Knife Safety

Let your kids get familiar with knives!

Everyone is fascinated with knives. But how can you become a competent adult knife user without first spending time with knives as a child? Learn why childhood is actually the best time to explore safe knife use.  Follow the Five Knife Safety Steps and get your kids outside using knives!


Take Risks, Safely: Kids want to do dangerous things. Some more than others, but the draw toward it is real. Get your kids using knives with your supervision to allow them a mentored avenue for their proclivity toward danger. Teach them to feed their need for risk-taking in a responsible way!


Trade a Cut Now for a Lost Finger Later: Kids will get cut using knives, it’s going to happen. Would you rather they get a small cut when you are around to bandage their finger (and hurt pride), or banish them from using knives altogether and worry they’ll only wait until you’re not around to support and mentor them? You don’t really want them playing with knives, you want them using a tool.


Knives are Powerful Tools: They can cut and shape wood, and can cut and misshape flesh. Their power is a double-edged one, and learning how to walk that line with awareness will help your child realize their own power within themselves. Their new confidence will influence other areas of their life, as well.


Connect With a Skill That’s Over 2 Million Years Old: Yes, humans have been using knives for a loooong time! Help them safely reconnect and they’ll think you’re the most awesome mom or dad, ever! Just teach them the following 5 rules:

The 5 Knife Safety Rules

1. Sharp Knife = Safe Knife | Dull Knife = Dangerous Knife. Most parents seem to think that this can’t possibly apply to kids and that their kid will be safer with a dull knife. Please don’t do this. A sharp knife will be more efficient to use, it will require less force, and if it slips it won’t fly out of control. (Learn how to sharpen here.)

2. Stay Seated While Carving. This creates a solid and steady foundation, and avoids the easy temptation to move around with an open knife. Focus all your attention on what you are doing.

3. Create, and Maintain, Your “Blood Bubble.” A blood bubble is defined as anywhere you can reach with the combined length of your arm and your knife blade. Your blood bubble is anywhere that you could accidentally draw blood on someone else. While carving, make sure that there is no one else within your blood bubble! Teach others to respect yours, as well.

4. Cut Away From All Body Parts (and stop cutting if you look away). Note that we didn’t say “always cut away from yourself.” It is easy to be cutting away from your torso but still be cutting toward a finger or even your leg while sitting down. Also, stop cutting if you need to look away, like when talking with someone.

5. Close or Sheathe Knives Not In Use. Knives that are left with the blade exposed pose an obvious hazard. Whenever you are finished using your knife, even if it is only for a few moments, it needs to be folded closed or put into its sheath.

Knife Policy at Summer Camp

For your child to carve during an authorized carving activity, they must be Knife Safety Certified by you and one of our instructors, even if they carve all the time at other programs or at home. If your child is already knife safety certified though Whole Earth, please makes sure they have their Learning Pathways passport for verification. To earn their certification, they will need to recite the 5 Knife Safety Rules and sharpen 10 points on sticks or pencils with their knife at home. Please notify the instructor that there is a knife in the backpack. We will also provide knives for certified students with permission to carve if/when we do a carving activity.

Knife Policy at Coyote Kids!

Coyote Kids! must folow all of the same knife guidelines that we follow at summer camp, including having their Passport showing their certification if they carved in a previous session. Coyote Kids should NEVER bring their knife to the program. We will provide knives if they will be used.