Around age 3, you will begin to see young children come into school with the most interesting haircuts! They have discovered scissors and have decided to cut their bangs or little sister’s bangs. It’s amazing how many times this happens in a school year and how many times it happens right around picture day!
Snip, Snip, they are telling you it’s time to teach the skill.
Children need practice in learning to hold and utlize scissors and they need an adult to be present for supervision. This means coaching them the proper way to hold scissors and providing stiff paper to start so it’s easy to hold and cut. Think about using old postcards or index cards that are no longer needed. These are a good size for holding in your child’s hands and the paper is not going wilt why your young learner is practicing the skill of cutting.
If you have not yet invested in children’s scissors, I would recommend Fiskars (c), rounded tip safety scissors. The rounded tip prevents punctures. These children’s scissors tend to cut well and they are shaped well for holding in developing hands. These can be found on Amazon, if you are looking for a quick resource.
Cutting with scissors is one of the best ways to support bilateral coordination which means your child is now using both sides of his/her body at the same time. It’s a skill that is needed everyday. Learning to walk uses this skill too. Of course this skill supports your children”s growing independence.
Scissor practice also promotes hand-eye coordination and strenghtens hand muscles. It is one of those activities, just like tearing paper, or hole punching or pounding golf tees into a pumpkin that is necessary to build hand strength before a child can easily hold a writing instrument. Scissor work also helps with concentration. If you watch children learning to fringe or cut with the scissors, you will find they are focused on the task at hand and most young children, when the time is right, want to learn how to use scissors. They are interested. Just like adults, when they are interested in something, they will give it more attention for a greater amount of time.
Other items your children might use to practice cutting: Play dough, clay, leaves or flowers, straws, or they can cut pictures from magazines or catalogs -(this could be fun as the holidays approach and they cut out what they want on their Christmas wish list!).
Last but not least, give your children a variety of lengths to cut. Start with fringing, and later add lines. The more rehearsal they have, the sharper their skills will become. As they become more sturdy, they can move into construction and creative thinking can be released as they make puppets or paper bag vests to wear. They may even want to create a hungry caterpillar by cutting out pictures of what he ate and later gluing those pictures to a piece of paper. Ah, gluing -another learning opportunity and in the process of gluing the pictures, they are learning sequencing and practicing story-telling!
Have a wonderful day and I will see you tomorrow!