When it comes to early education, pre-k counts for kids who need that extra foundation in learning. Learning the proper techniques for using scissors is a vital part of any child's pre-k development. The action of cutting helps to develop necessary fine motor skills that kids will use later for holding pencils correctly and writing. Although it might sound as though it is a fairly simple task, teaching kids how to properly cut with scissors can be more complex than you'd think. Here are some tips to help your preschooler develop scissor skills.
Why is Scissor Cutting Important?
The movement required to open and close a pair of scissors will help young kids to refine their fine motor skills and develop the muscles in their hands and fingers. Scissor cutting also helps with hand-eye coordination, because kids have to hold the paper in one hand and cut with the other while following the scissors with their eyes.
Finally, cutting with scissors also helps kids to build bilateral coordination, which enables both sides of the body to work at the same time on different tasks. It's a little bit like the old "rub your head, pat your belly" thing. Kids have to move the paper with one hand while they are cutting and following a line with the other, which is independent movements from each side of the body.
How Do You Teach Scissor Cutting?
If your preschooler is getting ready to start pre-k and isn't strong with scissor skills yet, you can start working to develop those abilities. Here's a look at the process that strengthens cutting actions.
- Start with Ripping – By ripping large sheets of paper, then gradually moving to smaller strips, kids work their large muscle groups and use gross motor skills. It also lets them practice the tripod grasp, which involves using the thumb and first two fingers. This practice sets the stage for holding scissors correctly.
- Introduce Snipping – The process of snipping gets kids started with opening and closing the scissors. Snipping involves making a single cut, which means only having to open and close the scissors one time to achieve success. This is a great introduction to scissor cutting, and it lets kids build the skills without causing muscle fatigue in the hands.
- Shift to Fringe Cutting – Fringe cutting is an enhanced version of snipping. It involves repeated snipping to create numerous small strips of paper. Together, those strips will resemble fringe, because your child won't be cutting all the way through the paper, instead cutting only an inch or so in.
- Introduce Additional Actions – Once your child is adept at fringe cutting and can handle the scissors comfortably, start introducing other straight-line cuts that require further cutting. Cut large squares or remove edges from pictures for this practice. Then, have your child cut in wavy lines before moving to more geometric shapes and zig-zag lines.