Our ultimate pocket knife guide will walk you through everything there is to know about your child’s first knife and provide you with some of the best brands around.

Choosing the Right Knife

Once you feel your child has enough maturity to handle a knife, it comes down to which kind of pocket knife you deem the most suitable and the most useful to your kid.

Firstly, we highly recommend checking the blade length restrictions in your area and the general legality in your home state.

But in either case, we do not recommend anything with an extremely large blade or a knife that can unintentionally flap open and injure somebody.

Secondly, figuring out which use this knife is going to have is also going to determine whether or not it is a good knife for your kid. Here are some options to consider when it comes to the use of the knife:

  • Everyday Carry: If you are looking for something that your kid can use for EDC, then a Swiss Army knife/ multi-tool of any sort can be used for opening envelopes and boxes, and just sorting out the little things is probably the best.
  • Carving: If you have a crafty kid that enjoys woodwork and carving, a pen knife with a more pointy blade as a first knife is recommendable. Locking knives or a specific slip joint knife can also be good options for children to learn to carve.
  • Hunting & Fishing: The buck knife is probably one of the most famous hunting and fishing tactical folding knives. Locking blades are quite crucial when using these knives for hunting or fishing because you do not want the blade to suddenly snap closed when using a bit of pressure while deskinning or deboning an animal.
  • Heirloom Knives: Many parents like to gift their children the knife they received as their first knife, such as a cub scout knife, because of all the associated memories. On top of that, the blades may be a bit more worn and do not pose such a huge danger of injury.
1. Victorinox Swiss Army Knife

A good first pocket knife to recommend is any Swiss Army knife, as it is a decent folding knife with a locking mechanism keeping the attachments in place and preventing accidental opening or slipping.

Check out the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, which comes with many other useful smaller, versatile tools that your kid can use on its days out in nature or in your tool shed. As with any Swiss Army knife, it’s got a safe folding blade.

2. Spyderco Ambitious

If you want to keep it simple, the Spyderco Ambitious is a decent pocket knife with a slightly higher price and a single blade. It has a liner lock and a blade length of only 2.25 inches. This is quite a versatile knife, despite only having a single blade.

3. Schrade Old Timer Minute Man

Another popular folding knife that resembles the Swiss Army knife and is like a traditional hand-me-down of your first knife is the Schrade Old Timer Minute Man. It has two blades; one smaller and rounded, the other longer and a tad sharper at the end.

more knives to consider

Other famous folding knives or slip joint knives to look into are the Canoe knife, Congress knife, Elephant’s Toenail, or Sunfish knife of your choice. Each of these has a locking blade to keep the blade open and protect your children from getting their fingers caught between the handle and the blade.

There’s something special about gifting folding knives as pocket knives to your children because it comes with a feeling of sentiment and tradition. Most of us probably received such an item from our parents – our first and very own pocket knife.

On the other hand, there is also something unique and boy scout-ish about a knife with a fixed blade.

While these knives are safe in the sense that the blades are never unintentionally in an open position, if not handled with care and all fingers out of the way, they can cause injury when folding. With a fixed blade, the item of concern is always visible and serves as a gentle reminder to proceed with caution and respect.

4. Morakniv Scout

If your kid enjoys the great outdoors, a scout knife such as the Morakniv Scout is ideal. You can buy a leather pouch for your kid that they can wear around their belt, or just a smaller version to protect the blade and your kid and even have it personalized.

5. Opinel No 7 Scout knife

The Opinel Scout knife is probably the best bet for those who enjoy an extra bit of safety. The French quality knife is made directly for children; there’s no safer knife for kids. The Opinel No 7 Scout knife has a specially rounded tip, so there are no accidental poke injuries.

On top of that, the handle is made of wood, giving it a proper outdoorsy feeling and a good grip for sweaty child hands, and the blade is under 3 inches long. It sounds like the perfect deal, especially thanks to the extremely affordable price!

6. Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter

Speaking of sweaty and slippery kid’s hands – a grippy handle is always recommendable, especially when you want to gift your kid their first hunting knife! The Cold Steel Pendleton Mini Hunter comes with a 3-inch fixed blade, perfect for taking your kid on your first hunting trips together.


Here is further information on how to introduce your child to knives and knife handling.

What age is the right age to introduce your child to knives?

Generally, the age of ten is deemed a good stage in your child’s development to start introducing useful tools such as knives. At this age, most children have understood the concept of cause and effect and therefore understand what can happen with a sharp blade around.

However, that completely depends on your judgment and your child’s level of development.

Some kids are very independent, fast-learning, and careful at that age, whereas others can be more reckless or do not understand the level of responsibility that comes with a tool such as a pocket knife and risk injuring themselves or others.

Therefore, perhaps teach your kid how to handle knives without giving them their own at first and see how they respond to it to determine whether or not they can handle it.

What are some basic knife handling rules to teach my child?

When you gift your kid pocket knives, always make sure they understand the basic rules that can prevent them from unwanted consequences such as injury:

  • Never use your knife as a toy to play around with.
  • Always handle your knife with respect and with the potential of injury in mind.
  • Do not walk or run with the knife in an open position.
  • Always make sure the blade is facing away from your body or anybody else.
  • Make sure you grip your knife well so it doesn’t slip.
  • Never leave your knife open if you aren’t using it.
  • If you pass your knife to someone else, always close it or turn the blade away from them.
  • Always hand someone else the handle of your knife, not its blade.
  • If you have folding knives, make sure your fingers never get caught between the blade and the handle.
  • Never use excessive force with a knife, as the blade can break or close unintentionally.

Correct your child’s mishandling of a knife and ensure they know how dangerous such objects can be when treated carelessly.

What if my kid is not ready for a knife but wants one?

Sometimes, as much as we want them to be, our kids will not be ready to handle a real knife just yet, and that is ok.

If you want them to familiarize themselves with knives regardless, getting them something like the Nathan’s Knife Kit can be an incredibly important step in their knife journey.

This is a handle and blade made of wood, meaning less harm can be caused with this knife. It folds and opens just like any other tactical folding knife but doesn’t pose any dangers to your child or others and is a great knife precursor.

Once your child seems to have a better understanding and respect for real knives, you can still ensure that they only use knives under your supervision and don’t have to gift them their own one just yet.

Final Thoughts

Gifting a knife is a wonderful tradition and marks the first very independent steps of your child and can therefore be quite sentimental.

Do not let emotions cloud your judgment, however; when it comes to your child’s maturity, make sure they are ready for the responsibility of handling and bearing a knife, no matter which style of blade you gift them.