Often the thought of giving your little one a pair of scissors fills your mind with images of home haircuts, clothing with extra holes, and possibly an unplanned doggy trim! Learning to cut and use scissors safely might seem daunting for you and your child, but scissors are a fantastic tool for your child to master. Using scissors is great for developing fine motor skills, visual motor control, using two hands together in a co-ordinated manner, and is an essential skill for kindy craft and collage, and also for Prep worksheets and creative art activities.
It will take supervision and practice, but if you follow these few steps, your child will be snipping away happily at home and making craft projects in no time!
- If you are concerned about impulse control, before you start cutting, practice games that involve following directions, especially “stop and go”, “fast and slow”, and “open and shut”. Musical statues, Simon Says and obstacle courses are great here. Also practice carrying scissors safely and have a few rules about always cutting with an adult and store them out of reach.
- Lots of children initially hold scissors with two hands. Practice using tongs and hole punches with one hand to help your child build up hand strength and get used to the movements for opening and shutting tools with one hand.
- Show your child how to hold scissors for cutting – fingers on the bottom and thumb on top. Keeping this position will help the blades cut and avoid paper bending which can be frustrating.
- Consider using self-opening scissors (they have a little clip that helps to push open the scissors) to start snipping. Try rolling out a playdough snake and have your child “snip it” – it is great to practice one single snip first many times for your child to get the feel of cutting with scissors. You can also cuts strips of paper for your child to snip, or use straws or cardboard and snip these into smaller pieces.
- Consecutive cuts are next – this involves moving the scissors forward while opening and shutting the scissors to cut the paper. Start with cutting paper in half and holding with a helper hand.
- Once your child can cut along a piece of paper, try cutting in different directions (you can put stickers on paper for a target) and then start following a line.
- Move on to cutting out shapes, turning corners and making spirals and other projects. If you prompt your child to turn the paper with their helper hand and keep the scissors straight, complex shapes and turning corners will be much easier – we call this “clever cutting”.
Have fun and here is a little rhyme to use at home:
Fingers on the bottom,
Thumb on top,
Open up the scissors and
Chop, chop, chop!