Ok cutting is probably not the easiest activity to start with… especially not for young three year olds who have never held a pair of scissors or a slack mother trying to ease into doing more ‘stuff’ with her kids…. but when we were out shopping for bits and pieces the girls spied the scissors and HAD to have them! Of course when we got home they HAD to use them too… so what the heck the first activity idea for the blog is cutting!
- children’s scissors – picks ones that have blunt ends and are the right size for small hands. But make sure they can still cut.. a lot of ‘all plastic’ scissors don’t cut well even for an adult and will just frustrate little fingers. We got ours from the warehouse for 99 cents a pair.
- scrap paper – we used old magazine pages. To make it even easier for little hands cut the pages into thinish strips so it only takes one snip to cut off a piece and it is much easier for little hands to hold and control the paper.
- something to catch the scraps! – we got two plastic tubs that we will use for heaps of other activities but they also work well for the girls to cut over and catch most of the scraps. And maybe a dust pan and broom each so they can have fun sweeping up any bits that escape when they are done.
This is what you call and ‘open-ended activity’ there isn’t really an end product (except for lots of scraps of paper) and the point is to simply enjoy the process, in this case using scissors, and to learn from that. So it doesn’t require much adult direction – just give them the tools and let them go. It does require you to stay close though – unless you are not fussed about them cutting things other than the paper! I read a magazine while they played and only stepped in to help when someone was getting frustrated with the scissors.
Most young three year olds don’t really have the fine motor control to use scissors correctly without a LOT of practice. As you can see from the photo both girls aren’t even close to holding the scissors correctly and had trouble opening and closing the scissors in their hands and holding the paper at an angle that enables them to cut it.
Despite all that they still enjoyed cutting and tearing the strips of paper and just generally exploring scissors. I helped them out a few times showing them how to hold the scissors and the angle they need to hold their hands at but for the most part left them to it. The more they use them the better they will get until one day they have the skill to cut each other’s clothes or hair! eek! LOL
Older threes who have more skill with scissors will enjoy cutting out actual pictures. Junk mail from supermarkets is good for this as it contains lots of familiar images, is readily available and easy to cut. You might want to offer paper and glue for them to stick the images on after they have cut them too.
You can also use scissors to cut play dough… sounds weird but it is a lot of fun and very satisfying for a young cutter as rolled out play dough cuts easily and doesn’t tear as readily as paper.