Filed under: Featured, Senses and Body Parts, Skill development, Teaching Ideas, Teaching Tales

First Snip: Learning to Cut

by on Nov 19th, 2010

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Cutting is an essential skill that each of us needs to learn during our early years. It may be scary at first, but it’s easy to get the hang of it.

Children love playing with things they are not supposed to play with. They love touching things they are not supposed to touch. So when we tell them NOT to play with scissors, obviously, we just triggered their curiosity. They do not yet realize that scissors can hurt if not used properly, hence they are not afraid to try it. Adults however, are too afraid that the child might hurt himself if he is not yet ready. Don’t be. Let them try new things. Let them start with the small plastic scissors and slowly grow into bigger and sharper scissors.Don’t forget to show them how to use it so they don’t get frustrated.

Learning to use the scissors is a process. It is not a one time thing. Just like anything in life, cutting starts with the first step… or in this case, with the first snip. Give the kids some scrap paper that can easily be snipped off. For first time users especially, cutting long lines might be too difficult for them. A snip always does the trick. This way, they feel confident that they can cut and that cutting is not so hard after all.

Provide a small box where they can place all the paper they’ve cut or snipped. Don’t just randomly throw it away without asking them first. Some kids might actually be trying to cut something out. My students would usually snip out small shapes and show me how proud they are of it! “Teacher! Look! It’s a square!” As easy as this may seem for adults, this is already a big accomplishment for the kids. It really gives them a feeling of success and fulfillment.

Once they get over it, give them longer and longer lines to cut. You can even try handing them a print out for lines to follow. As this progresses, try letting them cutting zig zags and wavy lines. Sooner than you know it, they will already be cutting various shapes and pictures!

And to think it all starts with ONE SMALL SNIP! :)


Cheryl Villareal is a preschool teacher and the owner/ editor-in-chief of On weekdays, she could be found teaching her little tots while Sundays are her workout days. She easily enjoys simple things and loves experiencing new things! Her blog is simply a way for her to share these experiences with people. Besides her blog, she also contributes and writes various articles on Follow her on Twitter

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