to pin things that she may (or may not ever) try. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. She is featured for her post Why I Let My Kids Destroy the Kitchen […]

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