I must agree with everyone that recommended a SAK as a first knife. I like the Alox scales and prefer them in a bright colour so they are more visible and look less threatening in public.

There is a SAK called "My First Victorinox Plus" seen here The biggest difference of this model is that the main blade has a rounded point.

I also agree that a locking blade would be preferred but as it has already been said, we all used non-locking blades as kids and learned the limitations of them.

Concerning small pocketknife sized saws. I have had great success using a SAK or Leatherman saw in the field for cutting trees and branches 1 to 3 inches in dia. Last week I cut through the leg bones of a deer with a Leatherman TTi saw, it took about 30 seconds per leg.

Good topic, I think that at the right time the gift of a knife can develop responsibility and show trust in a growing child. My 3 kids all recieved there first knife around 10 years old, after careful instruction on use and safety.