If you have children and they love helping out in the kitchen, you are going to have messes and spills. Although there are no child proof counter tops, there are one's that are rough enough to handle a child's mess. If you are remodeling and have children there are pros and cons to the counter top material you will order. You may want to choose one that will stand up to the wear and tear the kids will give it.
If you want a counter top that is waterproof and easy to clean, Laminate is a good choice. Laminate can be purchased to imitate other types of materials such as wood and granite. Your lighter laminates don't show any scratches or cracks as much as other counter tops would. Your darker laminates hide any stains. The down side of this choice, is because the laminate is thin you can chip the edges, but they can be patched. Also you can not place hot pans on the laminate, but if you do it is inexpensive to replace.
Durable and easy to clean counter tops would be your granite. It can with stand the heat of hot pans on them. It is durable, but can be chipped if hit extremely hard, and also must be sealed to keep from staining. Also granite can be pricey. But it is worth it, because it can with stand wear and tear. Very rarely does it need to be replaced. If it does that can be expensive and labor intense.
Like in a commercial kitchen, stainless steel is another counter top choice. Very easy to clean and can with stand hot pans and pots. This type of counter top is also water proof, and will not form mold or bacteria.
Any spills easily wipe away. You do however get fingerprints, but these easily wipe away. Stainless steel can get scratches, but over time will fade. On the down side they are expensive and do require a special installation.
Wood when treated properly is durable for a family counter top. Not to expensive, but do require a mineral oil treatment to keep them looking good. They can stain however, and show any cutting marks, and will also burn from hot pans. But any of these problems can be sanded out and resealed. Properly sealed will also help your wood counter top not retain moisture. If not sealed properly you will get moisture, and odors and bacteria will start to grow. You will then have a negative counter top for your family.