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Scissor Skills for Children

When I ask a parent if their child uses scissors I often get the response, "Oh, no I would never let them use scissors now." Of course you are not going to give your child a pair of scissors and walk away; however, working together and practicing with scissors is very important for children as it is a part of their development. Snipping with scissors is a skill that usually develops a little after 2 years of age!

Why is cutting so important?

Cutting helps build up the small muscles of our hands

Helps with eye-hand coordination

Encourages the use of bilateral coordination

How to teach your child to use scissors:

If your child has never held scissors, allow them to practice the open/close motion with other activities:

First things first...

Location, location, location! Finding an appropriate work area is very important. You do not want your child distracted by the television while using scissors. A child-sized table is a great place to start working on cutting skills. Before picking up the scissors make sure you child's feet are placed firmly on the floor (remember our Postural Control blog?) Once they are positioned correctly, hand your child the scissors. The correct position is a "thumbs up" position.

Correct Positioning: Incorrect Positioning:

If your child has difficulty placing the scissors correctly on their hand try putting a sticker or drawing a smiley face on the thumb of their cutting hand so they remember that it should always be facing upward!

My favorite scissors are Fiskars Blunt Tip

Paper can be hard to maneuver for first time scissor users! Make it fun for your child and have them practice cutting play dough!

If your child continues to have difficulty - you can also give them beginner scissors to help with the open/close motion. The ones shown below are also made by Fiskars and can be found here.

Stages of Cutting:

Snipping with scissors Cutting across paper

(25-26 month skill) (37-38 month skill)

Cutting on line Cutting circle Cutting square

(41-42 month skill) (49-50 month skill) (53-54 month skill)

Making projects are a great way of practicing cutting skills. Snipping fringe on green paper will make grass, a circle could be the sun or the center of a flower and a square could be turned into a house!

Have fun and get creative!


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at


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