Cut. It. Out.

Motivating and stress-free beginner scissor skill activities.

When my son was young, I remember lamenting about our weekly visits to the library’s story and craft sessions. Why am I bothering? He just wants to get hold of the scissors to cut up the books rather than sit and listen to a story.

Since then, I have discovered that my gorgeous then 3 year old scissor-slashing boy innately knew what took me years of study to truly appreciate.

Scissor skills matter.

It helps develop finger strength, eye-hand coordination, bilateral integration and focus – foundations for handwriting. But it also enables children to confidently participate in learning, play, and art and craft activities.

To develop these skills they need finger and hand strength and the ability to use both hands at the same time (bilateral integration). But most importantly, they need adults to let go of any fear that they’ll hurt themselves and to give them lots of time and stress-free space to practise.

Just make sure they are holding the scissors in their dominant hand!

Here are some simple ideas that I have found motivate children:

  • Play with tongs, pegs and squirt bottles to develop the open and close motion;
  • Tearing up paper is a legit pre-scissor skill;
  • Cut kinetic sand or playdough as it’s super soft to cut;
  • Paper snowflakes – particularly effective for perfectionists as there is no one right way to cut;
  • Cut leaves, flowers, sticks and mud balls to make a nature collage;
  • Draw a face on a paper bag then snip the edge to give it crazy hair; and
  • Wrap plastic animals in strips of paper then cut the animals free.

I would love to hear your tales and tips for teaching scissor skills.

And for the record, our exorbitant library fees were never due to him actually destroying any books. Nor did he amputate any digits. The only victim…his hair and we have a fetching photo of his self-imposed pixie fringe, ready for his 18th birthday.

Written by: Bron Lucey. Mother to 3 children who share her love of the finer things in life like mud, the outdoors and general mess. Occupational therapist in her spare time.

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