Whittling is fun. I introduced my little boy to whittling this weekend. He loved it, and compared it to peeling vegetables with a vegetable peeler.
I decided to introduce him to whittling at this young age (7) after reading an article about The Kindergarten in the Woods in Mothering magazine. The little five-year-olds are shown sitting around a large lump of earth in the forest in a circle, each whittling a stick. The expression of contented absorption on their faces is very touching.
Think about your safety rules before starting.
I suggest you use a knife which does not fold up.
A sharp knife is safer than a dull one.
The child should be sitting when using a knife.
The hand which holds the stick must always be behind the knife.
The knife must always carve away from the body.
Give the child a section of green stick which does not have branches. It is frustrating to hit knobs.
Show your child how to hand a knife to another person properly. (Hold it by the handle, with the handle pointing towards the other person.)
Now, watch the long strips of bark curl around his feet.
He will feel strong, proud, and capable.