Carving & Whittling For Children – Benefits & Tips

Whittling is the art of carving shapes with a knife.  Children love creating and there is something satisfying about making something from wood.  Our little lady adores her woodwork classes at school, which she has been doing for a few years now.  We have purchased two books to help us with our new endeavour of whittling for children.  They are Bushcraft, A Family Guide and Forest Craft – A Child’s guide to Whittling.  They are really good guides to get you started, and once you and your children become a little more practised you may be able to make really useful items as well as gifts!  In the beginning you may be a little put off about the idea of children using knives, but if they are closely supervised and you trust them, they will just blossom with their skill and confidence in using it.  Before you start, make sure you have discussed with them proper handling of the knife and rules for handling knives.  Read on if you need convincing about how whittling for children benefits them.

9 Benefits Of Whittling For Children:

  1. It helps them learn knife skills, which are important life skills in general.
  2. They find is stimulating and challenging.
  3. It can be very relaxing despite the concentration and work involved.  
  4. The children are connecting with their natural environment.
  5. They are exploring and learning about different wood types.
  6. They are assessing and managing risk in keeping themselves and others safe.  
  7. Their natural curiosity is being channelled into something useful.
  8. It helps foster independence.  We are helping them to become more capable as well as assess risks.
  9. It helps with coordination.

4 Tips To Use With Whittling For Children:

  1. Start with easy tasks.  Such as stripping bark off a stick.  This stick can then be used to toast marshmallows over the campfire. Or feathering a stick that can then be used for kindling on the campfire.
  2. Making something comes secondary to learning to use the knife, so make sure you highlight that to the children.  
  3. Start with softer easier woods such as silver birch, alder, or sycamore.
  4. Use young wood that is not so dried out…but never take it off the bush or tree, always use what you can find lying around you on the ground.  

Whittling for children is a great activity, and both they and you can have a lot of fun doing it.  Importantly, make sure you always have a first aid kit ready, just in case of an accident.  If you want to learn more about purchasing a knife for children, the benefits of them using one, rules, and tips, click here to read my post which goes into all that in more depth 🙂

Carving and whittling for children - tips and benefits, carving, whittling for children, bushcraft, survival skills, outdoor learning, nature play,

Comments 12

  1. As a child we would love for activities like this as every year we would go camping with my parents and grandparents. But its always a worry doing things like this with my little girl, but she’s becoming more and more independent. But like you say there are so many benefits of children learning such skills

  2. Our 3 each have their own knives for when we go camping. My father-in-law made me a knife of my own. We have allowed them to whittle and my husband carved a bow out of willow, it is a fantastic skill.

  3. Whittling always reminds me of Astrid Lindgren’s Emil books (though I know him as Michel from the German translations). Where he is sent to the shed when he’s been naughty, and whittles all these figures.

  4. Looks and sounds great but I just couldn’t imagine letting my five year old use a sharp knife. I am sure he would be fine, I’m just a worrier!xx

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  5. Hi Sonia, absolutely love and do this with my son. The pointed end of the blades is always a concern for me. I have often gone out of my way to make it blunt. Do your children do some whittling without supervision?

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      hi, Thankyou for reading! I am never far away when they are whittling. They were much younger when I wrote this article. My twins are now 10 and have earnt their own knives and badge at scouts, and our daughter is fourteen. they are not allowed the knives when I am not around, but I no longer sit right beside them while they are doing it. I hope this helps.

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