Sugar Aunts: Creative & Fun Ways to Help Kids Cut With Scissors

Creative & Fun Ways to Help Kids Cut With Scissors

I think every Occupational Therapist has stories of injuries they've gotten during treatment sessions.  Whether it's a biting kiddo with behavioral difficulties, or a foot stepped on during a treatment session re-teaching transfer techniques with a post-CVA adult, there are a lot of injuries that an OT might have to deal with in the name of a patient's goal areas.  

I can still remember the scissor injuries I've suffered while working in schools and helping kids with their scissor skills. The risk of scissor injuries is just not something that you are warned of before accepting a school-based therapist position.  I can see it now:  "The likelihood of scissor injuries from teaching students how to cut on lines is definite."  That's  not going to be in the job description!

Despite the scissor injuries from years of working with kids, teaching and modifying for scissor skills is absolutely one of my favorite treatment areas in working with pediatrics.  Today, I'm excited to share creative tips on helping kids with scissor skills.  

These ideas are some of my favorite tips and tools and you've got them all in one place.  It's part of my 31 Days of Occupational Therapy series, where you can find treatment ideas using free and almost free materials that you probably already have in your home.  These cutting ideas use items you probably already have in your house.

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

Creative Ways to Help Kids Cut With Scissors


Take a quick look around Pinterest and you will see a gazillion ways to practice scissor skills with kids.  In fact, check out our Scissor Skills board to find some fun tips.  

But, you can hand a kiddo a pair of scissors and have them snip away and they still might need a little extra help with cutting on the lines.  Did you know there are a bunch of skills that a child needs to master in order to cut a multi-angled shape like a house from paper?  

In order to hold scissors and cut on lines, a child needs to use a precision grasp on the scissors, separate the two sides of the hand, position the scissors with a perpendicular position to the paper, flex the thumb with graded dexterity, perceive force as they cut, utilize bilateral integration, demonstrate motor planning, utilize eye-hand coordination, and show integration of visual motor skills.  Whew!  I'm tired just thinking about all of that work a kiddo is doing when they cut out a shape!


Scissor Grasp and Accuracy in Cutting Paper

Before a child can cut a shape from paper, they must use an appropriate grasp on the scissors.  Provide visual and verbal cues for holding the scissors correctly and notice a few things:

  • Does the child can open and close the scissor?
  • Do they position the scissors consistently on their dominant hand? 
  • Does the child open and close the entire hand when cutting, or just the thumb side of the hand.
  • Do they have the scissors positioned on their hand correctly?
  • Are they holding the scissors in a perpendicular position to the paper?
  • Are the middle, ring, and pinkie fingers bent into the palm?

If any of these areas are a concern, you'll need to work on scissor grasp.  Stay tuned, because we've got scissor grasp ideas in the line up and coming soon to the blog!

Now, if your little scissor user has a good grasp on the scissors, is interested in cutting with scissors, and is ready for some practice, try these creative ideas for working on scissor control, accuracy, and avoiding cutting their therapist or parent helper:

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

Fun Scissor Skills Ideas For Kids

Try cutting these materials for creative scissor practice: 

NOTE: These creative scissor ideas are not in order of difficulty.  That is another blog post ;)  This list is meant to be a resource of creative cutting practice ideas. Click on the links to see how we used each material in a fun way in the past!

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

Practice Scissor Skills by Cutting Paper Materials: 
Toilet paper
Construction Paper
Cardstock
Oaktag
Index Cards
Food Wrappers like Labels
Coupons
Paper Plates

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

Practice Scissor Skills by Cutting Household Items:

Flower Stems
Cloth
Aluminum Foil
Cheesecloth
Chip Bags
Sandpaper
Fabric
Wax Paper
Plastic Wrap
Plastic Bags
Sandwich Baggies
Cotton Swabs
Toilet Paper
Cardboard Tubes
Napkins
Baby Wipes
Herbs
Grass
Leaves
Thin Twigs
Rubber Bands
Cotton Balls
Plastic Beads
Paint Chips
Cupcake Liners (like this and this)
Sponges

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist


Practice Scissor Skills with Crafting Materials:
Foam Crafting Paper like this.
Ribbon
Thin string
Scrapbook Paper
Cotton Batting
Tape
Thin Balsa Wood
Felt

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

Practice Scissor Skills with Food Materials: Use the cutting practice during food preparation in Cooking With Kids experiences!
Sliced Bread
Twizzler candies.  See how we did it over on Instagram.
Sliced Cheese
Deli Meat
Gummy Worms
Thinnly Sliced vegetables like cucmbers, zucinni, carrots
Marshmallows
Pasta
Toast
Lettuce
Dough
Green Beans

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist

So the ideas in this post are purely for practicing MORE scissor activities while working on and encouraging your child's appropriate scissor grasp.  Line Accuracy, smooth cutting strokes, and difficult cutting shapes are other areas (Again, coming soon to a blog near you...this one!) All of these ideas will make cutting with scissors easier for your child in a fun and creative way.  And prevent snips to your fingers as you help your favorite scissor user!

Creative Scissor Skills ideas and tips for helping kids work on cutting with scissors, from an Occupational Therapist




More activities you will love: 


















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