My son's 1st knife was a Theo Kline toy swiss army knife I got him when he was 2 or 3, just to get the gist of it and have fun... *(not sure where that one got to though, somewhere in his playroom I'm sure). These are subsequently, bottom to top, the rest of his current knife collection. (Can you tell what his favorite color is?) Bottom to Top -A plastic Klecker kit; he put it together himself and could have fun with it. (Age 5) -my first opinel no.7; Needed a bit of wd40 to loosen up the twist-lock, but is a real sharp as a laser slicer, without the pokey-poke tip. It was great to learn basic slicing and edge respect under supervision. (Age 6 w/ supervision) -Rough Rider doctor's knife; has a great easy pull for his little fingers, (something you'll want to test with any slipjoint given to a child). (age 7) His current "go-to" when he needs it, although he still asks 1st and I oversee him in action. -Ka Bar small Dozier; his thumb strength and dexterity still isn't "quite" ready for it 100%. He fumbles a bit with closing it, but he's real close to having it down. I'll let him pocket it on walks. -Mora safe knife; full fixed blade version of the 1st opinel no.7, sharp as a mora should be, but without the stabby-stab. Still working on proper fixed blade handling. At 7, (his birthday was 1 mos. ago) all of them are in a desk where he can access them. He will still ask before he just goes and grabs them, and I'll still watch him as he uses them, but he knows where they are and I'll continue to trust him until he gives me reason not to. Most likely, if that day ever comes, (hopefully not but "if"), it will probably also be the day he learns 1st hand the very valuable lesson(s) about knives and knife safety that I've been preaching for his entire short little life... As for "the right age", that has to be a child by child decision that only the parent/guardian can really decide. Some kids are more mature then others, more intuitive, more trustworthy, etc. Whereas others might be wreckless, careless, wild child, etc. So only the person(s) in that position can really make that determination of whether or not they feel that their child is ready or not.