Cutting practice – 5 more fun and easy materials to help kids develop their scissor skills!
I’m not sure what it is about scissors that toddlers find so fascinating. Is it the cutting action? That unmistakeable “snip-snip-snip? The paper clippings fluttering to the floor? Whatever it is, kids just love cutting. But cutting can be quite challenging for toddlers to get the hang of. Paper, in particular, is challenging for beginners to cut through. It’s flimsy and it tends to get jammed sideways between the blades when kids are just learning to cut. Instead of regular paper, I like to set up a cutting station, where the children have access to a variety of different materials to practice cutting with.
Each of the following materials is easier to cut through than paper, and they vary in texture, weight and thickness, adding interest and making cutting practice fun.
5 Fun Materials for Cutting Practice Exercises:
Craft Foam: Craft foam is thicker than paper, but surprisingly, it’s quite a bit easier for little ones to get their scissors through . There’s a certain “springy-ness” about craft foam that makes it fun to cut through.
Curling Ribbon: Scissor blades slice easily through curling ribbon, and because the ribbon is very narrow, it’s a quick and easy snip. A perfect beginner material for practicing cutting.
Shredded Paper Strips: When your child is just learning to use scissors, a narrow strip of paper is much easier to cut through than a full size piece of paper. A thin strip of paper is easy to grip with one hand, and it requires one quick snip of the blades to cut through it. What a feeling of accomplishment when a toddler picks up a strip like this, and chops right through it. Once they get the hang of it, they can pick up several strips, or even a handful, and chop through them all at once.
Yarn: Depending on the type of yarn and the age of your child, this can be a great material for cutting practice. Like the shredded paper and curling ribbon, A piece of yarn is easy to hold and a doesn’t require a lot of cutting to get through. The hooligans love to chop a long length of yarn into a million teeny pieces.
Strings of beads: This one has become a favourite around here. Fine strands of craft beads or plastic dollar store necklaces are excellent for cutting practice! Fine motor control and hand eye co-ordination are required to line the scissor blades up in between the blades, and there’s just enough resistance to the strand that you get a neat little “click” or “snap” as your blade slice through.
And one more for good measure – our all-time favourite:
Drinking straws: Know why they’re our favourite? Have you ever cut through a straw? BOING! The kids LOVE this cutting activity! Pieces of straw literally fly all over the room. It’s amazing how far one little piece of plastic will launch itself when the blades go through it. The hooligans get down-right silly when they’re cutting straws. Fits of giggles, shrieks of laughter; all that good stuff. So no matter what you’re loading up onto your tray for cutting practice, be sure to include a handful of straws!
Now, be sure to check out my first post about beginner cutting activities. There are some cool materials in that one for kids to start cutting with too!
Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.