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Teaching your child how to use scissors correctly can be a daunting task!
If your child struggles with scissor cutting, take them right back to basics and help them to master each step below.
Learning to cut out basically involves 2 different skills:
On this page, I have broken down the steps to give you lots of ideas to help your child learn how to use scissors effectively.
Just click on the quick links below to jump to the instructions and photos for each step.
The first stage of learning how to use scissors is to master the grasp-release motion to open and close the scissors.
The fun activities below will help your child get the hang of this motion without using scissors!
Opening and closing a clothes pin (clothes peg in some parts of the world!) can help a child feel the squeeze and release motion that is needed for scissors.
Elsewhere on my site, I use clothes pins to work on isolating the tripod fingers, but if your child is still too young to use just three fingers, let them use these activities with the tips of all their fingers for the grasp-release sensation.
Once your child has got the hang of the grasp-release motion, you will be ready to teach your child how to use scissors!
Keep these points in mind!
Make sure your child uses an appropriate scissor grasp.
Thumb in one hole, and middle finger through the other.
The index finger can rest on the outside of the scissors, or be in the same hole as the middle finger.
Read more about the importance of left scissors and a correct scissor grasp over here.
Have your child roll out playdough sausages/worms and then snip them.
You can also roll the snipped pieces of playdough into little balls with the tripod fingers as a fun finger exercise.
Prepare narrow strips (1.5cm) of paper so your child can snip across the width.
This is easy to do, as the scissors only need to open and close once to be successful.
Use the snipped paper in a collage.
You can also have your child make snips around a circle picture, as shown below, or around a paper plate.
Once your child has mastered the single snip across a narrow strip, prepare slightly wider strips (3-4cm across) that require two snips to cut across.
Use the snipped paper in a picture or collage like the one below, that combines single snips with double snips.
If your child absolutely cannot get the hang of how to use scissors with a grasp release motion, you could try a pair of special scissors like these, that automatically open after your child has closed them.
(NB this is an affiliate link and will open in a new window/tab)
Now that your child has mastered the grasp-release motion, there are a few tips that can help your child learn to use scissors effectively and efficiently!
Read all the tips BEFORE you help your child learn to cut out on lines!
Children master scissor cutting by starting on straight lines before progressing to simple shapes.
My Cutting Activities page will give you a free printable download template for some actual activity ideas; I am just covering the principles here!
Start with lots and lots of thick, straight lines on slightly-thicker-than-normal-paper (160-180gm).
Just keep on being creative
with lines until your child masters it. Be inspired by the ideas on the cutting activities page!
Cutting out lots of circles and spirals will help your child to get the hang of moving the paper with the assistant hand while cutting.
I find it really helped to sit behind my child and hand-over-hand help them to get the feel of the smooth movement of turning the paper around.
Once your child has got the hang of turning the paper while cutting, then progress to simple shapes.
Your child needs to learn to gauge when to "turn" the corners with the scissors, and how to keep the scissors in the corner while turning.
Again, cut lots and lots of shapes, be creative with them and use them with lines and circles to make fun crafts.
These are only suggestions to help you guide your child. If you are at all concerned about your child's progress, please get an occupational therapy evaluation.
Get my free cutting template on this page, as well as loads of photographed activities!
Scissor Skills E-Book
Get all my scissor skills information and tips from across my site and MUCH MORE in an easily accessible e-book download!
Comes with a Fun Cutting Template containing cutting activities not found on my site!
Scissor Cutting Resources
If you are looking for lots of printable cutting activities for your child to do, try these fun, affordable, reproducible downloads!
I review them on this page of my site.
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