The cutting tray we did a couple months back was such a hit, that I knew I wanted to do another one, but this time around, a holiday themed one! Just like last time, most of our cutting materials were things we already had around the house – so no need to go and purchase anything new. In fact, I look at this as a perfect time to use up some scraps we’ve no idea what to do with.
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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