Mastering Scissor Skills Development: Give Your Kids a Boost with A Free Printable


Scissor skills development is an essential milestone of child development. When a child’s little hand opens and closes a pair of scissors, it’s not just about cutting paper – it’s about building a strong foundation for their future.

Let’s take a closer look at the importance of learning how to use scissors and how kids progress through that developmental process.

Don’t forget to pick up the free printables at the end of this article. They will help your kids work on their scissor skills development.

Scissor skills development.  A printable cutting activity with a pair of  kids scissors

Why is Scissor Skill Development Important?

You may think that today’s adults don’t use scissors daily, so what’s the big deal with building cutting skills?

How Scissor Skills can Help Kids with other Fine Motor tasks

Every time children work on practicing scissor skills, their tiny hand muscles grow stronger and more adept, directly supporting fine motor skills that are crucial for many activities. You see, developing scissor skills also helps your kids with a host of other activities like:

a child cutting a yellow piece of paper with a pair of red scissors
  1. Writing and Drawing: Improved dexterity from using scissors can lead to better pencil grip and control, enhancing writing and drawing abilities.
  2. Dressing Skills: Scissor skills help in developing the fine motor control needed for buttoning shirts, zipping up jackets, and tying shoelaces.
  3. Meal Preparation: Basic kitchen tasks like using a plastic knife to spread butter or cut soft foods are easier with the hand coordination developed from scissor use.
  4. Arts and Crafts: Enhanced scissor skills naturally lead to greater enjoyment and proficiency in arts and crafts, allowing for more intricate and detailed work.
  5. Personal Grooming: Activities like brushing teeth or combing hair require the same type of fine motor control that is developed through cutting activities.
  6. Opening and Closing Containers: The dexterity and hand strength developed through scissor skills activities are essential for opening and closing various types of containers, such as lunch boxes, water bottles, and snack packaging. This skill fosters independence and self-help skills in young children, making them more confident in managing their own belongings.
  7. Playing Musical Instruments: Finger strength and dexterity developed through scissor use can aid in learning to play musical instruments, particularly those requiring precise finger movements like the piano or guitar.
  8. Sports and Physical Activities: Improved coordination and motor control can enhance abilities in sports and physical activities, such as catching a ball or swimming.
  9. Playing Musical Instruments, Using Technology, and MORE: Developing scissor skills can help your kids with a wide variety of things that they do in their everyday life..

Imagine the pride they feel when they can button their own shirt or tie their shoelaces, all thanks to the dexterity they developed while cutting out shapes and figures.

Cognitive Benefits of Developing Scissor Skills

But the benefits extend beyond just motor skills. Each decision of where to cut, how to turn the paper, and planning the next move is a cognitive exercise.

A child in preschool classroom cutting a piece of pink paper

Here are some ways that developing scissor skills will help your kids’ cognitive development.

  1. Improves Focus and Attention: Scissor activities require concentration and attention to detail, thereby enhancing a child’s ability to focus on a task for extended periods.
  2. Enhances Hand-Eye Coordination: The coordination between what the eyes see and how the hands move while cutting is crucial for cognitive development, particularly in spatial awareness.
  3. Boosts Bilateral Coordination: Using scissors involves coordinating both hands simultaneously (one hand cuts while the other holds the paper), a skill important for cognitive development.
  4. Encourages Problem-Solving Skills: Figuring out how to maneuver scissors and cut specific shapes or lines fosters critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
  5. Develops Planning and Sequencing Skills: Children learn to plan and execute a series of actions in a particular order when engaging in cutting activities, an essential aspect of cognitive development.

Isn’t that cool? We are nurturing future thinkers and doers! Who knew that cutting is a playful but effective way to enhance problem-solving and planning abilities?

Emotional Benefits of Developing Scissor Skills

Finally, scissor skills offer an avenue for creative expression and emotional development. This is the part that I really LOVE!….watching the result of their patience and effort….the confidence of ‘I did it!’

Here are some emotional benefits for your kids as they begin to master cutting with scissors.

  1. Boosts Self-Esteem: Successfully completing cutting activities can give children a sense of accomplishment, boosting their self-confidence and self-esteem.
  2. Enhances Patience and Perseverance: Learning to use scissors effectively requires practice and patience, helping children develop perseverance and the ability to tackle challenging tasks.
  3. Encourages Independence: As children become more proficient with scissors, they gain a sense of independence and self-reliance in their abilities.
  4. Reduces Anxiety: Engaging in cutting activities can be therapeutic, offering a focused task that can help reduce feelings of stress or anxiety in young children.

So, remember, as we watch our little ones learn to use their scissors, it’s not all about making a craft project. We’re watching all kinds of developmental growth – fine motor skills, coordination, cognitive abilities, and confidence.

