Building Scissors Skills

The fine motor skill of cutting is something that is difficult for many young children and Andrew was no exception.  I had gotten some children’s scissors but it was really difficult to get his fingers into the holes in the right position.  In addition to that, there is the whole skill of opening and closing the scissors using the fingers.  These challenges don’t even take into consideration the planning necessary to have the scissors where they need to be to cut where they are supposed to be cutting!

Loop scissors

I found these Loop scissors at the teacher supply store and thought they were fabulous.  They come in different sizes and since there are no holes, he can place his thumb on one side (the top side when cutting) and the rest of his fingers on the other side and squeeze.  This allows him to build the motor skill of squeezing and releasing his hand so the scissors open and close to cut the paper.  (Use hand over hand if your child is at the beginning stages or if they need help with feeling how much pressure is needed.)  These scissors remove one challenge but still allows him to work on planning where to put the scissors to cut where he wants to cut.  There is time for him to work on using traditional scissors but for now we are using any tool we find that helps him build skills at his level.

Making Scissor Skills Interesting To Someone Not Interested In Arts And Crafts

Now that we had a great tool, I needed an interesting way to help him build his cutting skills.  Since he is not the kind of child who is into arts and crafts projects, I have to find ways to sneak it in while capturing his attention with something that does interest him.

My Obstacle Course station activity: Cut out the ceiling fans. Put them in order from your most favorite to your least favorite. (Note: Andrew loves ceiling fans and so this was very motivating for him.)

Drawing brightly colored, thick lines around the area to cut helps to provide some structure.  It helps him to see where he is supposed to cut, gives him something to focus on and helps reduce frustration caused when he accidentally cuts through the picture!

My Obstacle Course station activity: Cut out three books you would like to read.

My Obstacle Course station activity: Cut on the line and sort the pictures into people, places or things. (Note: This is from Reading A to Z's website which has materials to reinforce and build literacy skills.)

If you have a child who is not crazy about working on scissors skills, think about what they like or what they are into and have them cut out things that go along with their interests, like Andrew cutting out fans.  Think about using things like toy catalogs, grocery fliers, old magazines, wrapping paper, string, etc. and add some purpose by having them find specific things or amounts of things.

Some ideas for adding purpose:

  • things that they like
  • things that they dislike
  • things that are a certain color
  • pictures of animals
  • things that start with a certain letter or sound (this adds literacy)
  • things that have numbers on them (this adds math)

I encourage you to think about how you can combine things that are challenging for your child with things that are fun and interesting to them.  It doesn’t always have to be fancy or expensive.  You may be surprised what you have in your own home that could be used for a cutting station.  My kindergarten students had a blast cutting out grocery items from the newspaper advertisements, pretending to make grocery lists and I bet you they didn’t even know they were doing it to work on their cutting skills!

Engage, Encourage, Empower

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