Cutting with scissors is like learning to grip a pencil correctly- it takes a lot of practice and a lot of strength and dexterity. Little hands get tired and frustration can mount quickly. So participating in a few fun activities to introduce a child to cutting will make cutting much more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Five Engaging Activities to Introduce a Preschooler to Scissors
- Cut Playdough
Enough said. Playdough plus anything is generally a game winner. If your child has not learned how to roll a playdough snake yet, this is a great time to also teach this skill. Cutting up a long roll of playdough is fascinating to a preschooler.
- Cut Nature
Cut weeds, leaves, flowers, and grass. There is something incredibly adventurous for a preschooler about cutting outdoors with a pair of scissors. Note: Tie long hair back for this activity. Children contort themselves to cut a certain leaf or to lean over and cut a blade of grass and hair can get dangerously close to the scissors.
- Cut Straws or Strings
Or cut both and make a fun necklace out of it! This is also a great activity for making art collages of beautiful strings and ribbons glued onto a paper.
- Cut Food
With a very clean pair of safety scissors, cut hot dogs, spaghetti noodles, or a cheese stick that has been cut in half vertically (a whole cheese stick is a little too thick for most preschoolers to cut). I particularly love this activity because a preschooler first looks at me as if they are asking, “What? I can cut food? I am allowed to do that?” What a marvelous moment for a preschooler to settle into the idea that doing things outside the box can be permissible.
For even more pizazz, color your spaghetti noodles. You can learn how to do that here: https://kidactivitieswithalexa.com/en/rainbow-pasta-recipe/
- Snip Paper
Snipping paper is a great first paper cutting activity for a preschooler. I place a basket of short 1” strips (about 6 inches long) of construction paper in many colors in front of the preschoolers. The children practice holding a strip with their helper hand-the hand without scissors. Then I encourage the children to cut off little pieces of paper in any shape starting at the end of the strip (snipping). Once they have begun, it is quite motivating to a preschooler to look down and see a little pile of papers that they have cut while snipping. After a few minutes of snipping, a child will have a multi-color pile of little pieces of paper on the table and they will feel quite accomplished. They especially love it when we get a little plastic bag and let them collect and keep their little pile of snipped papers. Don’t be surprised if they ask to do this again the next day. It’s a fave!
If Your Child Gets Tired
These five activities are so fun that preschoolers rarely come tell me they are too tired to keep cutting. But once we move to cutting lines of various shapes on paper, little hands get tired. I encourage preschoolers to keep going, but also recognize there is a point where it is time to just stop for the day.
Cutting also requires bilateral coordination- effort from both sides of the body, which is quite complex. But bilateral is important to develop. Watch for my upcoming blog on ways to help develop bilateral coordination!
All of my tricks and tips for teaching preschoolers good cutting posture is in Week 4 of our Harmony at Home curriculum. You can learn about our virtual curriculum here: harmonylearning.com