A good knife makes a huge difference to a child’s experience in the kitchen. Frida is very nearly three and she currently uses the following knives, which we presented to her in this order:
1. Crinkle cutter (far left). She began using this when she was around a year old, and it has been our most used kitchen tool to date. It’s so effective and easy to use for little hands, and although the blade is fairly sharp it feels very safe because of the design. It has allowed Frida to contribute to cooking by letting her cut both soft and hard food easily. I recommend this to everyone, and think it is the perfect “first knife”.
2. Child size butter knives (middle left). These are great for spreading and also cutting soft foods, and are very safe. If you feel nervous about introducing a knife to your child, this is a great place to start.
3. Kuhn Rikon kinderkitchen (middle right). We introduced this around age two and a half, where it was immediately christened “John Joiner” by Frida (after the little dog with a saw in Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers”). If you want to read more about this knife I reviewed it here. In summary: I like it, but a few months down the line Frida is still working on the correct sawing motion needed to use it really effectively.
4. Opinel Le Petit Chef (far right). This is the most recent addition to Frida’s knife collection, and it is brilliant. I had put off buying it as I had read comments from others saying that it was a bit big and unwieldy for their little ones, so we bought the Kuhn Rikon first, but actually? I think Frida finds this one easier to use. It is much sharper, so makes it easier to cut through harder foods such as carrots, and she doesn’t have to use a sawing motion in order to cut effectively. Because of it’s shape it feels very safe despite the sharpness. I love that there is a space to teach correct finger placement, as well as a handy finger guard, and I think it will be used for many years to come. There is also a complete set which includes a great looking vegetable peeler, although I didn’t buy it because we rarely – if ever?! – peel vegetables, preferring to buy organic where possible and give them a scrub before cooking.
Frida will occasionally use one of my sharp knives under very strict supervision, but at the moment I don’t feel comfortable providing free access to them. (Well, technically she does have free access to adult knives, as she can put her stool next to the drawer and get it out, but she has never shown any inclination to do this and in fact has never shown the slighted bit of interest in her knives outside of cooking. Scissors on the other hand…)
Writing this post has made me reflect on something; I take such care in selecting good tools for my daughter, yet I only have two semi-decent knives myself despite cooking all the time. I have a big birthday coming up next month (eek!) so I have told my husband that I would like a great knife for my birthday.
Does your child have access to knives in the kitchen? Which do they like to use?
Here are 40 practical life activities suitable for toddlers.
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