A Whittle Help Needed

Hi Readers! Over at another blog I was just reading about a 4-year-old and his kitchen knife skills. They were good for his age, as evidenced by the video, but it’s not like he’s Julia Child. So I’m wondering: What age can we start teaching kids to use knives? And does anyone have any info about the “olden” days? Like — what age did kids used to start whittling? Going a little further back, at what age did kids start using stone tools? And if anyone knows what is going on in other countries, please tell: Do kids in other cultures use knives or spears or machetes very young?

I have a feeling kiddie knife-use is going the way of tree climbing and fort-making. So zooming back to our present day culture right here in the nervous first world, if you’ve got a simple tip for getting kids started (or getting PARENTS ready to get their kids started) do tell!  Thanks! — L.

Outrage of the Morn’: High School Students Not Allowed to Light Bunsen Burners?

Hi Readers ! This just in. Read it and…give your kids some matches! (Yes, yes, properly supervised, of course.) — L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I am a high school science teacher, parent, and grandparent and a former cubmaster, and I couldn’t agree with you more!  This summer I taught a workshop on building model rockets for 12 to 14 year-olds. None of the 17 kids in the workshop had ever sprayed spray paint, most had never used a utility knife, and two did not know how to tie a knot.

Many of my high school students light their first match in my class when lighting a Bunsen burner ( a task many teachers will no longer allow students to perform). If we deny kids the ability to use tools, we make them crippled.  If we deny kids any risk, they will make their own through risky behavior. — CDB

My question: How did they make it to middle school without ever tying a KNOT? — L.

P.S. This post goes really well with this cartoon!