Prep: 15-20 Minutes / Activity Time: 15 Minutes

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. If you take the time to put together a Cutting Kit, it will encourage frequent and successful cutting practice. When you want to give your child practice cutting, all you have to do is pull out the bin and all of your supplies are in one place. Cutting with scissors is a complicated skill that improves with practice.

  • plastic bin
  • straws (5-10)
  • Play-Doh
  • index cards (20)
  • card stock (10-15 pieces)
  • copy paper (5-10 pages)
  • newspaper flyers or magazine pages
  • markers (2-3)
  • child-safe scissors


Step 1: Assemble the Cutting Kit, including the materials shown above. Add to the kit as your child’s interest and ability grows. This will keep it motivating and interesting.

  • 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 is 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.

Practice Cutting

Step 1: As often as you can, offer the kit to your child and let her practice cutting. As a general rule, the thicker and smaller the media, the easier it is for your child to cut.

Step 2: Offer support as needed to help your child have a successful cutting experience.

Start with cutting straws and snipping Play-Doh. Move on to snipping thicker paper like index cards or cardstock.     

If your child is quite proficient in handling scissors and cutting on straight lines, draw curvy lines on the index cards and card stock. See if she can cut on the curvy lines. Then move on to cutting circles. This is more challenging because your child will have to move and position the paper with one hand while cutting with the other. As your child improves her cutting skills, you might ask her to cut out coupons from newspaper flyers or pictures from magazines.