We’ve been exploring outer space for the past little bit (in the classroom, anyways) and we’re finally ready to share what we’ve been up to. Today, we’re sharing free Outer Space Cutting Printables, as well as tips for teaching safe scissors skills!
We’re also excited to be introducing Yuliya from Welcome to Mommyhood as a new contributor here at Sugar, Spice and Glitter!
Today, I am sharing a fun guide to helping little ones develop scissor skills, including a free set of space themed cutting strips. The sequencing introduced here is intended to give you a general idea. First and foremost, be sure to follow your child’s own cues and sensitive periods!
What to Look for Before Introducing Scissors
When talking about using scissors, it’s important to mention that fine motor skills and muscle development are a crucial precursor. Prior to even beginning working on using scissors, my son worked on fine motor and practical life activities. These include using a spoon, tonging, tweezing, etc from one bowl to another. These works will strengthen important muscles in the hands that will help your child to be able to use scissors once they are ready.
When my son was about two and a half years old, he started showing an interest in using scissors. I bought a set of scissors for kids that I felt comfortable with. There are so many options at the moment – you may need to try around to find the pair that your child can hold comfortably.
I also had a conversation with my toddler about safety. Equally as important as it is to learn to use the scissors themselves, I emphasized the importance of not running with scissors, and that he holds them safely if he walks with them by holding the closed blades firmly in his hand.
How to Set Up Cutting Practice Trays
If you’re following the Montessori Method, or just want a self-contained activity, gather:
- Item to cut (Click here to download the free Outer Space Printable Pack, pretty paper, etc)
- 2 bowls (1 for scraps, 1 for objects being cut out)
- A tray for containing everything
When introducing scissors to your child, be sure to first focus on proper grasp. Demonstrate to your child how to grasp the scissors. This will depend on the type that you buy, but generally of course, focus on positioning the wrist so that the thumb is placed upwards, inside of the loop for the thumb.
Demonstrate to your child how to open and close the scissors without actually cutting anything. Let your child practice doing this.
Demonstrate to your child how you cut a piece of paper using proper grasp.
The first phase of learning to use scissors involves snipping. This is simply making the cutting motion once on paper. We stayed at this phase for a very long time. The first set of cutting strips in my Space Themed Scissor Practice Pack is perfect for snipping practice!
To set up this work, present the cutting strips, a pair of scissors, and two bowls. One bowl will be for the images, and another to collect any scraps of paper.
You can print multiple copies of this page and let your child practice making the cutting motion.
Alternatively, you can let your child snip scrap papers. The idea is to let them practice making the motion rather than focus on cutting along the dotted line per se. That will come later.
After your child master snipping, they will learn to make a consecutive cutting motion. Eventually, they will be able to cut along the dotted line using only two or three ‘snips’ or cutting motions.
Cutting a straight line
The next phase is being able to cut a longer line. For this, you can use the second page of printables.
This stage will take practice and patience. It took us a long while to move from snipping and cutting small pieces of paper, to being able to cut a long piece of paper, along the dotted line.
Cutting curved lines and complicated shapes
After mastering more precise cutting, your child will likely be ready to cut along curved lines (page 7 of the printable pack), and then along more complicated shapes or lines.
Click on the image below to download your free Outer Space Printables Pack.
More About our Guest Poster, Yuliya
Yuliya is a mom to a three year old (boy), and blogs over at Welcome to Mommyhood about kids activities, shares printables, recipes, and more!
Visit Yuliya’s blog Welcome to Mommyhood for tons of kids activities, healthy recipes, and more!
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