If you haven’t already, go ahead and hand over some kid scissors to your preschooler! This is such a crucial fine motor skill your kiddo needs before heading off to Kindergarten. This fine motor is a skill that gets better with lots of practice. Do not be afraid of handing your child a cutting tool, here are some tips and scissor practice skills that you can do at home with your preschooler.
If you did not know, there are a few types of kid scissors out there. A quick amazon search will pull up a few different kinds. In our classroom we use the ones with the rounded tip. As your preschooler gets older and more advanced with their scissor skills they can move up to the ones with a point. Also, pick up some construction paper or copy paper to have on hand so they have paper to practice with. You could also use bills that need to be shredded or the annoying postcard flyers that you get sent in the mail for them to practice their cutting. Two birds, one stone?
First, talk with your child about correct scissor safety. Introduce them to the tool and make sure they know how to properly hold and carry scissors while walking. Go over things they are allowed to cut and things they are not allowed to cut, you know like hair, pet fur, doll hair, carpet, home decorations, anything besides what you set the guidelines for. Be specific, sometimes kids try to find that loophole-haha! Show your child the correct way they should hold scissors in the cutting position. Have them try it out and just practice the basic movement. Make sure they are holding their wrist up, flipping their wrist inward is something we see at times, just help remind your child that they hold their thumb up and not down.
Once you are ready to practice with your child, hand them some paper. Give them about a half sheet to start, that way it is easier for them to hold in one handed. Pull out your baking sheet and have them practice cutting the paper over the tray, this makes for easy clean-up. Just let them practice cutting whatever they want at first, while you are supervising. Correct their hold if you see them try to flip their wrist. Let them practice until they lose interest. Keep practicing further until they get the hang of the cutting motion.
Once they feel comfortable with cutting, you can make easy scissor practice activities at home. One idea is putting a sticker on a piece of paper and drawing different types of lines that connect to the sticker. Your child will cut the (wavy, straight, curvy, loopy, zig-zag) line to try to get to the sticker. I will include a picture for reference. Another activity is to have your child cut out shapes-start by tracing the shape out on paper for them to cut out on the line. As they progress just tell them the shape to cut out on their own to make it a bit harder. You could also have your kiddo just out “snowflakes”. Show them how to fold their paper, this will also make cutting a bit more challenging. Depending on their ability, have them make triangle cuts, or just straight lines on the folded crease. When they open up their paper they will have their snowflakes!
If your child is struggling with using scissors, they do make spring lever action scissors that help make it easier for kids to cut. This could be an option at first to help them practice, then switch back to the regular form when you think they are ready. If your child is having a hard time keeping their wrist turned correctly, you can draw a smiley face on their thumb nail as a way to remind them that the smile stays up while you cut.
Allowing your child to safely have access and use scissors is a great independent skill to work on. Take the time to teach them and let them practice, kids really do love to just cut up paper!
Lead Pre-Kindergarten Teacher