Prep: 5-10 Minutes / Activity Time: 10-15 Minutes

Many two-year-olds can learn to hold a pair of safety scissors and cut along a line. Why is it important to learn to cut with scissors? In addition to being a useful life skill, cutting helps to develop the same muscles necessary for holding a pencil and writing at a later age. Under supervision, you can provide age-appropriate cutting experiences for your child. Of course, to avoid unplanned haircuts, you should never leave your child alone with a pair of scissors!

  • child-size safety scissors with rounded tip
  • straws
  • marker


  • Select scissors that are child sized and have a blunt end. The blades should be sharp enough to cut through the paper; otherwise, the paper will fold instead of cut. If your child is left-handed, look for left-handed scissors.  
  • Safety first! Tell your child that scissors are not toys; they are a special tool with sharp edges that need to be handled very carefully. Let her know that she will only be able to use scissors when you or another adult are there to supervise.  
  • Model the correct way to hold scissors and guide your child. Scissors should always be held below the shoulder, with the elbow tucked in close to the ribs and the thumb facing upward.
  • Draw lines on the straws for your child to cut on. Place the lines about 2” apart. 

Starting the Activity: 

Step 1: Show your child how to cut the straws on the lines you have drawn. Then give your child the scissors and let her try. Remember to help her keep her thumb up as she cuts. If your child has trouble remembering to keep her thumb up, place a small sticker or mark on her thumb to help remind her. If necessary, you can stand behind her and gently reposition her arm and hand. 

Step 2: Be prepared to see flying straws pieces as your child cuts.  This just adds to the delight! 

Step 3: Give your child several straws to practice on. Let her cut as long as she is interested and you have time to supervise. 

Step 4: Send your child to search and pick up all the straw pieces that have taken flight during cutting.   

Give your child straws without any marks for cutting. Just let your child cut and snip without having to worry about lining the scissors up with a line. 

Make narrower lines on the straws and place them 1” apart.