Fine MotorUncategorized

Cutting with scissors can be a difficult task for young learners

Children learn to use scissors in small steps and it is helpful to ensure they are following developmental steps to gain confidence so they can move to the next skill.  Scissor skills require a fine motor strength and manipulation awareness.  Basic finger strengthening activities need to be encouraged before your child’s hands are strong enough for scissor skills activities

Fine Motor activities that develop finger/hand strength include:

There are many ways you can encourage your child to strengthen the muscles in their hands. Some activities you might like to try – making learning FUN:

playdoh rolling and manipulation,

tong activities,

posting small objects,

picking objects up using pincer grip (thumb and index finger),



scrunching paper,

spray bottles,

finger painting,

clothes peg play,

writing/drawing in sensory trays;



First step in Scissor Activities

When your child is interested in exploring with scissors.  We recommend you use playdoh scissors and freshly made playdoh (shop bought playdoh is also able to be used, it is just not as soft)

Help your child to cut the playdoh and then let them have a lot of time to explore and enjoy cutting.  Don’t rush this process, it is an important learning stage

When your child has had some time with playdoh scissors, you can introduce them to child-safety scissors. There are many different types of safety scissors – you might like to purchase safety scissors from Amazon:

Melissa & Doug Safety Scissors


Scissor Grip

Holding a pair of scissors is not a natural feeling when you are first learning.  Your child will try to hold it in an awkward position.  It is important to encourage them to keep their thumb on top when cutting.

A fun strategy can be to draw a smiley face on your child’s thumb so that they remember they need to see the smiley face while they are cutting



Download your own copy of our Scissor Skills resource which teach scissor skills while having FUN 

Download your copy HERE



The first step to scissor skills is to make a snipping action.  The snipping action allows the learner to gain strength in their fingers to open and close the scissors.  This is a small hand motion which is a step toward building hand strength. Practice at this level is important and should be repeated for a period of time. It is good practice to use different textured objects to build strength with this skill. You could try straws, wool, cardboard, magazine pages, cooking patty cases, aluminium foil or similar.


Learning to co-ordinate holding the sheet of paper and using scissors is also a skill which takes practice.

The Snip Snip Scissor Skill resource will give your child lots of opportunity for practice with different graphics and colours to motivate snipping fringes on the pages


Longer Lines

When your child has developed strength in snipping skills you can encourage them to cut along longer lines by opening the hand after making a first cut in paper.  The Snip Snip Scissor Skill resource provides lots of opportunity to reinforce this strength building activity by cutting along longer printed lines to reach the animal graphic

To achieve this skill your child might need to practice opening and closing their hand while they hold the scissors so they understand the cutting action involved


Cuts across along the line

This skill is introduced in the Snip Snip Scissor Skill resource using shorter lines that progressively increase in length until the student is cutting full lengths of paper.  To make this activity fun, you can make puzzles using the graphics that have been cut in half or cut out the picture strips and reassemble them, glued to a coloured paper background.  Your child will love the challenge of these tasks while having fun with scissor skills

TIP: Using glue sticks is also another great fine motor skill at this developmental stage


Cutting along curved lines

As your child’s cutting skills increase, they will enjoy the challenge of cutting along different types of lines.  These might be thick/thin lines or curved lines.  The Snip Snip Scissor Skill resource gives opportunities to practice


Cutting out Shapes

When your child is feeling much more confident with the scissors, you can introduce them to cutting out different shapes.  Once cut, the shapes can be played with in shape finding games or can be glued to coloured paper to reinforce shape naming


Scissor skills should be introduced before your child heads to school.  The fun activities included in the Snip Snip Scissor Skills resource will assist your child to develop their cutting strength while enjoying the colourful and motivating pictures


Learn with Confidence