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 them develop this skill.

Tips and Tricks to help kids hold scissors

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Why Correct Scissor Grip is Important?

Holding scissors correctly is important for a few reasons. First of all, it helps to ensure that the child can cut effectively and efficiently with scissors. A good scissor grip will also lead to less fatigue and frustration from kids.

What is Correct Scissor Grip?

The most effective way for kids to hold scissors is the thumb in the small hole and the remaining fingers in the large 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 why it is important for preschoolers to hold scissors correctly, let’s take a look at some tips and tricks on how to help them develop this skill.

Visual Cues to keep THUMBS UP!

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

Tips and Tricks for helping kids hold scissors

Add google 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 hold them correctly 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 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 paper and draw a long 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. 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

Here are some additional tips and tricks that you and your kids might like.

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
  • Outside on the playground – kids can cut grass
  • At snack time – kids 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.)
  • 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 appreciate all the 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 the thematic project, like this fun rainbow craft, your kids will get practice snipping and cutting on a variety of lines.

Be sure to check out this post, where you you can check out ALL of the printable fine motor crafts that are available, including spring crafts and more.

a printable rainbow craft with a hole punch, scissors, and a glue stick.  This is an example of the benefits of crafts for preschoolers

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.

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.

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, are 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

Additional Articles About Scissors and Cutting Activities