Crazy cutting skills!

Try these fun monster hair styles for your child to practice their cutting skills.

Why are cutting skills so important for a child to learn?

Cutting skills, the opening and closing of the scissors, are important because they build up small muscles in your child’s hand, these muscles are really important for writing skills later on and they will use the same muscles to grip a pen or pencil.

Cutting activities also provides something very important called bilateral coordination. Bilateral coordination is the ability to use both sides of the body at the same time but for different tasks. For example, if you ask your child to cut out a shape from some paper, they will need to use a cutting motion with one hand whilst turning the paper round with the other, it may seem easy to us but it’s a pretty hard thing to master! Try patting your head and rubbing your belly at the same time different directions and see how easy it is to master bilateral coordination!

It’s also important to remember that there are development stages to cutting that your child will follow, they won’t be able to pick up a pair of scissors and just start cutting away!

The learning steps:

  • Ripping – this is great for pincer grip and bilateral coordination (which I mentioned before)
  • Snipping – Just one straight open close movement required (as with the activity on this blog) to snip off a shape
  • Fringe – Creating a trim on a larger piece of paper, but still using one movement
  • Straight lines – Cutting up a straight line on a large peice of paper, requiring multiple open close movements
  • Zig zags – Cutting a zig zag on a large piece of paper, requiring small movements of the paper and multiple open close movements
  • Curved lines and right angles – Cutting around a circle or square, requiring movement of the paper whilst using the open close movement (this is advanced cutting and is suitable for children aged 4+ or once they have master the skills above

Top tip! It’s completely normal for your child to swap hands multiple times when they are learning how to use scissors. A child does not generally favor one hand for holding scissors, pens, pencils etc. until they are fully forming letters at the age of 4 years old and above! In fact, my 5 year old can still write just as well with both her left and her right hand! So let them do what feels right to them and try not to correct them if you can.

How to practice basic cutting with your child

This activity is a very fun way to practice cutting skills, and depending on the age of your child, they can either help with the preparation of the activity or go straight to the cutting skills once you have made it.

What you need:

  • Child safe scissors (you can find these in Kmart, Target and Office Works)
  • Paper
  • Toilet roll holders
  • Sellotape or glue
  • A pen or Sharpie

What you need to do:

  • Wrap the paper around your toilet roll holder and secure in the middle and the bottom with sellotape
  • Draw some fun faces on one side of the tube
  • Starting from the top of the paper, cut downwards towards the tube until you have lots of thin strips
  • Bend the strips downwards a bit to make them look like hair
  • Ask your child to give your monsters a hair cut!

My girls also had lots of fun sticking the strips back onto their monsters after they had finished!

A great tip if your child is finding it hard to remember to keep their thumb at the top is to draw a smiley face on their thumb nail and say “Smiles up, Frowns down!” Remind them they need to see the smiley face when they are cutting.

Have lots of fun!

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