Two Knife Skills to Teach Your Child Today

child using knife
Photo by Adriana Velez
We were all watching Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution together a few weeks ago when Oliver went into a rant about schools giving kids sporks and never teaching them how to use a fork and knife. My first indignant thought was Indeed! How could anyone neglect such a basic skill? But then I remembered we hadn't gotten around to teaching our son how to use a knife yet, either. Oops.

So, if your child is capable of using a pencil -- or a Wii for that matter -- he or she is ready to be taught how to use a knife. (Usually around kindergarten.) Here are two basic knife skills to start with. And remember to start with a butter or table knife, not the big chef's knife.


Knife skill #1: Spreading Have your child hold a piece of bread with one hand and the knife with their dominant hand. Then show them how much peanut butter, jam, or butter (softened!) to scoop up and how to use the flat edge to smear it across the bread.

Knife skill #2: Cutting Have your child pin down a soft piece of fruit or vegetable with a fork. Then show them how to saw back and forth with the knife in their other hand until they cut all the way through.

You may want to do a little cutting yourself beforehand just to remember hand positions -- something we usually take for granted.

Next week, rapid-fire dicing with a Ginsu knife!

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