Cutting with scissors does not always come easily to little learners. When kids learn to cut with scissors, their first attempts are not always pretty. As with everything else, continued cutting practice will help them become better at cutting.
How do You Teach Kids To cut?
Kids usually need some guidance and lots of practice as they learn how to cut with scissors. Before cutting, kids need to develop hand strength. Then, to operate a pair of scissors, they need to master a grasp and release motion.
When kids are able to open and close scissors with a grasp and release motion, they are ready to make small snips into things like playdough and paper. With practice, they will be able to move the scissors forward as they cut. Then, as they gain more control kids can begin cutting on straight lines and more complex lines and shapes.
How Do You Make Cutting Fun?
How do you motivate kids who don’t want to use scissors?
Unfortunately, the kids who struggle to use scissors are often the kids who avoid cutting practice activities…..like the plague. These children may also struggle with fine motor skills in general. Fine motor activities will help them build hand strength and control, which in turn will help them more easily use scissors.
But what are some things that you can do to motivate those reluctant cutters?
Think about things that interest a reluctant child. Does he or she like a particular theme like trucks or animals? How can you incorporate those things into cutting practice?
- You can use thematic cutting printables to help with scissor skills development.
- Find pictures related to that interest and let kids cut them.
Another way to motivate kids to work on scissor practice is to provide a wide variety of high-interest materials. I have included LOTS and LOTS of fun cutting material ideas below. You can add the materials to a sensory bin, a box, or a tray or present them as open-ended art materials.
Material Ideas for Cutting Practice
Paper is an obvious material choice for cutting practice, but I want you to think beyond plain, boring white paper. Try some of these types of paper to add excitement to your cutting practice activities:
- Wrapping paper – kids can cut out the pictures of designs on the paper. Sometimes wrapping paper has cutting lines on the back….that is a great way to practice cutting on lines. Let your kids cut out some paper and then they can wrap up empty boxes or blocks.
- Scrap paper – Keep a box of scrap paper in your classroom or home. Whenever you cut paper for a project, throw the leftovers into the box. These scraps are great to use for cutting practice. Be sure to add some exciting colors or textures to create more interest in the scrap bin.
- Scrapbook paper – Browse the aisles of your craft store. You can probably find some really beautiful scrap paper to use for cutting practice…and it’s often on sale. You can get paper that has glitter, textures, or even images of Disney characters.
- Newspaper and store ads – Kids who like sports will enjoy cutting out pictures from the sporting goods store or encourage kids to make a cut and paste grocery list.
- Junk mail – Don’t throw out junk mail. Use it for cutting practice. Kids can cut out faces, words, letters, etc.
- Magazines – When the Amazon or Target toy catalogs arrive in your mailbox let kids cut out the items on their wish list.
- Wallpaper – Find some wallpaper books at your local recycled art store or from a friend in the home decor business.
Many of the paper items above can be found in the recycling bin. Some of the best materials for cutting practice come from the recycling bin. Why are they the best….hello?….they are FREE!
Here are some additional cutting materials that you can find in the recycling bin.
- Packing peanuts – Add some glue and you can use the cut peanuts in art projects. Add some toothpicks or pipe cleaners and you can create 3-D sculptures or structures.
- Paper towel rolls – Paper towel rolls are perfect for snipping with scissors. BTW…they are also great for hole punch activities.
- Bubble wrap – This is a great material to explore. What happens when you cut through the bubbles? Can you cut around the bubbles? Is it easier to cut large or small bubble wrap?
- Foam wrap – Kids get the satisfaction of cutting thicker material with relative ease.
- Cereal boxes, cracker boxes, toy boxes etc. – Cardboard boxes are more challenging to cut, but kids are often motivated by cutting out pictures of legos or their favorite food.
Cutting Practice with Materials from the Kitchen
You may not think about finding cutting practice materials in your kitchen, but I promise that you will find some interesting items in there.
- Plant Activities – Kids can cut apart fruits and vegetables as they study plants and seeds.
- Food – I use kitchen shears to cut things up when I’m cooking. Why can’t kids use their scissors to cut food items? Just make sure that they are clean. Here are some food items that they can cut:
- Pepperoni slices
- Green onions
- Slices of cheese or strips of string cheese
- Sliced bread
- Fruit leather or roll-ups
- Strips of Twizzlers
- Wax paper or Parchment Paper – kids can cut it then layer it on top of other images.
- Foil– Not only can they cut foil, but kids can then squish it and make space rocks with it.
- Paper towels, napkins – There are often designs on paper towels and napkins that kids can cut out
- Paper plates, cupcake liners, coffee filters – These circular materials can be snipped around the edges and then used for a wide variety of projects like faces, flowers, etc.
- Straws – Kids can cut plastic or paper straws and then use them to make necklaces.
Craft Supplies for Cutting Practice
Here are some items from your stash of craft materials that you can use for cutting practice.
- Ribbon – from curling ribbon to satin ribbon your kids will enjoy cutting it all. You can also use them to make dancing ribbons.
- Yarn – Let them cut it and then sort them by size.
- Tape – Masking tape or colorful washi tape will give your kids an extra challenge because it may stick to the scissors.
- Streamers – Let kids help you cut streamers for a party. You can also use them to create dancing ribbons.
- Cellophane – Kids can cut colored cellophane and then use it for a colorful stained glass craft.
- Fabric – To avoid frustration, be sure that their scissors are sharp for this one.
- foam sheets – Craft foam is interesting to use because it is thick but relatively easy to cut.
- Feathers – Feathers can be messy when you cut them….but they are fun!
- Pipe cleaners – Cutting through the wire can be a little challenging, but sometimes a challenge is very motivating.
Additional Cutting Practice Ideas
- Playdough – Add some scissors to a playdough tray. Kids can cut shapes into flattened dough or they can cut coils.
- Slime – This is an interesting experiment. Can you cut slime? What happens when you cut slime?
- Easter Grass – Don’t throw out the grass from your Easter baskets. It’s fun to mix the cut-up grass into Easter bunny theme playdough.
- Cotton balls – They might need to pull cotton balls apart a little bit before they can cut them. Use the cut cotton for alphabet collages or winter-themed activities.
- Plants herbs, flowers, grass – Not only are these materials fun to cut, but they also can provide an amazing sensory experience.
Well, hope that you enjoy trying some of these ideas with your kids. Do you have some additional ideas for cutting practice? Drop me a note so that I can add them here for others.
Additional Cutting Skills Activities
Find additional scissor skills related articles below.
Purchase Printables for Cutting Practice
You can also purchase the following fine motor and scissor skills resources from my store. Click on the image below to purchase the printables today.