One of the things I’ve always loved doing with students who’ve found using scissors challenging is pairing them with play dough instead of paper. Let’s face it – learning to use scissors properly is tricky! First there’s figuring out which fingers go where, plus there’s finding the hand strength and coordination to open and close them, and then there’s also guiding them in the direction you want them to go… Certainly no easy task! The reason I love play dough is that although many kids come to Kindergarten not all that familiar with using ‘school tools’ like scissors, almost all kids come to school having played with play dough. And not only are they familiar with it, but they love it. And because it’s fun and non-intimidating, plus soft and easy to cut, it’s a perfect starting point, even for reluctant munchkins.
I’ve done this activity with Gracen many times, and although she’s already very comfortable using scissors with paper and cutting on pre-determined lines, she still loves cutting play dough. It’s an easy activity to put together and I’d rather smush together bits of play dough than pick up tiny shards of paper any day of the week. When I set it up, I usually create both play dough ‘pancakes’ and ‘worms’ and then let her go to town, but anything goes. Today after quickly preparing the play dough shapes, she used them to create a daisy and a stem. ☺
Then it was time to cut!
Two things I like to reinforce during the cutting process are one, being mindful of where your ‘holding fingers’ are and two, positioning your scissors so they’re pointing away from your body.
During the process Grae almost always asks for a bowl to put her ‘food’ in, which makes the activity that much more fun and adds in an element of pretend play.
Today’s food was for kitties only. ☺
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8 thoughts on “Strengthening Scissor Skills with Play Dough”
This is such a wonderful activity. My son needs to work on this skill.
Thank you, Deirdre! :)
During storytime, I’ve had lots of parents ask how to teach scissors skills. I’ve suggested using play dough scissors and cutting play dough as a first opportunity to learn. That is how my son learned. Great idea using real scissors!
Play dough scissors or regular – I think both are great! :)
Great post – beautiful photos. Such a great idea to use a material most children are familiar with. Pinning :)
Thanks so much, Nichole!
We love this activity at our house! It is so great for strengthening their little hands! I would love it if you joined our blog hop today! http://www.thehomeschoolvillage.com/2013/07/preschoolorganization.html
Thanks, Angela! With all of this moving business going on, I missed the last one, but I’ve linked up to this week’s blog hop! Thanks for inviting me! :)