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Kindergarten Prep: Cutting with Scissors

Smilling little girl holding scissors and a paper square

Kindergarten Prep: Cutting with Scissors

It is most likely that you will find scissors on the "back-to-school" shopping list. You will want to select a good pair of child-sized scissors that your child can hold comfortably in his hand and that will easily cut paper. Be leery of really cheap scissors as these can make the cutting process more difficult and they will most likely fall apart before too long. If your child is still zigzagging back and forth between using his left versus right hand, then you might look for a pair of scissors that can be used in either hand or buy two different pairs of scissors—one left-handed and one right-handed pair. It is not recommended that you force your child to choose which hand must be used for cutting. Instead provide the tools your child will need as he figures out what works best.

What Your Child Should Know

The skills involving the safe and creative use of scissors, including:

  • Knowing how to hold a pair of scissors properly with his hands and fingers
  • Being able to open and close the scissors using one hand
  • Being able to cut a variety of different types of materials
  • Knowing how to carry scissors safely from one location to another

How You Can Help

Provide your child with many different types of materials to practice cutting. Some of the materials you may set out with a pair of scissors include: Play-Doh, paper, newspaper, magazines, cards, ribbon, lace, fabric, straws, grass, and other interesting materials. You want to keep the development of fine-motor skills interesting and open-ended so your child's focus stays on investigating the process rather than always getting it right.

As your child becomes more proficient at managing and manipulating the scissors, you may want to provide paper with lines for your child to try to cut along. Don't rush into structuring your child's cutting experiences and mastery. Allow ample time for him to build his cutting skills so that he will feel competent and confident in the cutting process.

Reflect, Revise, Revisit

While your child is exploring how to cut different materials, observe how he's holding the scissors and which hand he tends to use the most when cutting. If he continues to struggle with holding the scissors correctly after he's had ample time and opportunity, then investigate the problem a bit. Do you need to buy a different type of scissors? Are you giving your child plenty of opportunities and time to explore the process of cutting?

Remember, learning how to cut can be integrated with many other skills and activities, and mastery of this skill takes time. Keep it fun and turn the pressure off so your child will successfully reach his potential and maintain a sense of confidence along the way. Additional reading: Cutting with Scissors (

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