Around the age of four, children begin to develop their fine motor skills. Learning to use scissors and other handheld tools helps children refine these motor skills. It’s important to introduce preschoolers to scissors early on because learning to use scissors can actually strengthen a child’s coordination and help him to learn how to write. By teaching your preschooler to use scissors, you can help develop his mind and his creativity.
Providing the Right Scissors
As preschoolers learn to use scissors, their fingers may get in the way as they cut, so it’s important to use children’s safety scissors. These scissors only cut paper, so they’re safe for little ones to use. As an added benefit, safety scissors are smaller than regular scissors, so they fit in a child’s small hands more easily. Before giving the scissors to the child, observe him to determine whether he is right- or left-handed; then give him either right- or left-handed scissors accordingly. If he uses the scissors with his nondominant hand, there’s no cause for concern. Many children are ambidextrous.
Holding and Maneuvering the Scissors
Place the scissors on the table and have the child pick them up by himself. Have a pair of scissors in your own hands and show the child by example how to hold and maneuver the scissors. Encourage him when he opens and closes them correctly, and gently correct him by your own example when he has trouble. Allow him to cut a few pieces of paper, and cut your own piece of paper alongside him until he gets the hang of it.
Direction and Follow-Through
Give the preschooler a specific project that involves cutting paper with scissors. You may ask him to make a paper mask or cut out a snowflake shape or even ask him what he wants to make. Give the child a project that will involve cutting out different shapes so he gets practice in maneuvering the scissors. Don’t be too strict in your instructions. Let the child explore his own creativity to make something unique.
Provide the child with extra materials so he can have fun and be creative. Give him a glue stick so he can cut and paste, or give him crayons so he can color his creations. By allowing the preschooler’s creativity to flourish, you allow him to learn to use scissors in a fun and exciting way. Observe the child and mark his progress so you can make sure that his motor skills are developing appropriately.