For kids, baking is the gateway drug to cooking. Get them hooked on making chocolate zucchini cupcakes and before long they’ll be onto zucchini enchiladas.

Problem is, baking is messy, especially when it involves the clumsiness of pint-size cooks. Indeed, “mess avoidance” is often what keeps us parents (myself included at times) from inviting kids into the kitchen.

Here’s one tiny tip for how to keep a clean kitchen when cooking with kids: Before you get started, tear off a generous piece of parchment paper, set it on the counter, and use that as your work surface. Do all your weighing, measuring, sifting, and mixing on that paper. Once you’ve got the goodies prepped, carefully lift the parchment and tip any spillage right into the compost. That same piece of parchment needn’t go to waste. Use it to line your pan for baking pan or your cookie tin for storing. Sour cherry oatmeal bars / momskitchenhandbook.comFor more tips on getting kids into the kitchen go here. Got any tips of your own for cooking with kids? Do tell…in the comments section below.