Do your kids love to help you in the kitchen?
If so, I bet you've encountered this problem: you set them up with a cutting board and whatever food to chop up, but you either have to give them a table knife (which isn't sharp enough and inevitably slips off the food, resulting in pinched fingers and loads of frustration) or hand them a steak knife or paring knife, which – no matter how much time you've spent teaching them how to use it – is just risky business.
After finding ourselves in that situation for too many dinnertimes in a row, I finally decided to do some hunting. Were there actually knives out there that I could hand off to my kids – including the toddlers – and trust they'd be able to use them without gashing themselves on the first cut?
Turns out there were MORE than a few decent kid knives (yay!) – although a few stood out as excellent for the job.
Now, of course, just because you use a knife designed for kids doesn't mean it's automatically “safe” – it's still a knife. Take the time to teach your kids how to handle both knives and food safely (and be sure to supervise them properly while they're cutting) and they will reap a lifetime of rewards. Not to mention they'll actually be able to help you – not just “help” you!
Safe, Kid-Friendly Knives That Actually Cut
Okay, first, let's talk about what to look for in a knife: When we talk about a knife being “safe,” what do we actually mean? Well, first off, anything flimsy or dull is inherently UNsafe, so you want something that is solid, durable, easy to hold, and is sharp enough to not slip when you push down on it.
Beyond that, you might want a knife that has a dull tip so it can't accidentally knick anyone, and for the younger crowd, a serrated knife is a lovely idea while they're getting used to the proper chopping motions, as the serrated teeth will grab the food more easily and is less likely to slip, but as soon as your child is able, I recommend a smooth-bladed chef's knife.
Kuhn Rikon Doggy Knife – This is our absolutely favorite kid knife, especially for the younger set. Our sons started using it at age 2-3 and use it to help prep ingredients and at the table to cut up food on their own plates. It's easily multi-purpose.
Curious Chef 3-Piece Knife Set – I'm not crazy about nylon knives overall (I prefer metal), but these are well-crafted, are definitely strong enough to cut, and are designed to last. They also fit well in small hands. Thus, they're a great option for young cooks.
Kai Little Chef Club Children's Stainless Steel Knife – This one is great for slightly older kids. It's a solid knife like most chef knives, but it's got a very blunt tip, which is well appreciated. 🙂
My Safe Cutter – This knife looks like a pumpkin carving knife (and can be used as such), but like most Pampered Chef items, it's of solid quality and made to last – and designed with kids in mind. This one is good for both prepping ingredients and using at the table, so it's a multi-purpose option as well.
Zyliss Lettuce Knife – Lettuce knives are designed without metal to keep lettuce leaves from browning as you cut. They're also sharp-but-not-sharp, because they're designed for making precise cuts through tender leaves. Thus, they also make great kids' knives! They're also inexpensive, so if you want to have a number of back-up knives for kids to grab or if you have lots of kids that tend to pile into your kitchen, this knife is a decent way to go.
KiddiKutter – This knife is durable and designed specifically to provide a safe knife option for little hands. The blade cuts well, and it's also able to be used by both right- and left-handed kiddos, so it's multi-functional in multiple ways. 🙂
Wüsthof Gourmet Junior Chef Knife Set – This knife set is over-the-top, but super-fun. I wouldn't get this set just on a whim, but if your child is a serious budding chef and you want to provide tools that will encourage them as they grow, this set is a great option. First off, it's made by Wüsthof, so it's top of the line. The set includes three junior sized-knives, kitchen shears, a knife sharpener (LOVE this – teach your kids how to CARE for their knives too!!!), and a carrying case to keep the knives safe. (You can tell your child that any self-respecting chef arrives at work carrying their own knives rolled up in a carrying case – a knife is a chef's most important tool, and you can't trust that whatever restaurant you work for will have knives that will allow you to do your job they way you like to do it. 🙂 )
So, those are the knives that have made my short-list for being safe, kid-friendly knives. Do you have another knife that you would recommend? If so, please mention it in the comments!