When it comes to simple art projects for children the coloring part seems to come easily for them. Crayons are shoved into their little hands when children first begin to watch others writing and doing things on paper. As they progress into much harder tasks like cutting, an adult should be mindful of the awkwardness and instability the child feels. Paying close attention to the way a child holds their little safety scissors in their little hands and helping them hold it properly will help the child ease into the task so much easier.
Before you begin to implement scissors into a child’s world be sure to give a brief lecture on the dangers of them, and how they can hurt you and that they are not a toy. 9 times out of 10 a child will see if you are right and try to cut something on themselves and that is usually their own hair. It is hard to know exactly what age this should be done, but a parent, or caregiver will be able to decide this and if the child needs one on one help for a while then by all means devote a few extra minutes to that child and the efforts will be beneficial.
When first introducing scissors to a child it is a good idea to determine which hand they feel more comfortable using. To do this, set a crayon, pencil, or scissors directly in front of the child on the table and see which hand they reach out with to grab the object. After this is satisfactorily determined help them know that the thumb goes into the small opening and the two fingers in the large one, by placing the thumb on top and making a fist gives the child more control. Some children need constant reinforcing while others can pick up on this more easily. I keep saying “thumb on top, thumb on top, and make a fist.” I show them by holding a pair myself.
I like to encourage practicing and by giving children scraps of paper to practice with gives them the much needed engagement that is required to master the skill. I often use a lot of tape to put projects back together. I also like to use a small, empty wading pool so that the scraps are contained and easily dumped into the garbage. The children love to sit in the wading pool and practice their cutting. Adult supervision is ALWAYS necessary.
It is very important to purchase child safety scissors for them to practice at home along with an additional pair to take to preschool in their little crayon boxes. I was lucky enough to have been given a small budget to purchase some for my class. I was happy to be able to pick them out myself as the children would bring their own in and all the scissors would be different and then there was fighting. Putting the child’s name on their supplies is always a good idea, unless the items will be donated.
Craft ideas from this author needing child safety scissors: