Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Scissor Skills - Not so "cut and dry".

Learning to cut with scissors is a very complex task. Think of all the control required to actually open and close scissors. You many think just the wrist, hand and fingers does the job but in reality it is almost your entire body working to cut the paper. You need to have appropriate posture (back stable, feet on floor and hips in neutral). Shoulders and arms need to be stable to allow the hands to work. The muscles in the fingers need to work in isolation. The eyes need to look at what the hands are doing. The brain has to process what the hands are doing on both sides of the body (one cutting and one holding the paper). Have I left any body parts out? Alright, maybe a few but in general it is a full body task just to get the hands and fingers to work with precision.

Here are 10 activities to help develop pre-scissor skills to get the body ready for cutting:
1. Activities that require upper extremity weight bearing - crawling over and under objects, animal walks and walking on hands.
2. Activities the encourage upper extremity muscle strengthening - monkey bars, rock climbing walls and tug of war.
3. Paper activities: Tear paper into small pieces and scrunch tissue paper into small balls.
4. Lacing activities (Try our Lacing Cards download).
5. Playing with clay - creating small balls, pull clay apart and use rolling pins. (Try Creative Clay Activities or Play Clay Mats.)
6. Use a hole punch or paper punches (Try Make Your Own Mobiles).
7. Use tweezers or tongs from the bathroom and kitchen to pick up small objects like cotton balls or dried macaroni.
8. String beads or macaroni.
9. Complete puzzles.
10. Use clothes pins to help strengthen the small muscles of the hands (Try Clothes Pin Collection).

Once the child is ready to cut start out with card stock or light cardboard and progress to paper. This is a collection of free downloads to practice scissors skills.
Cut and Paste Free Sample
Cutting Cards Free Sample
Step By Step Shape Projects Puppy Free Sample

Visit for more fine motor activity books.

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