How to Teach a Child to Cut with Scissors | Grade 1 Arts


Help... my daughter can't cut with SCISSORS!

My six-year-old daughter went home from school the other day with a sad face. Her Arts teacher told her that she needs to practice cutting with scissors for her latest project. Even though I can't remember exactly when and how I learned to cut, I am determined to teach her the basic skills in cutting. I reminded her that cutting skills require as much focus and attention as studying her other subjects (9 in all... whoa!) in school 😵

Rubric on Coloring

When we transferred to a big school last school year, I never thought that Arts would be the subject that she would be struggling in. She was in Kindergarten when she received an 82.5% grade on her very first Arts project which is coloring 😭


She got the grade based on the following criteria:


  • Coloring between the lines- looks real, details added 4/5 
  • No white space- colored it completely 4/5
  • Follow directions- every direction is followed to the fullest extent 4.5/5
  • Neatness- completed artwork exceptionally neat 4/5


While my then 5-year-old's coloring skills is far from perfect, in my opinion, she did her best because I have seen her previous work on her coloring books and she has improved a lot 👏

When we went to Canada last summer, she even took her coloring books and coloring pencils with her. She practiced coloring whenever she can, I even saw her coloring when she could not sleep due to jet lag 👀


Fast forward to this school year, she recently took home an Arts project with a perfect score (see photo above). She was beaming with pride and excitement! N.B.: This is the same teacher that gave her an 82.5% 😊

Her excitement towards the subject quickly turned into anxiety when she learned that she needs to cut the object that she colored. And that's when this mom quickly set out a plan on how to teach her child to cut with scissors.

First Things First

There is nobody to blame with my child not knowing how to cut with a pair of scissors. First of all, touching a scissor is a big no-no in our house for fear of cutting herself especially when unsupervised. She knows better not to touch it, let alone use it. But at a certain point, one should learn how to cut with scissors. And this is it!


Materials Needed to Teach a Child to Cut using Scissors:

  • Papers preferably used on one side
  • ruler
  • marker pen
  • scissor

While she was in school, I prepared a few cut out sheets of paper with different shapes like rectangle , triangle and circle drawn on them with a marker pen. There's also a few narrow strips of paper that she can practice (Yes, like a warm-up exercise!) snipping across the width using grasp release (open and close) motion of the scissor.

Tips on How to Snip

Have your child mastered the Grasp-Release motion to open and close the scissors? If not, have your child practice by using a clothes pin. The squeezing and releasing action helps the child get the hang of  repetitive grasp-release motion of a scissor. 

Tip #1: Determine your child's dominant hand. If your child is left-handed, buy a left scissor.

Safety first- use a blunt-nosed scissors like the one pictured above

Tip #2: Practice with the same scissor your child will be using in school. This will give the child confidence when cutting a project in school.


Tip #3: After mastering the single snip across a narrow strip, the next step is for the child to be able to cut a slightly wider strip that requires at least 2 snips to cut across.

mastering a single snip across a narrow strip; thumb on top and fingers underneath is the best position for the assistant hand

Tip #4: Encourage your child to start cutting lines furthest from the holding hand while making sure that the child is holding the paper with the assistant hand 👍 and not holding the paper off the table 👎


Tip #5: Make sure that the blades of the scissor stay on the line for easy cutting process when the child cut straight lines.

Day 3 on trying to learn how to cut with a scissor

Tip #6: When cutting a circle, the assistant hand should always move by turning the paper around as the child cuts the shape drawn on the paper.


Tip #7: Try to position yourself behind your child with your hand over his/hers can really be of help when trying to teach how to turn the paper around. This will also help the child to learn where to position the assistant hand when turning the scissor around the corner and how to keep the scissors along the border while turning.

My daughter has been practicing for several days now, in between studying for her lessons. She easily gets tired and frustrated. At times, she lost her focus but as they say practice makes perfect. And that's what we are trying to do everyday 😉

If you have any additional tips, please do not hesitate to comment below. I can't wait to read them ✌

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