Here are some ideas to help you to get your children involved in the kitchen.
Toddler- get a Learning Tower so they can join you at the counter and help pour pre-measured ingredients into mixing bowls. Don't want to spend the money on a Learning Tower, set them at your dining room table with a bowl filled with some spices and have them mix them, it's always fun to have them smell each of them before they put them into the bowl and even allowing them to taste them if they are curious. Let them snap the ends off of green beans and asparagus as this is always a fun thing for them at this age. Even pulling the silk off of corn can be done at this age. Let them also put the finishing touches on the food by sprinkling a little bit of salt and pepper on everything before it goes into the oven or onto the cook top.
Ages 4-8 - This is a great age for them to begin learning how to whisk and stir batters. have them practice cutting up fruit and vegetables with a small pairing knife (my daughter always loved chopping the tops off of the strawberries), tearing the lettuce to go into the salad and tossing all of the ingredients together, setting the table, clearing the table, and learning how to unload the dishwasher.
Ages 9-12 - Great age for them to start becoming more involved with helping in the kitchen and starting to cook basic meals independently. There are many subscription services that send a box each month to kids that include recipes and a fun kitchen utensil, we love Kidstir for this. You can also have them find recipes in cookbooks or online they want to try. Once they pick it out have them write out the ingredients they need from the store. Once you have everything be on the sidelines ready to assist as needed.
Ages 12+ - they should be able to independently make easy meals for themselves including making a sandwich, eggs, pasta, and macaroni and cheese. Have them help make the side dishes or even give them a night to be head chef! As they get older and more comfortable then the recipes can become more complex.
The key is to make it fun, don't act as if it is a chore for them to do or you will automatically get push back from them. We have found that watching cooking/baking competitions help our children to get into the kitchen more. My children love doing competitions in the summer where they each make a dessert, we have the grandparents over for dinner, and then we all judge which one was the best. Now that they are older we have started to place each one in charge of dinner one night a week; this is fun for them as they are in complete control with what is being served, the preparation of the meal, and then the adults do the clean up.
Have you gotten your children in the kitchen?