Many parents often wonder when their children can start using scissors and how to improve their scissor skills. Your child can start using scissors from when they are around 3.
But why is cutting important?
- Develops hand-eye coordination. This means it develops your child to process what he/she is seeing while using his/her hands to move the object at the same time. In cutting, your child will have to cut and move the paper around carefully.
- Strengthens hand muscles. When using scissors, your child’s hand muscles get well exercised. This results in improved fine motor skills and better handwriting.
- Encourages bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination means being able to synchronize both sides of the body in a controlled, and organized manner. We need bilateral coordination all throughout the day – when we cut vegetables (holding the vegetable in place with one hand and cutting with the other), write (holding the paper/book in place while writing) etc.
If they have trouble holding scissors correctly, draw a smiley face on their thumb’s nail so that when they hold their scissors they should be able to see their smiling thumbnail facing them. This way, your child will learn to hold their scissors correctly.
Now, all children take some time to master the scissors. But some take longer than others and they might be delayed because their hand muscles either lack the strength or they do not yet have the coordination needed to cut neatly.
Here are some ways your child can practice cutting skills with scissors.
- Cutting clay/dough: Have your child make a clay or dough snake and then, using their scissors, cut little pieces of the same or similar size. Cutting through dense clay is a good exercise for their little hand muscles and also will help the child learn to perceive length and cut appropriately.
- Cutting straw: Cutting different textured items lets your child steady their grip and makes it easier for them to cut along patterns and shapes on paper, later. Once cut, your child can string the pieces of straw on a piece of wool to make bracelets and necklaces for himself/herself or the family. Both activities are great fine motor skill activities.
- Craft paper mosaics: Let your kids cut coloured paper into tiniest possible bits and make a funky mosaic picture out of it.
- Cutting patterns: Draw out shapes on paper and have your child cut along the line. Draw straight lines, triangles, circles and large shapes that your child can easily follow. Have them make their own composite pictures – build rockets with triangles and rectangles, a car with circles and other shapes, etc.
It is very important to choose a right pair of scissors for your child. There is a variety of craft scissors available in the market. One should go for the plastic ones instead of an iron or a steel one.
Scissor work is a really great way for your child to develop skills that he/she will need in daily life. It is not just about artwork, but able exercising the brain and muscles in the hand. Make time for encouraging your child to use scissors every day, if you can.