Sunday, July 1, 2018

Cutting Rainbows

Do you have kids who struggle to cut with scissors?  It's so tricky!  It can be really frustrating for some children, and the more they are shown the "correct" way to hold them, the more frustrated they become.  Sometimes their little fingers just aren't ready for this difficult task.

I think it's really important to ease children into activities like cutting with scissors.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to provide opportunities to use safe scissors in a variety of ways, with little or no pressure on showing them the right way to hold and use them.  Let children become familiar with the feel of scissors in their hands, encouraging them to hold them however they want to so that when they are ready to be shown the traditional grip, they already love scissors and won't feel intimidated.

One of the ways I've done this in my classroom is to cut "rainbows".  This is a fun and appealing way to get children familiar with scissors.  They don't have to coordinate two hands at once since they don't have to hold the paper, and they can try various methods to get that snipping just right!

Eventually, with practice like the rainbow cutting above, as well as other low-pressure opportunities, children will be ready for gentle guidance on holding and using scissors with one hand.  Your Open Art table (or writing center, or cutting table, or whatever you may call it) will be full of children independently cutting to their heart's content.  Save your scraps--you'll need them for all those capable cutters!

What methods have you used to help kids who struggle with scissors?  How do you introduce kids to challenging tools?  I'd love to read your comments and ideas--leave them below!

Want more preschool-related stuff?


  1. I've looked at your photos and read what you wrote, but I still can't figure out how kids are making rainbows--what am I missing? It looks like they're just doing random cutting. I'm guessing I just don't understand the activity.

  2. Hi Gaye, thanks so much for posting this question, as I bet other people might have the same confusion! So, they aren't cutting a piece of paper into the shape of a rainbow. They are cutting into a piece of paper that has been taped down on either end, so that it forms an arc. We call it a rainbow to make it seem more magical to the kids :) Hope that explains it! Wendy