Sunday, March 6, 2016

Scissor Cutting with Toddlers

 "Ma ma, I want to do art craft!", that's what I wake up to these weekends-days.

Emma and I spent a good amount of time doing art crafts of random sorts and she had been trying to snatch the scissors from me for the longest time. I think she uses scissor in school (in fact she didn't) but it didn't cross my mind that it's time to entrust her with a scissor until her sunday school teacher, an awesome mommy of 4, guided her to cut at the class more than a month back. 

So, I decided gave it a shot - handed her the smallest scissor that I could find at home and a piece of construction paper. After of couple of practice sessions, she is able to control her scissor so much better. I went on to read up more about cutting activities and found out that cutting is such an important skill for the toddlers.

Importance of using scissors

1. Build up muscles of her hands and palm for many developmental tasks

The opening and closing of the hand will build up her muscles for many developmental tasks like writing, painting, holding on to things (eg. utensils, toothbrush) and pulling of pants.

2. Enhances eye-hand coordination

During cutting, a child will use need to process what they see and move their hands at the same time. 

3. Improves bilateral coordination

Bilateral coordination is involved when one uses both hands with each one doing something different. When they come to shapes, they need to turn the paper using one hand and cut using another. 


4. Trains patience and concentration

It usually take more time to cut out a shape than to draw one, don't you agree? Cutting requires definitely need more patience and concentration.

5. Encourages creativity

Emma cut out a shape and claimed it to be elephant! As the child realise the power of cutting and creation, you will be surprised with what they can come out with. I can't wait.


When can they start to use scissors?

Toddlers who are developing well can try to cut when they turn 2 years old. However, I can't emphasise more that scissors can be dangerous and children should be supervised at all times when using scissors. Do keep your scissors at places unreachable to your child(ren) and teach them not to walk around with a scissor. 

How to get started?

1. Tool

Get ready a small scissor that doesn't have any sharp edges and some construction papers. There are some plastic scissor but we skipped that and used normal metal scissors. I used construction papers instead of normal white papers as they are thicker and hold up better.

2. Demonstration

Show your child how you would use the scissor and cut out strips of paper for a start. More often than not, your child will be snatching the scissor from you so be firm not let her snatch it away.

3. Practice under guidance

Position her hands nicely on the scissor and paper then hold on to her hands and cut with her. Do it for a few times until she get the hang of it. Remind her to not to cut towards her other hand. 

Try practising with tongs first if you see that your child is not ready. The use of tongs uses the same opening and closing actions. Let your child take her time and practise again when she is ready.

4. Independent practice

As your child gets better, let her try cutting by herself but under close supervision. Apart from construction papers, I also gave Emma straws, ribbons, cards, paper plates to cut. She finds it funny to see the pieces of straws shooting around. It's good to explore different texture and firmness (as it would enhance her cutting skill. I've playdough and styrofoam plate (left over from mushrooms pack kind) in mind.

When she gets better, I'll introduce her to more lines and shapes. I'm thinking of those cut and paste out a picture kind of art craft. Hopefully she will still be interested in scissors by then! 

And if you have more cutting ideas, please share with me! 

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