The Cutting Truth: Activities to Develop Scissor Skills

The Cutting Truth: Activities to Develop Scissor Skills



cutting-scissorsScissor skills are an important part of every child’s early childhood development. Although most of us recognize that fact, we don’t always realize why children need scissor skills. Aside from the obvious use of scissors, there is also a relationship between scissor skills and writing, and then between writing and reading. Research shows that children who struggle with scissors, will often struggle in correctly forming letters, and children who can’t form letters correctly may have trouble reading. Unfortunately this can lead to frustration, and some children develop a dislike of not only writing, but also reading.

When is the Best Time to Begin Scissor Skills?
By the time a child is two, you can start working on cutting. I was able to find a great pair of scissors that has an extra set of finger holes for a parent to help guide the child with cutting.

  1. These scissors allow me to teach proper technique for holding scissors.
  2. Then my child and I sing an open and close song to work on the mechanics of cutting.
  3. Lastly, either standing behind my child or with her on my lap, I help hold the paper to teach turning and guiding techniques as we follow the lines we are cutting along.

So, we end up enjoying cuddle time together during cutting as much as we do during reading.

Activities to Help Children Begin to Master Scissor Skills

  • Clay Play: Part of the success of cutting and writing, is the strength of children’s fingers. One of the best materials for working those finger muscles is [easyazon-link asin=”B001GIB3FQ” locale=”us”]clay[/easyazon-link] – play-dough is fine, too, but clay is definitely preferred. The clay takes much more strength to manipulate, therefore providing children with great opportunities for finger muscles — a great warm up for cutting.
  • Play-Doh Cutting: [easyazon-link asin=”B001E2IBOU” locale=”us”]Play-Doh[/easyazon-link] has its place, though. With a pair of [easyazon-link asin=”B00756JZQ2″ locale=”us”]plastic scissors[/easyazon-link], you have another wonderful tool for increasing scissor success. Keeping scissors straight, and applying the appropriate pressure to cut through paper can be incredibly challenging for some children. The amazing thing about play dough and plastic scissors is no matter how you cut, you succeed!
  • Play-Doh Line Cutting: Want to create ‘lines’ for your child to follow? I use cookie cutters, and instead of pushing all the way through, I only depress half-way. This leaves an ‘outline’ for children to follow with their scissors to practice cutting along lines.
  • Basic Cutting: Give children leftovers from when you wrap gifts, such as scraps of paper, ribbon, cards, envelopes and some scissors and just let them cut to their heart’s content.
  • Cut and Collage: Want to use those cut up ribbon, cards, envelopes and paper scraps? Give children white glue and a cardboard (use a side of the cereal box), and let them create a colorful collage.
  • Snip and Weave: To reuse holiday or birthday cards, with your child make small snips around the edges of the card. Then, give your child yarn to weave or wrap around. The weaving helps to develop fine motor skills necessary for both cutting and writing.
  • Structured Snipping: For a more structured activity, give your child strips of construction paper about one inch wide and have them cut straight across.
  • Paper Trail Game: For added fun, have children cut paper as above, and then leave a trail for you to find them. Once you have found them, turn the tables and leave a trail for your children to track you. Have them pick up paper pieces as they try to find you, increasing their use of fine motor skills and strengthening their pincher grasps.
  • Race Tracks: Does your child like race cars? Then take a legal piece of paper, and draw a ‘race track’ in black marker for them to cut out with their scissors. Need a wider target to follow, create the road with black electrical tape and have your child cut along the side of it.

Think out of the box, and be creative in developing creative cutting situations that your children will enjoy.