This website uses affiliate links at no cost to you. Thank you.
March 26, 2024

Montessori in the Kitchen - We love Nylon Knives

I feel like in Montessori circles there is a lot of love for kids using knives. Child safe knives open up a world of independence for toddlers and preschoolers. And, we introduce knives around here around my babies' first birthdays. But, I think a lot of love falls to the wavy chopper knife, which is honestly a great choice for young toddlers. 

But, wavy choppers are far more limited than my favorite child-safe knife - a nylon knife. The wavy chopper is limited to a chopping (up and down motion). It's great for small children since both their hands can be up and out of the way of the blade. But, only so many different things need to be chopped, often that motion can crush more delicate foods and simply not work at all for larger ones. Plus, they really don't teach the skills needed to work with most adult knives in the future. 

Reasons to Love a Nylon Knife for Your Montessori Toddler

What does teach the skills then? Enter the nylon knife, also called a lettuce knife! These plastic knifes are serrated by not super sharp. They don't rely on chopping, but slicing motion - similar to that of more commonly used adult knives. But unlike sharp knives, they don't easily cut children's skin. 

We've had these knives for more than ten years and have never had one hurt our children. Even small toddlers learning to use these knives can practice the back and forth slicing motion needed to cut larger, harder items. But, yet, they are sharp enough to not squish softer things, like a ripe kiwi. 

I also love that they come in a variety of sizes from those small enough to work well in my 2-year-olds hands, but also large enough to safely be used by me. They are also relatively affordable and easily found. We have these versions of the nylon knives and they have lasted for a decade! Now, there are lots of options available that are fairly similar to one another. 

To introduce a nylon knife, I use hand over hand, or hand under hand, depending on what my child is comfortable with. I model the back and forth slowly without words. I slowly place my other hand to the side (or on top of the knife depending on what we are cutting). Once I have modeled a few times, I do start to add in language. "Back and forth, back and forth." 

These knives really become the main knife my children have reached for over the years. Eventually they move on to sharper easier knives but these still remain a popular choice. I love that they make me feel safe, the kids can use independently, and they really work to cut such a large variety of things!

Have you tried a nylon knife with your Montessori toddler? 

Support me