At Playful Matters we begin developing scissor cutting skills from two and half years of age. It is one of our most popular activity trays! Read on to see how you can introduce your preschooler to using scissors with a variety of fun and simple materials for cutting.
Tips for success when developing scissor cutting skills
- Safety first! Never give a young child a pair of scissors and walk away. Remind the child that scissors are a special tool with sharp edges that need to be handled very carefully.
- The right scissors. A quality pair of kids scissors. We really like these beginner scissors from Cleverpatch. The child needs to squeeze to make the cut and they gently open back up when the child releases their squeeze.
- Explore and exposure. Just let them snip away at play dough snakes, which does not require the child to hold onto what they are cutting. They may use both hands to manipulate the scissors opening and closing. Focus only on using the scissors safely, tidying up and packing away.
- Proper hand positioning. Show your child that the thumb goes through the small hole at the top of the scissors and the other fingers in the bottom hole. I love this tip from Happy Hooligans:
Draw a smiley face on the thumbnail of the cutting hand and remind the child that they should always be able to see the smiley face when they are cutting
Developing scissor cutting skills with play dough
Play dough’s soft texture makes it easy to cut and children at different cutting skill levels can all find success when cutting play dough.
- Roll some play dough into snakes. Have the children join in making snakes for some great fine motor activity.
- Demonstrate holding a snake with one hand and cutting off small chunks.
This is great practice for developing scissor cutting skills and it encourages children to approach the task at a level they are comfortable with. This child is happy to let the table hold most of the snake for him.
Then as they grow in confidence this play dough activity allows the child to extend themselves. Here that same child is holding a piece of play dough in one hand and cutting with the other hand.
Our cutting activity tray is available at all times and has a variety of materials to cut. While I supervise the safe use of the scissors the children are using the activity tray independently. So far the children have had experiences cutting straws (a huge favourite!), thick card, yarn and paper. Often our cut pieces will end up on the gluing activity tray to be included in the collages made there.
Have you tried introducing your young child to scissors yet? Let me know in the comments!