One of my 3.5 year old son’s first 2-word phrases was “sharp knife.” Did I actively encourage this? Constantly brandish my knife or multi-tool and extoll the virtues of being prepared for whatever life threw at me? No way! But if I know one thing about kids, it’s that they see and hear everything. They are always watching. Always listening. And if you’re not careful, they will use it against you! Without ever intending to do so, my son became enamored with my gear and wanted to see them all the time. Now, my girls were also interested, but because he was a curious 2 year old at the time, he was constantly trying to reach into my pockets to grab my gear. For most things, this is annoying, but for knives or multi-tools, this had to stop! My wife suggested I just stop carrying a knife, but after a few minutes of laughing, I asked if she had any other useful suggestions. As the smart woman she is, she explained “lean into it.” Now I’m not saying I rushed out to buy my son his own Ontario Knife Company Rat 2, but it did make me think. How can I satisfy my kids’ urges to emulate my hobby? Christmas was fast approaching, so I decided to get all of the kids some small stocking stuffers to scratch their EDC itch.

  • Nite Ize DoohicKey Keychain multi-tool – I was looking for lower cost items because I knew there was a chance my kids would lose their new EDC tools. This is such a great little tool and you cannot beat the price! While my kids won’t be popping any bottles of their own, they can certainly help their old man out. The great thing about this multi-tool is that it can clip onto things (Hint: Kids LOVE things that clip) and has a “box cutter” that is not sharp at all and can act as a pry. Mostly my kids stab it repeatedly into the top of a box/tape until they get lucky and can open that sweet Amazon goodness that showed up at the door.
Nite Ize DoohicKey. This is such a nice, affordable EDC option for adults and kids alike!
  • Gerber Shard Keychain multi-tool – I mostly got this one because of the Philips head screwdriver. It also has a nice pry edge that they can get some leverage on and another bottle opener. I threw some Paracord on this so that the kids could all tell each other’s apart. The major downside of this tool is that my son will sometimes poke his sisters with the Philips head screwdriver and then all hell breaks loose.
Gerber Shard, another affordable tool. Color coordinated carries for each kid helps them tell their tools apart!
  • Nite Ize Inova Squeeze Light LED – I will put a huge caveat on this one. The battery cover does come off fairly easily, so if your kid still puts anything in their mouth, I would skip this one entirely. Know your kid and don’t let them play with batteries by themselves. With proper supervision though, kids love flashlights and it helps them feel like they are exploring. This is not going to win any awards for brightness, but it is cheap and does what it’s supposed to do, which is keeping my kids paws off of my flashlights
Nite Ize makes some great gear. This Inova flashlight is great, but I will say you need to keep an eye on the younger ones with this one. The battery compartment slides off with a little effort.
  • Keyfob – I made each of my kids simple leather keyfobs to keep all of their tools on. This helps to distinguish each of their tools because I used different colored thread for the stitching, plus it keeps everything together. Now the keyfob and tools do still get lost every once and a while, but eventually it turns up and the kids can resume their EDC journey.

Honorable mentions:

If your kid is a little bit older, they can probably start EDCing some tools with scissors. I wanted each of my kids to have the same setup, so I erred on the side of caution and omitted scissors. However, I definitely want to hook them up with more gear as they get older and can handle the responsibility. Here are a couple tools that I’ve considered:

  • Victorinox Jetsetter – This is a lot like the Victorinox Rambler that I’m so fond of, but it is bladeless and just features scissors, and screwdriver, and bottle opener. I’ve personally thought about getting one for myself for when I travel and cannot bring knives.
  • Leatherman Style PS – Jason’s son EDC’s one of these, and to be honest, I’ve also thought this would make another good travel-friendly option for myself and finally get me a pair of pliers into my carry.

Well there you have it. It’s great to involve your kids in your hobbies. My kids are happy and while my son still tries to steal some stuff from my pocket, he knows to stay clear of the knives. And because I know my kids are always watching, I’m constantly making sure that I demonstrate responsible tool use and explain when it is appropriate to carry tools and when it is not (i.e. no tools at school!).

Do you involve your kids in your hobbies? If so, how? As always, feedback is welcome and appreciated!