Yes, preschoolers, and toddlers with close supervision, should be using a scissors! Helping children to become independent means helping them master skills and safety rules for using many different tools.

Just like so many other tasks, learning to use a scissors requires immense amounts of skill development. Children need to have small muscle strength and flexibility, they need to have good eye/hand coordination and visual perception, and they need to be able to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.

Learning to cut starts with the process of ripping, and then moves through snipping, creating a fringe, cutting in a straight line, then zig-zag, curved and intricate lines, and finally precise right angles. At each step, children are developing the fine motor and visual perception skills necessary to be successful.

Here are some tips that will help children master cutting skills.
1. For paper cutting, use high quality, blunt ended safety scissors
• Low quality scissors may not cut well, and can be frustrating for children
2. Help children hold the scissors correctly
• Mark the thumb hole so children know where to place their thumb and fingers
• Teach children to hold the scissors so their thumb is pointed towards the ceiling
• Practice opening and closing the scissors, like a fish opening and closing its mouth
3. Start by snipping
• Use playdough and plastic scissors
• Provide straws and strips of paper for children to snip
4. Hold the paper correctly
• The paper should be held at a right angle to scissors
• Move paper as cuts as made, not the scissors
5. Cutting on lines
• Start with straight lines, then move on to zig-zag and curved lines
• Trim excess paper occasionally as children cut, this makes it easier for children to hold the paper and cut on the line

Children will be SO proud of their cutting skills. Through allowing them to cut out their own projects, you are nurturing their self-esteem, confidence and telling them you believe in them. Above all, practice makes perfect!

Share with us your tips for helping your children succeed at cutting.