How to Select The Right Scissors for Your Kids

To set your kids up for success, be sure to provide the right tools. Look for scissors with blunt tips for safety and ones that are sturdy. Be sure to give left-handed scissors to your lefties. You can even get adaptive scissors for your kids who are not quite ready to perform the open and close motion required with a traditional pair of scissors.

a handful of different types of children's scissors

If you want more details about choosing scissors for your kids, check out this article about how to select the best scissors for your preschoolers.

If you need some practical tips to help with scissor grip, check out this article about tips and tricks for holding scissor correctly.

Continuum of Scissor Skills Development

I’m sure you already know that kids don’t just wake up one morning with the ability to cut out complex shapes. Here is a simple continuum to help you see the stages that kids move through when learning to cut.

I’ve made a point of not tying these stages to ages. As a momma of a child with special needs, I understand how frustrating and limiting it can be to see developmental milestones rigidly tied to age.

Every child develops at their own pace, and I believe in celebrating each child’s unique journey without the pressure of age-based expectations.

StageSkills DevelopedSuggested Activities
Learning to Hold and Open/Close ScissorsHolding scissors, basic opening and closing motion.Playing with tools or scissors, practicing open/close motion.
Basic Snipping– Making snips on paper edges.
– Cutting through a strip with a single snip.
Snipping paper, using snip sheets or strips.
Cutting Straight LinesCutting along straight lines.Cutting along straight paths on paper.
Cutting Curved LinesCutting along simple curved lines.Cutting along curved paths on paper.
Cutting More Complex LinesCutting along zig-zag or wavy lines.Cutting along more complex paths on paper.
Cutting Simple ShapesCutting basic shapes like circles and squares.Completing cut & paste activities, printable craft activities.
Complex Shapes and PatternsCutting intricate shapes and following complex lines.Completing printable craft activities or art projects.

Help Kids Develop Scissor Skills with a FREE Printable

Are you looking for some printables to help your kids work through the different developmental stages?

From snipping to cutting on a longer path, I designed these free ocean-themed printables to help your preschoolers work on scissor skills development.

scissor skills development activities

These ocean-themed printables are part of my Scissor Skills Activity Resource...which includes a variety of themes to engage your kids.

Beginning Scissor Skills Development – Making Snips

Like everything else, scissor skills are developed with practice.  Begin by helping them hold scissors correctly. After kids master the opening and closing of scissors, they are ready to begin making snips or small cuts in the paper.  Give them scrap paper or wrapping paper and encourage them to make cuts around the edge of the paper.

Snip Sheets

When kids are able to make snips in paper, they can start trying to make a snip on a line.  The snip sheets in my scissor skills resource have four thick, but short lines with pictures at one end. Kids can cut and reach the image with a single cut.  Much like the images in my mail-order catalogs, the images on these printables create interest and excitement.

snip strips to help kids develop scissor skills

You can even make giggling noises as they reach each of the sea creatures….as if the creatures are being tickled by the scissors.  Have fun and be silly.

Snip Strips

The next scissor skills printables are snip strips.  Each strip includes images divided by dotted lines.  The strips are thin enough so that kids can cut on the line and cut through them with a single snip.

snip strips for developing scissor skills

This will give your kids the satisfaction of cutting completely through the strip with one cut. Kids enjoy cutting apart the images and can create a little collection of them.  They can count them, sort them, identify them, color them.

Cutting on a Longer Path

After mastering the art of snipping, kids can learn to move their scissors forward after each snip to cut a longer path.

Four Levels of Cutting Paths

The printables include 4 levels of cutting paths for kids to use for practice.  The straight line will be the easiest for kids to master.  When they get the hang of that, they can try the mild curve, the zig-zag, and then the wave. They can start at the bubbles and cut through to the ocean creatures.

cutting strips to help kids learn to use scissors

Get the Free Ocean-Themed Cutting Resources

Are you ready to use these printables to help your kids work on scissor skills development?  Complete the form on THIS PAGE and I will set you up to receive weekly ideas for Early Learning Ideas….AND I’ll send a set of ocean-themed fine motor printables (that includes scissor skills pages) directly to your inbox.

Cutting Resources for 15 Different Themes

Try out the ocean-themed printables with your kids.  If you want similar printables for 15 different themes, you can purchase the complete set of Fine Motor Scissor Skills Activities from my store. 

fine motor skills activities for preschoolers includes hole punch activities, scissor cutting practice, pre-writing strokes and tracing lines practice, and pincer grasp activities fine motor mats.
fine motor scissor skills and cutting practice activities for preschool and kindergarten