And the other question is what age is it OK for children to use knives?
I am a great believer in teaching children the safe use of knives as tools. This is best done with one on one supervision in the home, starting with food preparation. Our children started before the age of 3 helping make a fruit salad using a blunt table knife to cut up banana. Even though the knife was blunt we would teach them how to hold it safely and effectively. Once they were very comfortable with this they could use a sharp knife again supervised for cutting up say cucumber. By age 5 they were comfortable with sharp kitchen knives and a good help in the kitchen.
This was about the time we introduced whittling knives, they had already proven they could use knives responsibly as useful tools.
When our children were aged 6 and 9 we were staying at the National folk craft school at Sateglantan in Sweden and visited the knifemaking town of Mora and had a guided tour of the Frosts knife factory. Mora knives are world famous as high quality but good value woodcarving knives. We went round the factory with the owners and with Wille Sundqvist a woodcarving teacher who has been a great inspiration to me. At the end of the tour the owners turned to the children and said “would you like a knife of your own?” and gave them one knife each. One of these.
So what makes a good childs whittling knife? I like fixed bladed knives for proper woodcarving and the little frost knife above is good although the blade guard can get in the way and is not needed. This frosts classic mora knife is also excellent and has small handle suitable for children.
The handle size is important small hands need small handles another nice little knife is the Brusletto balder made in Norway. This has the benefit of a nice leather sheath and a stainless steel blade that won’t rust if put away wet.