You can't have enough cooks in the kitchen.
I reflect back on having kids, now that all mine are grown and I have become a grandmother. One of the most gratifying family times for me has been cooking with my kids and their friends. I think I stumbled upon this as an awesome parenting strategy. It turns out that it gives you time to talk. Because it also keeps you occupied, it helps to keeps the tone light.
Cooking a meal teaches everyone tolerance, though slowly. It promotes cooperation, planning, safety skills... the list goes on. It settles people's energy back on the home life and shows how much fun you can have together. I cannot recommend it enough.
Start early and be relaxed about messes. Having said that, don't be afraid to teach kids to tidy up before beginning to cook; The French call it "Mise en Place", or to put in place. Likewise, don't be afraid to teach them enthusiasm in cleaning up. And in this matter, lead by example. And to help yourself, have a great collection of cookbooks or Pinterest Pins at the ready for inspiration.
For a great guide on age appropriate cooking activities, click HERE. This is from Rutger's, entitled "Cooking Brings Kids and Families Together".
Cornell Cooperative Extension has a great article HERE, titled "Cooking Together as a Family has Multiple Rewards".
And from WebMD, "Cooking With Your Children" HERE.
Here are some books on the subject:
"Cooking Time Is Family Time: Cooking Together, Eating Together, and Spending Time Together", by Lynn Fredericks
"The Table Comes First, Family, France and the Meaning of Food", by Adam Gopnik
And here are some fun blog posts on the subject:
It's fun to start in the kitchen with small children. But the good news is, it's even more fun when your kids have grown.