How to Improve Your Child’s Hand-Eye Co-Ordination with Scissorwork

After a certain age we take using scissors for granted. We stop running with them and handing them to others points-first and just get on with them. However, safety first isn’t the only life lesson they can teach us. Using scissors helps us to acquire fine motor control and hand-eye co-ordination.
Kids love cutting up paper (and sometimes the tablecloth and each other’s hair…), so this is one learning curve they practically run up!
Fine motor skills
Scissors are ideal for teaching young hands to be subtle and strong, all at once. Start off on easy cutting exercises on downloadable printed sheets – try straight lines, triangles or wavy lines. Stock up on paper, find the cheapest ink cartridges online and get printing!
You might worry about your kids cutting themselves, or worry they’re too young to be using scissors, but many developmental psychologists think that two or three is a good age to start. Make sure they’re using a blunter pair – maybe even plastic bladed – and always supervise.
Here’s the lowdown on the benefits
Using scissors builds up the small muscles in the palm. These same muscles are used in writing, painting, cleaning teeth, using cutlery and pulling up underwear – all vital life skills (especially the last one!).
It also enhances hand-eye co-ordination – synthesising vision, visual processing and hand movements to perform and complete a task, like zipping up a coat, playing ball games and eating.

Using scissors encourages bilateral co-ordinationusing both sides of the body at once, to perform different activities. Think about it – you’re cutting with one hand and manipulating the paper with another. This helps with things like using a keyboard, washing up and getting dressed.


Spud's arts and crafts corner.
How to do it
First of all, the child should practice opening and closing the scissors, feeling the resistance and getting used to the movement. Then they should feel how it is to cut through paper. If the child finds it hard at first, then try out something similar, like a hole-punch or barbecue tongs.
Don’t expect instant results, especially with younger children. Let them ave fun and wait for their technique to develop. It takes muscle control, strength and stamina, so just watch over them and wait for this to develop.
Sometimes children turn their hands upside-down when they’re cutting, so tell that they need a thumbs-up posture, which is easy to remember!
Other ideas: Using playdough
Cutting up playdough is an easy start, as you only really need one hand. Also, once cutting has become a bit samey, your child can start modelling, squeezing and tearing it, which is great for the hand muscles too.
Using cookie dough
This is fun because you get to eat the results in the end! It works the same as playdough, but maybe restrict the freehand play…no-one likes added essence of toddler with their biscuits.
Coloured construction paper
Forget about following patterns and just free-cut, then glue the pieces onto a sheet of paper for a mosaic.
Until next time, Jada x

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