When kids are cooking, nothing matters more than safety. A lot of moms are scared to let their kids near a knife, but knife safety is important and can be taught early. Here’s the best kids kitchen knife (in our opinion!), and more kid safe cutting tools to help you Mini Chefs chop away safely.
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WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:
- The Best Kids Kitchen Knife
- Kid Safe Knives You May Already Have
- Kitchen Knife Safety for Kids
- More Kid Safe Chopping and Cutting Tools
THE BEST KIDS KITCHEN KNIFE
Since our family business is all about getting the kids in the kitchen, I’ve tested a lot of kids cooking knives and other safety chopping and cutting tools. By far, our absolute favorite kids kitchen knife, is the Curious Chef Nylon Knife.
I recommend the three piece set, especially if you have more than one child. These knives are incredibly safe, with blunt tips, and a serrated edge that is sharp enough to saw through food, but not to cut little hands.
This is a great starter knife, especially if you’re using it with a toddler like I am! Just know that this kids kitchen knife is best for slicing or sawing through food, not for chopping. If your child wants to try chopping, use a regular knife slice whatever hard item (potato, onion, carrots, etc.) into strips for them. Then they can practice chopping those strips.
KID SAFE KNIVES YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE
The first option is an everyday table knife with a serrated edge. Make sure the knife has a round blunt end, not a pointy one. Just like the kids kitchen knife above, these are good for slicing and sawing, or for chopping soft foods or foods that are already sliced thin.
A great practice option with these knives is cutting cereal, like Cheerios or Fruit Loops, in half.
I can’t take credit for this idea, it was actually my daughter who came up with it. I had Fruit Loops for a photography assignment, and had given her a few on the kids’ table. I was doing dishes in the kitchen when I heard her little, just turned two year old, voice say, “Cut it. Cut it.”
I whip around to see that she had pushed a chair over to the counter, climbed onto the counter, and grabbed a steak knife from the butcher block!
I quickly relieved her of her weapon, had a serious talk about sharp and blood, then asked why she wanted a knife. She pointed to the table and said, “Cut Fruit Loops!”
So I gave her a table knife and showed her toddler knife safety, with one hand behind her back. Look at that concentration! I had to snap a photo with my phone.
Table knives are also great for cutting soft fruits like berries, pears, and tangerines.
Another kid safe knife you may already have is a lettuce knife.
These knives are typically plastic or nylon, just like a kids kitchen knife. They are also best for a sawing or slicing motion rather than fine chopping.
But they make a great starter knife for kids, especially if you already have one.
KITCHEN KNIFE SAFETY FOR KIDS
I taught kids’ cooking classes for several years, and knife safety was a BIG part of each class.
The first lesson is that sharp knives are safer to use than dull ones. A dull knife can slip as you forcefully try to make it cut. But we are not going to give our two year old a sharp knife! Their impulse control is way to underdeveloped.
We do however let them start with any of the knives listed above, and teach them to use the knife with fingers wrapped firmly around the handle, and one hand behind their back.
While this isn’t necessary with a serrated kitchen knife for kids, it’s good training for when they first start using a sharp knife.
Now that Corban is 4, he gets to use a sharp knife on occasion. We got him the Kai Little Chef Club Children’s Stainless Steel Knife.
It’s a child knife with a sharp blade, which means it can chop. But it is safer than a typical kitchen knife because it has a blunt rounded end. This knife is just for him, and he is only allowed to use it with supervision. At this age, he’s not quite coordinated enough to safely hold food while he’s cutting it. So he uses it with his hand behind his back, just like he did with a table knife.
If you’re cooking with kids who are older, you can teach them to use a claw hand, to hold their food as they cut. By forming their hand into a claw, and holding the food in place with their finger tips, they are less likely to get a serious injury. If the knife slips, or they cut too close, the knife could slide down their fingers, but not take off a fingertip.
Again, start with soft foods that are easy to slice, until they become more confident and safe in their knife skills.
The Finger Jar
Another trick I used when I taught cooking classes for kids is the finger jar. It’s a trick my 4th grade teacher did with the paper cutter in our classroom, and it still sticks out so strongly in my mind.
The finger jar is just a jar that I would put on the counter next to the chopping station. I’d tell the kids that if they chopped their finger off, they needed to put it in the jar and bring it to me. No one ever chopped a finger off, but seeing the finger jar there next to where they were chopping was a reminder of how careful we needed to be.
I also told them I was joking, and I knew no one was going to chop their finger off. But it served as a great visual reminder for safety!
Safety is number one when cooking with kids!
MORE KID SAFE CHOPPING AND CUTTING TOOLS
If you’re not sure a kids kitchen knife is right for your child, here’s some other chopping and cutting tools that we have let our kids or cooking class kids use.
The Chef’n Garlic Zoom is the coolest way EVER to chop garlic. You simply put peeled garlic cloves inside (you know you can buy those all prepped right?) and close the lid. Then give it to your child and let them drive it like a car all over the counter, floor, cupboard doors, wherever! You end up with perfectly minced garlic, and they feel like a superstar doing it.
A pizza cutter wheel can be fun way for kids to cut food. I find that the wheel works better for kids than an actual slicer with a handle. Plus, they often have blade guards for safe storage.
Just remember that pizza wheels are sharp, and still need to be used with supervision. I let my kids cut pizza with my help.
If they want to use the wheel on their own, they only use it with soft foods, and have to keep both hands on top of the wheel. With foods are that more difficult to cut, they will want to hold onto the food with one hand and could end up cutting their fingers.
While a grape cutter has limited use, it may become your favorite chopping tool in the kitchen. Kids can easily spend 30 minutes individually chopping grapes and cherry tomatoes.
Of course, they will eat them almost as fast as they chop them, so plan on doubling the amount you expect to need!
If you’re nervous about your child using a sharp knife, you may want these knife safe gloves. Unfortunately, they don’t come in extra extra small, but the kid size were great for 8-10 year olds. Honestly, I could use a pair myself sometimes!
A good non-slip cutting board is super important for kids in the kitchen. I like these thin silicone cutting boards because they’re easy for the kids to move on their own.
They can also serve as a non-slip surface under something else like a bowl that they’re mixing in.
SHARE YOUR KIDS KITCHEN KNIFE TIPS!
Do you have any tips to share? Or a favorite product for kids to safely slice and dice with? We’d love to hear from you! Just leave a comment below. We’ll make sure to mention you if we add it to the post!
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