Holding Scissors Correctly: The Best Tips and Tricks to Help Preschoolers


When it comes to teaching kids how to hold scissors correctly, there are a few things that parents and teachers need to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at the importance of correct scissor grip for preschoolers and provide some tips and tricks on how to help with holding scissors correctly.

Tips and Tricks to help kids hold scissors

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Why Correct Scissor Grip is Important?

Occupational therapists will tell you that holding scissors correctly is important for a few reasons. First of all, holding a pair of scissors in the correct way helps to ensure that kids can cut effectively and efficiently with the tool. A good scissor grip will also lead to less hand fatigue and frustration from kids.

What is Correct Scissor Grip?

The most effective way for kids to hold scissors is the thumb in the smaller hole and the remaining fingers in the large hole. Help your kids examine a pair of scissors paying special attention to the finger holes. Show them that one hole is smaller and circular and that the other is larger is oblong.

Demonstrate that the small hole is for their thumb and that the rest of their fingers (index, middle, ring, and even pinky fingers) go tether in the larger hole. The thumb should be facing up and the arm should be held close to the body.

Holding scissors correctly tips and tricks for kids

How to Teach Preschoolers to Hold Scissors Correctly – Tips & Tricks

Now that we know the why…. (why it is important for preschoolers to hold scissors correctly), the first step to helping kids use scissors is to teach them the how…..how to use the proper technique. The goal is to help kids build muscle memory for the correct grip. Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks to help them develop better control of their scissors.

Visual Cues to keep THUMBS UP!

Draw a smiley face on kids’ thumbnails. This reminds them that the thumb needs to face up so they can see it. You can also stick a little sticker to their thumbnail.

Tips and Tricks for helping kids hold scissors

Add googly eyes to the small hole of the scissors – This will help remind kids that this part of the scissors goes up.

Tips and Tricks to help preschoolers hold their scissors

Chants & Songs

There are also some chants and songs that you can use to help kids remember how to hold and use their scissors correctly.

To the tune of Open Shut them….

Open, shut them
Open, shut them
That’s the way we cut, cut, cut.

Fingers go down
and thumbs go up.
Don’t let your paper drop.

The Alligator Chant

Put your fingers on the bottom and
thumbs on top.

Open up the mouth and go
Chomp, chomp, chomp!

Thumbs Up Chant

Keep your thumb up
When you cut.
We can cut with scissors.
Open and shut!

Alligator Chomp

Here is a great video that not only talks about holding scissors correctly but using them safely.

Hungry Cutter Scissor Magnets

You can buy hungry cutter scissor magnets which attach to the top of a pair of scissors. The magnets transform the scissors into an animal and help kids use the proper grip as they chomp, chomp, chomp through the paper.

Tips to Keep the Elbows In

Kids have a tendency to turn their wrists and move their elbows out when cutting. This is one of the bad habits that makes it difficult for them to cut effectively.

To help them keep their elbow against their body you can stick a folder under their arm and encourage them to hold it there while they cut.

Help Them Hold the Paper

The best way for kids to begin cutting is by making small snips with their scissors.

As they begin to cut longer lines, however, some kids will struggle because this takes some coordination between the right and left hands. One hand holds the scissors while the other hand needs to hold, guide, and move the paper.

Here is a trick to help them out until they get the hang of it. Take a long strip of construction paper and draw a long cutting line down the center (or use a sentence strip). Tape one of the short ends of the strip to the edge of the table. Then, kids can cut the long line without having to worry too much about moving the helper hand.

Adaptive Scissors

Finding the best scissors for your kids is important and often comes down to personal preference. Adaptive scissors can be helpful for kids who are struggling to hold scissors correctly. While adaptive scissors can help kids experience success with cutting, some kids might have a more difficult time transitioning to regular scissors once they become accustomed to adaptive scissors.

Additional Ideas to work on Holding Scissors

The best way to help kids learn the proper way to use cutting tools is to ensure that they get lots of practice. Here are some different ways to make cutting practice more fun and exciting.

