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Preschool Scissors: Types and Teaching How to Use Scissors

written by: Sharon Dominica • edited by: Amanda Grove • updated: 9/11/2012

Find out about the various types of scissors, and arm yourself with some ideas to help children in preschool learn to use scissors. Also, check out the preschool scissors activities to help them practice their scissor skills.

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    Preschool is the time when children first develop scissors skills. It is thus important that we provide the right materials and activities for them to help them learn. This article describes the various types of scissors to help you choose the best one for your students. It also suggests various strategies that you can use to help them learn and practice scissor use.

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    Types of Scissors

    Choosing the right scissors can help promote learning and safe practices. Children with special needs may need special scissors that can help them to cut in spite of deficits in strength or coordination.

    Fiskar Scissors: These scissors have one hole for thumb and a larger hole for a few fingers. They are good for children to start learning.

    Spring Scissors: These scissors open on their own after every snip. It is ideal for children who are learning to cut or children with special needs with hand function deficits.

    Table Scissors: These scissors require the adult to guide the paper while your child presses down on the top of the scissors. The bottom of the scissor rests on the table. This scissor too, is very useful for special needs children with hand function difficulties.

    Left Handed Scissors: These scissors are designed for left- handed students. The blade is positioned differently so that the student can see the line which they are cutting.

    Training Scissors: This type of scissors has an additional pair of holes that a teacher can use to guide the child. They too are ideal for beginners and special needs children.

    In addition, preschool scissors should be light, and must fit the hands of the child well. The blades should not be too tight or too loose. Scissors that allow more than one finger in one of the loops are more comfortable to use.

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    Teaching Scissor Use Step- by Step

    Scissor use develops in stages, and understanding these stages can help us to teach children. Here are the various stages, and the age at which they occur. Not all children in preschool learn to use scissors at the exact some time. Some children may develop them a little early, and some a little late. However, they all go through these stages. Providing activities that help them practice skills of the stage they are in, and introducing them to skills of the next stage, can help them learn scissor use without feeling overwhelmed.

    Stage 1: Child learns to hold the scissors. (18- 19 Months)

    Stage 2: The child learns to open and shut the scissors. (20- 23 Months)

    Stage 3: The child learns to make random snips on paper (23-29 months)

    Stage 4: The child learns to push the scissors forward to cut across a piece of paper (30-35 months)

    Stage 5: The child cuts on a straight line (36-41 months)

    Stage 6: The child learns to cut on a curved line (42-47 months)

    Stage 7: The child cuts out simple shapes like circles and squares (42- 47 months)

    Stage 8: The child cuts complex shapes and figures (48- 57 months)

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    General teaching Strategies for Scissor Use

    - Adapt paper thickness. Thick paper is easier to hold and cut. These work best for beginners learning to snip. Construction paper is good for practicing cutting on lines.

    - Grade paper width. When a child is starting to learn, use narrow strips of paper and have them cut on short lines across the width of the paper. Slowly increase the width, as they learn.

    - Start teaching children by asking them to cut on thick, bold lines. As they master this skill, you can make the lines thinner.

    - Help children to practice wavy and curved lines before they learn to cut shapes.

    - Make it easier for children to handle paper by cutting off the excess paper on the sheet.

    - When children in preschool learn to use scissors, don’t worry if they are messy and can’t cut neatly. Cutting is a skill that comes with a lot of practice, and will develop over time.

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    Preschool Scissors Activities

    The best way to motivate children to learn and develop their scissor skills is to provide lots of fun and interesting preschool scissors activities. Help them cut out strips of paper, or shapes on colored construction paper, and help them stick pierces together to make interesting art. You can add glitter glue, stickers, yarn or other materials to be creative. For children just learning to cut, glue the pieces of paper they have snipped and make designs. You can also glue together large strips of colored paper that have been snipped and hang them for decorations. A final activity that you can do is to give children colorful magazines and ask them to cut out pictures around a theme and glue them.

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    Teaching Scissor Safety

    Teaching scissor safety is a important part of teaching scissor use. When you first introduce scissors to the children discuss these rules, and make sure children follow them at all times.

    - Teach children to wrap their fingers around closed blades with the blades pointing down.

    - Make sure the children walk slowly while carrying scissors.

    - Teach children to pass scissors by wrapping fingers loosely around the blades.

    - Store scissors in a safe place and teach children to return scissors to a specific place after their work is done.

    Hope these ideas help you to introduce scissors in a fun and safe way to preschool children.

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    Calder, T. (2007). Developing Coordination for Scissor Skills. Super Duper Publications.

    FISKARS. (n.d.). Children on the cutting edge. Retrieved from

    Northumberland Care Trust. (2009). Scissor Skills. Northumberland: NHS.

    Sue Mahoney, A. M. (2004). Developing Scissor Skills – A Guide for Parents and Teachers. Essex: Peta (U.K.) Ltd.