Wednesday, August 5

Using Scissors

This week I was in need of more scissor skill cutting papers that are used in the Montessori classrooms. Since I was printing these off, I thought I would write a post about introducing scissors and improving scissor skills as well as how to make or where to find these handy =) scissor cutting papers.

I introduced scissors to my daughter when she turned 3 years old. One exercise that is a great preparatory exercise for scissor cutting is using tongs. Using tongs strengthens the same fingers that the scissors will use and models similar movements needed to open and close the scissors. I began by saying "These are scissors. These scissors are used to cut paper. They are sharp and they cut." I demonstrated how to hold the scissors and how to open and close them. We then practiced putting the fingers into the correct holes and opening and closing the scissors. Just opening and closing the scissors takes practice and strength. I always encourage pointing the scissors up while cutting which reduces sideways cutting. Once this was successful, we moved on to cutting....straws. Straws are a lot easier than starting with paper. The straw doesn't flop like paper or require as much movement of the hand holding it. Be aware that the pieces of cut straw will go flying into the air. We cut one straw, stopped and picked up the pieces and then cut another and so on.

After a great amount of success with straw cutting we started cutting paper. These are one kind of cutting strips typically found in Montessori classrooms for scissor work. You can easily make your own with a marker or print them off the computer. The first set should be short enough that the paper is manageable for the child and the lines short enough that it can be cut with one snip. Demonstrate how to cut slow and carefully an entire cutting strip so the child can see the goal is cutting on the line.


After success with straight lines the child moves onto diagonals, peaks, curves, waves and using more than one cut/snip. (FYI The paper on the left is how it comes off the computer website, I cut it into strips like the ones on the right, the child then cuts those strips)


These cutting papers are just two of a number available (free) at this site. (I will post this at the side of the blog for future reference.)


I like to print them off onto different colored papers for less confusion (especially if you have an older and younger child). I also print the easiest on red and use the colors and order of the rainbow-easiest to hardest. This is how it is presented on the shelf. The scissors are always moved via the tray and when cutting with the scissors the basket is taken off and the scissors are used over the tray to catch the pieces. The cut pieces are then gathered and put in an envelope, which is often decorated after.

11 comments:

TheRockerMom said...

Thank you! RockerTot loves scissors. He does the single snip cut on the lines, but when he's ready for more, I'll know where to go. Thanks again!!

My Child's Diary said...

I have just tried to introduce My First Fiskars to my 23 months son. May I ask how does your daughter hold the scissors? Thank you, Miri

Nicole {tired, need sleep} said...

Thank you for this great post and the link to the resources. It's exactly what I've been looking for for my son who is getting to a point where he needs a bit more of a challenge with cutting. Thank you!

SmartPumpkin'sMom said...

Thank you, Amy! Great info, as usual.
Stop by at my blog and grab the award that I gave you. LOL
Love your blog.

Our Little Family said...

This is SO great! I recently gave scissors a go with my daughter, but she got frustrated quite quickly (so they've been put away for a while). I'm definitely bookmarking this so that I can revisit it later.

By the way, I just wanted you to know that I always love reading your blog (and left you a little award over on mine). Thank you for always inspiring and providing such great Montessori-based ideas.

Jenn said...

Thanks for this post! My daughter just got her first pair of scissors for her birthday and loves them. I bet she would do very well cutting straws, we will have to try that soon.

Teacher said...

Another great thing to cut is paint sample strips. They are the perfect size and have lines between the various colors!!

Amy said...

Teacher-thanks for that tip we will have to try the paint strips. Miri- my daughter has her thumb in the smallest hole (at the top) and the index,middle,and ring finger in the largest.

My Child's Diary said...

Thanks for replying!

motherbynature said...

Great article. I think an important point to mention - that shouldn't be a surprise to Montessori folks, but just in case - is that the kids should use "real" scissors, not the plastic "safety" scissors. Those just don't do a good job and are an exercise in frustration.

I think my daughter first started using scissors around age 2, she loved to do single snips around the edge of a sheet of paper. I never thought of straws, that's a great idea and I'm sure it's tons of fun too!

She's now 3 and we're using cutting sheets like the ones you linked to (which I will now use as well), cutting long lines on diagonals and curves, she's frighteningly good at staying on the line. Meanwhile, most kids this age would still usually only be given plastic safety scissors, if any at all... DD is very safe and careful. :)

Anonymous said...

Before finding out about links of london uk watches you should be familiar with some of the terminology. cheap links of london The word horology has two meanings; it is the study or science of measuring time links london jewellery or the art of making clocks, watches, and devices for telling links of london sale time.Since the first appearance of man on the earth an effort has links of london silver been made to determine time.The tracking of the sun's movement across discount links of london the sky, candles that were marked at intervals.Water clocks did links of london bracelet not depend on the observation of the sky or the sun.