Pre-Scissor Skills Part 2: Activities to Promote Fine Motor Development

Pre-Scissor Skills Part 2: Activities to Promote Fine Motor Development

On our previous post Pre-Scissor Skills: Activities to Promote Fine Motor Development, I shared a few activities you can do with your student before introducing scissors. At that stage, the student is beginning to differentiate the two hands and is able to pick up objects with scissor-like toys. In this post we continue where we left off, teaching the ability to snip or cut.

Here are some of my favorite activities I do to teach the cause and effect of snipping and cutting:

Materials: child-size scissors, variety of adaptive scissors (links below for some suggested scissors), thick paper or cardboard, felt, Play-Doh, straws, and a marker.

1) Play-Doh: In this activity have the student roll Play-Doh into thin snakes or long ropes. Encourage using both hands while rolling the Play-Doh. Then, one hand holds the rope/snake while the dominant hand snips the Play-Doh. The good thing about Play-Doh is you can reshape it and try again. You can use

The child might snip once and continue to pull the Play-Doh or tear it apart. This is usually fine at the beginning stage, but you can make it easier by rolling the Play-Doh thinner so it can be easily snipped once.

2) Straw: Straws are great for scissor activities. They are small enough to fit easily in small hands and need no more than one snip to cut. You can use a variety of sizes and textures but keep in mind your student's hand strength. You can have your student snip straws to make art or just practice scissor skills. With this activity, your student learns some activities cannot be reversed, unlike with Play-Doh.

Tip: Place a sticker on top of the child’s thumb as a visual cue to keep the scissor facing up.

3) Thick paper: Cut out half an inch to one inch of thick paper and have the child snip off the edges or try to cut it in pieces. In this activity, the child learns how to hold something flat.

Tip: put stickers on both thumbs so the student can keep them facing up. So the helping hand’s thumb (the one holding the paper) should be facing up the same way the other thumb is.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

Using Adaptive Scissors: Have your child use the (4 hole scissor) like the ACME United Training Scissors to teach motor planning using hand over hand style. See picture below for example. Child places fingers in the appropriate places and you put your fingers in the last two holes. Guide the child having him/her feel the cutting process. This can be skipped if child already mastered it.

Using hand over hand method to teach scissors skill

Using hand over hand method to teach scissors skill

Spring loaded scissors: with spring loaded scissors, the child will squeeze scissors and the spring will open it back up, making it easier for the child. Always, have the child hold on to what is being cut with the other hand to encourage bilateral coordination.

(Don’t forget: place a sticker on child’s thumb to remind him/her to keep it upright. This will help with wrist extension and proper placement)

Lists of scissors you can find on our Amazon Affiliate link:

  1. Blunt Tipped Spring Kids Scissors / School Scissors, Preschool and Kindergarten Use

  2. Fiskars Pre-School Spring Action Scissors

  3. Special Supplies Loop

  4. ACME United Training Scissors

  5. Fiskars Pre-School Training Scissors

*I hope you found these activities helpful! On our next post I will go over the developmental stages of cutting lines and shapes.

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Remember, kids learn through play, so let’s play to learn!


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Pre-Scissor Skills Part 1: Activities to Promote Fine Motor Development

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