Scissor skills for children

By June 5, 2024 June 13th, 2024 Occupational Therapy
Child learning scissors skills in Occupational Therapy session

Scissor skills are an important part of a child’s development. Using scissors helps children improve their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and concentration. Here are some key points about teaching scissor skills to children:

Why Scissor Skills Matter

Fine Motor Skills: Scissor activities strengthen the small muscles in children’s hands. These muscles are important for writing, buttoning clothes, and other tasks.

Hand-Eye Coordination: Cutting with scissors requires children to use their hands and eyes together. This coordination is crucial for many everyday activities.

Focus and Concentration: Cutting shapes and lines helps children learn to focus on a task. This can improve their attention span.

When to Start

Children can start practicing scissor skills around the age of three. However, it’s important to ensure they are ready. Signs of readiness include the ability to follow simple instructions and having enough hand strength to hold scissors.

Choosing the Right Scissors

Safety Scissors: Begin with safety scissors. These have blunt ends and are designed to be safe for young children.

Size: Make sure the scissors fit your child’s hand. They should be easy to hold and control.

Quality: Choose scissors that cut paper easily. Frustration can occur if the scissors are not sharp enough.

Steps to Teach Scissor Skills

Explain and Demonstrate: Show your child how to hold the scissors correctly. Thumb goes in the small hole, fingers go in the larger hole.

Practice Open and Close: Before cutting, have your child practice opening and closing the scissors. This helps them get used to the motion.

Start Simple: Begin with simple tasks. Let your child snip along the edge of a piece of paper. Progress to cutting straight lines, then curves and shapes.

Use Guidelines: Draw lines or shapes on paper for your child to follow. This gives them a clear path to cut along.

Supervise and Support: Always supervise your child when they are using scissors. Offer support and encouragement.

Fun Activities for Scissor Skills

Cutting Strips: Cut paper into strips. Let your child cut these strips into smaller pieces. This helps them practice straight cuts.

Cutting Playdough: Use scissors to cut playdough. This activity strengthens hand muscles and is less challenging than cutting paper.

Magazine Collage: Give your child old magazines. Let them cut out pictures to make a collage. This is a fun way to practice cutting different shapes.

Pattern Cutting: Draw simple patterns on paper, like zigzags or waves. Let your child follow the patterns with their scissors.

Tips for Success

Be Patient: Learning to use scissors takes time. Be patient and offer plenty of praise.

Keep Sessions Short: Short, frequent practice sessions are better than long ones. Aim for 5-10 minutes at a time.

Create a Safe Environment: Make sure your child cuts in a safe area. Use child-safe scissors and avoid distractions.

Use Different Materials: Let your child practice cutting various materials like paper, fabric, and cardboard. This helps them adapt to different textures and resistance levels.

Make it Fun: Turn cutting practice into a fun activity. Use colorful papers, create crafts, or play games that involve cutting.

Common Challenges with scissor skills

Difficulty Holding Scissors: Some children may struggle with holding scissors correctly. Help them practice the correct grip.

Trouble Cutting Straight Lines: Cutting straight lines can be hard at first. Use thick lines and guide their hand if needed.

Frustration: If your child gets frustrated, take a break. Return to the activity when they are calm and ready to try again.


Scissor skills are essential for children’s development. With patience, practice, and encouragement, children can learn to use scissors effectively. Start with simple activities, provide a safe environment, and celebrate their progress. This will help build their confidence and make learning fun.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

If you’re concerned about your child’s scissor skills or want to learn more about how scissor skills skills can help your child, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help. We have clinics in Bondi Junction and Mascot – in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey.