Tips for teaching toddlers and preschoolers how to develop scissor skills

I know there are many educators (both homeschool and classroom teachers), who fear keeping scissors out for kids to use. They put glitter and paint in the same category as scissors- a preschool version of TNT that should be kept under lock and key! But I’ve been giving my toddlers and preschoolers access to (kid-friendly) scissors for as long as I can remember. Of course, kids have to learn guidelines for how to use them safely, but scissors are a valuable tool that kids should be able to access as needed!

What should preschoolers be cutting?



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Because many parents fear handing over scissors to their children, many preschoolers are going into the classroom with little to no experience with how to use them. While many people want to start teaching scissor skills with worksheets/ workbooks, these are best saved for when students have better control over manipulating the scissors and paper they are cutting, otherwise, frustrations may arise (followed by meltdowns of “I can’t do it!”)

My recommendation is to start by letting children learn to use scissors through process-driven projects. Much like we give kids the chance to explore art without strict expectations of outcome (process art), kids can enjoy cutting much in the same way!

Here are some scissor skill activities that value process over product:

What are the best scissors for my child to use?

There are so many scissors for kids to learn with! There are training scissors, blunt tip scissors, spring-back scissors…and the list goes on and on! As a matter of fact, there were so many choices that I bought several different ones so my boys and I could test them out. I have an entire post dedicated to testing the best preschool scissors out there. If you’d like to see which are right for your kids, go ahead and check out this post  now, I’ll save your place in this article for when your ready to return 😉

How often should I offer scissor skill activities to my kiddos?

I like to practice a child-led learning environment, so my answer is going to be simple: as often as your kids are led to use them! Keeping in mind that “out of sight” is often “out of mind,” I keep our scissors in a clear jar in our playroom/ preschool room where my kids can access them as often as needed (for reference, my kids are 3 and 4 years old).

A homeschool room that looks neat and modern! Inspiration for homeschool room set-up.

(see our homeschool room tour here)

If I feel like my kids have gone some time without using scissors (say, a couple weeks), I set up a scissor skills activity that play off of their interests. Here are a few creative ideas that my kids have enjoyed:

Troubleshooting

Looking for more help and resources for teaching scissor skills? Try these articles:

Do you have any more questions on teaching scissor skills? I’d love to help out! just leave your questions in the comments below and I’ll be sure to get to them!

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