In this article, learn about ways to teach preschoolers how to use scissors correctly with appropriate, effective, and safe skills.
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Teaching Kids How to Use Scissors
During the preschool years, kids will begin to use scissors for a variety of tasks. Not only do we teach them the skill of cutting in order to complete academic tasks, we also teach them the correct way to use scissors in order to promote safety. We know that kids can cause a lot of damage when not using scissors appropriately.
Let’s set them on the right track to be able to develop fine motor skills necessary to use scissors effectively and safely. Below are some things to consider when helping a child with scissors, as well as some tips. One note: though younger kids may have success, scissor skills are not usually fully developed until around 6. So don’t be discouraged if the process takes a little longer than you anticipated.
Pre-Cutting Skills. Before a student uses a pair of scissors, there are some things you can do to help develop fine motor skills. Doing activities with the following tools can help build those skills:
- Spray bottles
- Clothes pins
- Eye droppers
Beginning Cutting Skills. Once the child has some eye-hand coordination and some development of fine motor skills, you can give them a pair of scissors. The best to begin with are blunt tip scissors that fit your child’s hand well. Remember that left-handed children need special scissors: they should not be taught with right-handed scissors! Here are some good beginning activities:
- Cut straws– This is a simple activity that teaches kids that just involves “snipping”.
- Playdough cutting– A fun way to practice using playdough scissors.
- Scissor practice cards– Draw lines on strips of paper for kids to practice cutting along.
- Lion’s mane– Draw a lion’s face in the middle of an orange or yellow piece of construction paper. Ask the kids to make a mane for the lion by snipping around in a circle around the face.
Advanced Cutting Skills. As your child grows more confident and skilled in their cutting ability, you can move on to more difficult cutting projects. This can include cutting circles and more complex shapes.
- Caterpillar– Draw some circles and let your student cut them out and put them together to form a caterpillar. Then color and decorate!
- Spiral Snake– Draw a spiral on a paper plate. Have kids color or paint it and then cut along the spiral. They will end up with a fun snake to hang in their room!
- Create a collage– Let child cut pictures out of a magazine to glue on a sheet of paper. The pictures can have a theme. This cutting can be quite difficult.
- Hearts– Hearts are fun for kids to decorate with, but can be tricky to cut out. Help your student by giving them the opportunity to cut out heart shapes.
Below are some resources to help you get started!
- Fitzy, Monster Show: Using a Pair of Scissors– This is a cute, short video to show kids to introduce them to holding and using scissors correctly (and safely!).
- Silly Little Scissors- A fun, rhyming book about a pair of scissors who finds out that she really is important!
- Henri’s Scissors– This book tells the story of Henri Matisse who created massive paper cut out masterpieces. Kids will be inspired by the great things such a simple skill can create! What will they create?
- Preschool Training Scissors– A good scissor to use with the beginning cutter.
- Fun Paper-Cut Set– Scissor crafts for the more advanced cutter. Lots of cute designs to make.
- Scissor Skills– A book for preschoolers that provides 40 pages of fun animals, shapes and patterns to practice cutting.