Developing cutting skills milestones ages 3 to 6

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A milestone sheet which identifies age based norms for developing cutting skills in children aged 2 to 6 years.

Over a period of several years, children progress through several steps when learning to cut with scissors.

Step 1 – Children learn to hold scissors appropriately and to open and close scissors.

Children learn to place their thumb in the top ring of the scissors and their two or three fingers in the bottom ring. At this early step it is recommended that adults prompt children to produce the ‘thumbs up’ sign before taking hold of the scissors. If students require muscle strengthening or hand coordination practice, play a game of “Open Shut Them!”

Step 2 – Children learn to hold and snip paper.

Children learn to hold the paper in their non-cutting hand and to open the scissors, push the blade forward and shut the scissors resulting in snips to paper.

Step 3 – Children learn to cut in a single direction and to cut along a line.

Children learn to hold the paper in their non-cutting hand with their thumb placed on the upside of the paper. With scissors held appropriately (i.e. ‘thumbs up’) children cut towards a target. Some children will need verbal guidance (e.g. “Open them, push them forward, open them, push them forward.”) so that they understand how to apply the previously learned ‘snipping’ technique.

Step 4 – Children learn to cut corners and curves.

In order to cut corners and curves, the supporting hand is now required to move and be re-positioned.

Please note: Step 4 is covered in Developing Cutting Skills – Step 4

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