Make Scissor Readily Available

Tips and Tricks on how to hold scissors for kids

The more frequently kids use scissors, the better their scissor skills will be. When you make scissors readily available in their environment, it will encourage them to use scissors more frequently. Think about where you can add scissors to your classroom.

  • In the playdough center – Encourage them to roll the dough into a playdough sausage and then cut it up into pieces.
  • Outside on the playground – kids can cut grass, flowers, herbs
  • At snack time – Young children can cut their snack containers open AND they can even get cutting practice when they cut some snacks into bite sized pieces (cheese, fruit, tortillas, etc.) with clean scissors.
  • They can cut scraps of paper in the craft area or the sensory table
  • Creating a cutting center with cutting printables.

Provide Fun Cutting Materials

Kids can get cutting practice by cutting herbs, plants, and flowers

Another way to encourage kids to practice cutting is to provide a variety of FUN cutting materials. Do you need some inspiration? Check out this list of fun and easy cutting practice ideas.

Provide Craft Opportunites for Kids

While many early childhood educators do not like the idea of using crafts. It’s important to know that there are so many benefits of crafts for preschoolers. When chosen carefully, craft projects can provide an extremely motivating way to get kids to practice their scissor skills.

In fact, I know that you will love these printable fine motor craft activities because they were specifically designed to help kids build fine motor skills. With printable fine motor crafts, your kids will get to practice snipping and cutting on a variety of lines.

This preschool bumble bee craft is a great fine motor activity for spring.

Here are more printable cutting practice activities that your kids will surely enjoy. After printing, fold the pages. Your kids can cut on the lines, and then be sure to watch the excitement on their faces as they unfold the paper to reveal the image.

barn printable cutting activity

Special Consideration for Kids Who Are Left-Handed

Purchase left-handed scissors for your kids who are left-handed. Left-handed scissors have the blades reversed so that it is easier for them to cut correctly.

While many kids’ scissors say that they work for both right-handed and left-handed kids, a pair of scissors specifically designed for left-handed kids will let the child who uses their left hand see the cutting lines better. This will enable the left-handed child to make more precise cuts.

Here is a pair of left-handed scissors from Amazon.

How to use Scissors Safely

While giving kids lots of opportunities to practice using scissors is important, it is also important to teach them to use scissors safely.

It’s a good idea to discuss and model safe scissor practice frequently. Kids should know how to cut, where to cut, and what to cut.

How to cut with scissors

When you teach your kids to hold their scissors correctly, remind them to always cut away from their bodies, and not towards themselves.

You should also talk about how to handle scissors with care.

  • Place scissors point down in the caddy when you are done with them.
  • When you hand a pair of scissor to someone else, always hold the point end and give the other person the handled-end.
  • Do not run with scissors.
  • Do not throw scissors.
  • The tip of the blades should point down when walking with a pair of scissors.

Where to Cut with Scissors

Above, I encouraged you to have scissors readily available for your kids. However, it is a good idea to discuss the areas where it is okay to use scissors and remind kids that the scissors should not travel to other areas.

What to Cut with scissors

I think that providing lots of different materials for cutting can be motivating, but it’s a good idea to limit those fun materials to a particular center. Make it clear to your kids that some materials, like hair and clothing, should never be cut.

Resources for Cutting Practice

Teaching kids how to hold scissors correctly is an important skill that will help them in their everyday lives. With a little bit of practice and some helpful tips and tricks, your preschoolers will be able to grip their scissors like pros!

Are you looking for fun ways to help your kids build their scissor skills? Check out these fun printable resources in my store. Click on the image below to purchase the printables today.

fold and cut activities to practice scissor skills
easy cut and paste activities for kids
fine motor activities for the whole year
spring fine motor and hole punch crafts for kids
fine motor scissor skills and cutting practice activities for preschool and kindergarten

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