As with most of the other foundation skills, being able to use scissors follows a clear sequence of development – when you know what to look for that is! It started with junior learning to open and close their hands, followed by being able to move individual fingers separately from each other – a skill that allows them to hold one scissor handle with their thumb while their 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers hold the other.
From here, your youngster learns to be able to open and close the two scissor halves independently from each other. This will then enable them to snip the paper by using their thumb to control the scissors while the other hand holds the piece of paper face up. Then it’s onward to little miss or mister learning to cut in a certain direction, then cut along a straight line, before progressing to cutting corner shapes (right angles) and lastly curves.
It’s quite the journey isn’t it?
Being able to cut with scissors involves more skills than you would think, including:
- Fine motor – small hand and arm movements
- Gross motor – bigger body movements
- Visual perceptual – being able to see and interpret visual information
- Postural control – controlling the posture in a variety of positions
- Hand and finger strength – how strong the little muscles in the fingers and hands are
- Developed hand arches– a variety of hand positions that enable them to grasp objects of different shapes and sizes
- Eye-hand coordination – the ability of the eyes to guide the hand(s) in coordinated movement
- Bilateral integration skills – using both hands together, either in sync or by alternating movements
- Crossing midline – crossing the imaginary vertical line in the centre of the body with the hands, arms or eyes
Your child might have difficulties with their scissor skills if they:
- Appear uninterested in using scissors
- Are unable to hold or adopt a scissor grip
- Have difficulty opening and closing the scissors
- Find it hard to hold the paper in one hand and the scissors in the other, with control
- Are unable to cut thin sheets of paper
Don’t forget that becoming a PlayBiz member gives you access to a comprehensive library of activities that will help you help your child develop their crucial foundation skills! This includes the 2-minute Play-a-Short videos that give you and your tyke a fun and entertaining ‘therapist style’ demonstration of how to develop specific scissor skills such as using the correct scissor grip and how to hold the paper with a steady, ‘stabilising’ hand.
There’s also the 10-minute Play-a-Long videos that combine several foundation skills for optimum effect. Picture a fun and educational TV program like PlaySchool crossed with an occupational therapy session that’s chock full of strategies to help develop your little one’s essential foundation skills.
Ready, steady, learn!
(link to T&C's