Recently I watched a video featuring scientist, speaker, and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking about letting kids be kids (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbX6aMfPtEw). In this speaking engagement he used an example about kids cracking an egg and parents naturally reacting in dismay. Between me and Jeff he is a germophobe and I am messy. It really depends on your perspective. Either way our son, Rayden, is allowed to make messes. How far those messes go depends on which parent is supervising. Often I’ll allow Rayden to sit on the kitchen counter or explore the refrigerator while I make food.
One time Rayden had cracked an egg and let the contents inside spill all over him and the kitchen counter. I frantically said, “Rayden, don’t waste eggs!” Then I immediately remembered the video with Neil Tyson and I stopped my frantic reaction while watching egg goop slowly spread over the kitchen counter, tucking itself underneath the cutting board, and splotches of it being absorbed in Rayden’s clothes and socks. Then I thought, “Eh, it’s just one egg.” The egg incident is not the first time Rayden has experimented with his food. He has made all-purpose flour paintings, smashed blackberry wall art, all sorts of face masks with spaghetti, hummus, fruit pouches, butter, almond butter, tahini, soy sauce, egg goop, mashed potato, coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, spice cabinet, pudding, etc., and lots of different carpet stain and tile designs.
Letting Rayden make messes has really allowed him to be interested in his food. To be honest, I LOVE his messes. I love how he eats his messes. I love how he gets to explore and know what his messes actually taste, feel, smell, and look like. I think it has helped keep his palette diverse for a 1 1/2 year old and allows him to feed and fulfill his curiosity of how things work.
While I do advocate for children to make messes it needs to be done with supervision and care. Rayden is not allowed to touch knives, certain cooking utensils and machines if they’re plugged in. The stove and oven are completely off limits. However, when those things are off, for example, I’ll let Rayden pretend to make his own smoothies with the blender and put random objects in the kitchen aid mixer.
So, let them make messes. Let them cook or assist you in the kitchen. Let them explore the pots and pans. Let them watch you cook around the kitchen, grab food out of the refrigerator, close and open containers, chop food with a knife, taste-test your food with a smile, and wash dirty dishes. Make messes and make memories.
Here is a recipe that Rayden absolutely loves while making messes:
|6-8 Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half|
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Drizzle by hand|
|Simple Bread with Herbs*|
|Mozzarella – sprinkle over by hand|
|¼ Onion chopped|
|Parmesan Cheese – sprinkle by hand|
|5 ounces of Ricotta Cheese|
|Salt and Pepper|
|Slow Roasted Garlic*|
|1 Zucchini slivered|
Do you have similar stories and messes in your kitchen? Feel free to share in the comments. Until next time, take care and eat well!