For the last two weeks, Kindergarten and 1st grade artists have been learning to use scissors. Cutting with scissors is an important skill that students will use in just about every class they take in school. The skill comes easy to some, but is a struggle for many others at this age.
When I first introduced scissors in art class, I told students not to worry if they found it challenging at first. I explained that we are training the muscles in our hands to move the way we want, which can take time. Along the way, we can pick up some helpful tips that will make cutting much easier. If you would like to practice with your kids at home, here are some of the tips I provide during art class. Hearing the same language at home that they do in art class will really help reinforce the skill and soon it will be muscle memory!
- Thumbs up!
Often when kids are cutting, they end up twisting their hand around so that their thumb is pointing down. This gives their hand less control over the direction of the scissors and it can start to cramp up. Remind them that their thumb should always be pointing up by saying, “Thumbs up!” whenever you see their thumb start to slip.
2. Stop at the corner and turn the paper!
Cutting a sharp corner on a shape or a zigzag line can be really challenging to students. When I demonstrate, I have them notice that when I get to a corner I stop and turn the paper with my other hand before I keep cutting. This keeps corners nice and sharp.
3. “No alligator bites!”
Something I emphasize about scissors safety is that students should never be cutting towards themselves. To explain this, I tell students that scissors are like an alligator with sharp teeth that can bite! You want your alligator to bite along the line that you drew, but you don’t want him to bite you. This means that his teeth should always be pointing away from you. I remind students to turn the paper if they notice they are cutting towards themselves by saying, “No alligator bites!”. This reminds them to turn the paper and continue cutting away from them.
Below are some helpful cutting worksheets with various lines and shapes for kids to cut out! Click on the number next to each picture for a large printable image of the worksheet. Good luck and have fun!