Learning to Use Scissors

Learning to use scissors can be a long and challenging process for little hands!  That is why making it simple and fun can reduce scissor frustration!

first scissor skills with play dough

There are so many things to remember – how to hold them in the right position, which fingers to use, not to mention needing enough hand muscle strength to operate them. Introducing scissors to kids for the first time can be turned into a fun and simple activity by using play dough, instead of paper.

Cutting paper can be particularly tricky when kids are still learning to use scissors. The paper needs to be held tight or it will slip and bend, and the scissors need to be moved along the paper to keep cutting. This is not easy when you are still learning to hold scissors the right way. By using play dough, kids can learn to control scissors without the added challenge of handling the paper as well.

For this activity, simple offer a pair of child safe scissors and a small ball of pay dough. When my son recently explored pay dough with scissors, he spent some time stabbing the scissors into the ball of dough, using two hands to open and close the scissors and basically just experimenting. He was able to discover how the scissors worked, and how he could control them, without the stress of trying to cut on a line or cut through paper.

learning to use scissors

Eventually he moved on to using the scissors with one hand. He rolled the play dough into a flat disc and began cutting off corners. He was developing his pincer grip, which is so important for handwriting, and his confidence with using scissors was really boosted.

scissors and play dough fine motor

When your child has become more confident using scissors you can try rolling the play dough into strips, indent the strip with some regular spaced lines (use a plastic knife or skewer), and have them cut along the lines. They will gain great confidence in learning to use scissors since the play dough is much easier to cut than paper.

Looking for a pair of scissors for toddlers?  Here are a few options: (affiliate links)

Crayola My First Crayola Safety Scissors
Fiskars Pre-School Spring Action Scissors
ALEX Toys Little Hands Ready, Set, Cut

4 Comments

  1. Great learning tool! Fun for little hands.

  2. This is a great idea. I need to try this with my son!

  3. This is a great idea for introducing children to scissors. It seems to be safe and fun, all at the same time! Thank you for sharing and for linking up this week to the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop.

  4. Bunty McDougall says:

    I love the idea of using play dough instead of paper! But mostly I liked that you allowed him to experiment. I have always been so focused on children learning to cut correctly, I think I may have stopped them from experimenting which is such an important stage. Thank you!

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