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Tips on teaching preschooler to use scissors

Forum: Homeschooling


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February 1st, 2010, 01:44 PM
mommytutu's Avatar mom to Emma & Jacqueline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Bradenton, Fl
Posts: 13,831
DD has a very hard time using scissors, and despite practice she is still struggling. I am having a hard time coming up with activities for her to use scissors with that won't discourage her. She gets very upset if she is cutting something out and messes it up.

Any tips on how to help her develop this skill?
Kayttie, in love with Shane, mom to Emma Brynn and Jacqueline Noel

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February 1st, 2010, 02:24 PM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Hampton Roads, VA, USA
Posts: 3,739
Play with playdough, plasticine, or other similar things-- these help develop the hand muscles needed to open and close scissors

Give her scraps and let her just cut her heart out (figuratively, lol)... she could use the bits to make mosaics or other art projects.

Give her a square/rectangle of paper and show her how to cut thin strips along the edge (don't draw lines for her, then there's no "perfect cut").

And... don't expect much in the way of "perfect" until she's more like 6 or 7. Just keep telling her what a good job she did when she *tries*. My niece is turning 8 and only really *mastered* scissors last year. My nephew still can't cut worth much and he just turned 6.

ETA: I just found this site, and it's got TONS of suggestions!! Scissor Practice And Pre-scissor Skills Activities
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February 1st, 2010, 02:48 PM
mommytutu's Avatar mom to Emma & Jacqueline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Bradenton, Fl
Posts: 13,831
Thank you! We will definitely put that to good use!

DD really wants to use scissors, so the motivation is there, but she gets discouraged so easily if things don't turn out exactly how she thought they would (even if I am praising her.) She is a perfectionist, just like her dad.
Kayttie, in love with Shane, mom to Emma Brynn and Jacqueline Noel

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February 1st, 2010, 03:09 PM
BensMom's Avatar Ephesians 4:29
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: The Lonestar State
Posts: 50,214
KUMON!!! Can't speak highly enough of it! There's one book that is completely about cutting (I think it says ages 3-4-5 on the cover, but I can't remember). It starts off very easy (straight lines) and goes into /\/\/\/\ then boxes, circles, spirals, etc. I LOVE it. Ben was extremely frustrated until we started the Kumon book. It has great illustrations, so it's really fun to cut things. It's not just like cutting out shapes you draw or whatever. She'd really be cutting out houses, characters, etc. There's also a cut/paste book that Ben likes. It starts off very simple and gets harder as well. There are very, very basic books available as well, but I haven't used them. (They're about 1/2 the size of the regular workbooks.) I wish I'd known about them sooner. I'll definitely use them with Daniel later, though.
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February 2nd, 2010, 06:52 AM
AmAnDaMo's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,671
I'm not sure exactly where she's struggling, but for my little one it was a matter of not keeping her thumb on top and not sliding the scissors to a new area each time she opened the scissors.

She learns well when something is put to music, so I made up a song about keeping her thumb on top, opening, sliding, and closing and it really helped her remember the motions.

She started out just cutting paper randomly for fun. That way she didn't get discouraged because there wasn't anything specific to cut out. That helped her get used to the feel of the scissors before she moved on to straight lines. For practice, I'd make green lines of various lengths on a piece of paper with a red ball at the end that let her know it was time to stop cutting. After she mastered that, we moved on to zig-zags and just progressed from there.

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February 2nd, 2010, 08:06 AM
Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Home
Posts: 5,644
You've gotten some great advice! The best way to get better at using scissors is just to practice cutting and those activities mentioned to develop her hand muscles sound great.

I think the biggest thing is that she is getting frustrated when she messes up cutting something. I guess the best way to deal with that is to not cut something concrete? Just to cut scraps of paper, like previously suggested, to use for art projects like collages and the like. That way she can get practice without thinking she is going to mess up something?

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February 2nd, 2010, 02:31 PM
TaraJo29's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,755
I agree with BensMom. My boys had the Kumon cutting book and LOVED IT. They cut out all sorts of things like rainbows, curvy snakes, jagged crocodile teeth, etc. Love, love, loved it. It has perforated pages so you can take out the page and give it to the child. If I remember right, the lines are big and bold so the child can see exactly where to cut (and the wide line gives a tiny bit of leeway so it's easier to stay on the line - maybe that would be encouraging for your lil perfectionist?).
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February 2nd, 2010, 07:31 PM
in_mommy's Avatar I am just me
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 14,873
I would say give the Kumon a try as well!, they have GREAT stuff!!
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February 6th, 2010, 08:56 AM
Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Georgia
Posts: 2,448
We haven't done much but cut playdough and paper scraps scraps. But it sounds like a great opportunity to help her figure out how to handle frustration over not getting it right the first time (or second, or third). I'm still easily discouraged and it messes with me whenever I try to do something new.
Married to a wonderful man
Mommy to DD, DS1, & DS2
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