Learning fine motor skills such as cutting with scissors and writing are important in preschool years. If a child learns good cutting skills in preschool, then he or she will be prepared for completing projects/assignments in Kindergarten. The correct hold on the scissors and the child’s ability to cut are both part of cutting skills. Below is the process to follow when teaching children to cut.
Use child safety scissors
1. Prompt the child to hold the scissors with thumb on top and fingers below…encourage child to keep his/her “Thumb up”
2. Have child hold paper with one hand and scissors in the other (if the child is right handed then they usually hold the scissors in the right hand)
….if the child is just starting to cut you can hold the paper for them. –use heavy paper to start like index cards
3. Instruct child to open scissors and shut scissors…or open/close hand.
Children will start by just making snips on paper which eventually leads to cutting paper in half. Next draw straight lines across the index card/paper and encourage the child to cut on the line through the paper(index card). Then challenge them to cut on a curved line ( through the paper and then to cut and turn a corner >. When the child is successful at lines and corners, introduce cutting out shapes like triangle, rectangle, and square that are drawn on the index card/paper. Then move on to circles and ovals followed by other shapes and pictures in a newspaper or magazine.
Make a Cutting Box for home…take a shoe box or small plastic box and fill with child sized scissors and various cutting materials.
Example of items to place in the cutting box:
index cards, colored index cards, construction paper(in long strips or smaller pieces work best), markers(to make lines and shapes on paper before cutting), and other materials to try to cut…like yarn, ribbon, string, crafting paper, foam paper, toilet paper tubes, magazines, mail flyers or advertisements,
Remember to give the child clear directions/rules like:
(1)You must ask to use your cutting box.
(2)You may use your cutting box at the table only.
(3)You may only cut items I put in the box.
When the child gets better at cutting, challenge them to draw a picture and cut it out. Make cutting a part of an art project.
Have fun cutting with your preschoolers.