5 fun cutting activities to help strengthen fine motor and scissor skills:
I had a Mom ask today, on my facebook page, if I had any suggestions for activities that would help her little ones develop their cutting skills, so I decided to put together a quick little collection of scissor exercises for children.
Introducing interesting materials for your child to cut up is a fun way to help little hands develop their cutting skills. These are a few of the hooligans’ favourite cutting activities ranging from easiest to most advanced.
You may wonder how old your child should be before they can learn to use scissors. In my daycare, the hooligans start experimenting with them at age 2 or earlier. Most of the children are cutting quite well by the time they’re three. Here’s another good article about teaching your child how to hold and use a pair of scissors.
As for what kind of scissors to introduce your child to, a pair of basic safety scissors are a great way to start, but if your child finds them difficult to use, these beginner scissors are super to start off with because they’re spring loaded, and the child manipulates them with their whole hand rather than with their fingers.
A tip for teaching proper hand positioning:
If you’re using regular safety scissors, a good tip to help your child remember how to position his or her hand is to draw a smiley face on the thumbnail of their cutting hand, and remind your child that they should always be able to see the smiley face while they’re cutting. This prevents the child from turning their hand upside down while cutting.
Using scissors with play dough:
Whenever the hooligans play with play dough, I set out several pairs of scissors. They’re always one of the most popular tools on the table. Play dough is easy to cut through, and provides a great medium for little ones to get started with. You can give your child regular safety scissors for this activity, or you can use plastic scissors
designed for cutting dough.
Cutting up drinking straws:
Colourful plastic drinking straws are fun and relatively easy for young children to cut through. This one is a lot of fun because in addition to satisfying “snap” that the straw makes when you cut through it, the straw pieces go flying through the room, causing hysterical fits of laughter. Bonus: Once your straws are all cut up, you can string some yarn through the pieces to make a necklace. :
Cutting styrofoam meat trays:
Styrofoam meat trays are another favourite for the hooligans to take their scissors to. Like the drinking straws, there’s a neat sound that comes along with cutting through the styrofoam. Scissors go through the styrofoam easily, and again, you can use the cut pieces for crafting.
Cutting paint chip samples:
This is probably the most popular cutting activity here, and one that the hooligans ask for several time per week.
The older children love cutting along the white lines of the paint chip cards. We use the scraps for various art and craft projects. Click here to see our Paint Chip Mosaics.
Using Scrapbook scissors or scissors with a fancy edge:
Children who have mastered their cutting skills love using my scrapbook scissors to make scalloped and fancy cuts. These scissors are sharper than regular scissors so use your best judgement when deciding when to introduce these scissors to your child.
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