My kiddos love to help cook. I can't say it's the most efficient way to get dinner on the table, but I try to let them help me whenever I can. However, in order to keep things orderly, I institute a few rules.
1. Wear aprons!
2. Get ingredients out first. Great thing to let them do.
3. Take turns (of course). Divide the ingredients between the children, as well as the steps.
4. I always stand between the kids for easy access to each one.
5. Vary which aspect you get help with. Will it be measuring, pouring, mixing, etc? Add a little more responsibility every time you cook.
7. Make sure the kids help clean up too - that's part of cooking
Cooking is a great way to encourage teamwork, math skills, and upper body coordination (think holding a big bowl and stirring). I always recommend cooking activities to parents of children I work with, and with just a little pre-planning, it can be a fun and non-stressful experience for everyone. Just be sure to keep it simple - no Julia Child or Iron Chef. At least not until the kids can clean up for themselves.