Updated on Aug 16.2020
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How to use scissors (Montessori-inspired method)

Teaching your child how to use scissors: a simple activity and yet … Giving your toddler scissors for the first time can be stressful (but also a lot of fun)! From the age of two, your child should master the association of geometric shapes and the use of plasticine. It is therefore entirely appropriate to let him try his hand at his first cuttings.

Here are some tips to help your child discover this sharp object: scissors!

The first steps: learning how to hold the scissors …

how to use scissors montessori

First, equip yourself with a pair of learning scissors. The handles are adapted to little fingers and allow a good grip. Let your child look at the object, apprehend it alone. When he touches the blades (which are safe on a suitable pair), explain to him that it is necessary to be very careful with this part, that it is dangerous and can cut. You can illustrate your point by showing him how to hold the pair of scissors securely and snipping off a piece of paper or plasticine. Then let your child practice positioning their fingers, then opening and closing the scissors. It's difficult ! He doesn't have much strength in his hands yet, but with patience and your encouragement, it will quickly become easy!

Some scissors allow you to put all 4 fingers in one of the handles which will give it more strength. Otherwise, a natural reflex will be to tell him to put his thumb and forefinger in the handles. Like a hairdresser, don't hesitate to show him that instead of the index finger, another finger can be used in opposition to the thumb. The index finger will then act as a "lever" and stabilize the pair of scissors.

...And cut out simple things

how to use scissors montessori

Once your child feels a little more confident (it may take him a few tries), you can suggest that he practice cutting pieces of yarn or plasticine. For wool yarn, a single spool of knitting yarn will suffice. Your child will need your help to hold the thread securely. If that's too difficult, plasticine is a great alternative, especially since he's probably already used to handling it with "tools". Show him how to hold it without risking cutting his fingers.

You can then go move on to newspaper. The important thing here is that your child has fun and takes pleasure while building confidence. You can now let him have fun on his own and create the shapes that will emerge from his imagination.

Our advice, give your child a tray, this allows you to define his workspace but also to facilitate cleaning afterwards.

Step 2: let's cut some lines!

how to use scissors montessori

Do you feel your child is ready for the next step? Now is the time to move further and get his hand on some lines to cut. Patience is key, it will take a little concentration and several tries to get there. To help you with this task, we have prepared a free pack in which you will find ready-made strips to print and pre-cut.

Montessori-inspired, the first strips are small and only require one cut. Then, these widen more and more and require several scissors cuts and a little more concentration 😉

Step 3: cut curves and angles

It's time to step up in complexity and move on to curves and angles. Here too, in our free pack, we have planned the evolution towards a more complex slicing with wider bands. You will also find other models that are a little more complex there, such as a spiral.

Learning to cut will not happen overnight! Like any new discovery, you have to take it in stages. As soon as you feel too much frustration, move on to another activity!


Step 4: Have fun!


But it is not finished ! Now, you can't stop your child, he wants to cut everything! No panic, we've thought of everything. In our free printable pack, you can make him cut out lots of other things! We have prepared cutting strips inspired by the Montessori method, but also lines, curves and flowers.

Remember: Your child has plenty of time to learn how to cut. If this is a logical step in his learning related to the manipulation of objects, there is however no urgency. If you have shown and explained to your child how to follow the cutting lines, and he does not want to follow the instructions, you can go back to a previous step during your next cutting workshop.

These workshops should remain a game. Encourage your child as he tries out, advise him on the position of his fingers and how to approach the elements to be cut out. Do not exceed 5 to 10 minutes of "framed" time after which, it is very likely that the instructions will no longer be respected, which is quite normal!

As a gift, our infographic to print

To make sure you don't forget anything, here is a simple infographic to print and display at home!

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