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Teaching strategies-Learning to use scissors

Children who are learning to use scissors will face certain challenges. One of these challenges is managing changes in direction.

 

Being proactive and teaching strategies is always better than having to correct an inefficient technique. Doing so helps the child continue to experience success throughout the learning process and maintains his/her interest in cutting activities.

 

The goal is to teach the child to anticipate changes in direction and turn the piece of paper instead of reorienting his/her scissors. Here is a fun suggestion that will help you teach children to manage changes in direction when using scissors.

  1. Play a traffic game in which the child pretends to be a car that must come to a stop whenever it meets a stop sign. Make your own stop sign and use it to help the child practice stopping.

  2. Draw a road on a piece of paper, leaving enough room for the child to be able to roll a toy car between the lines. Add a stop sign at each corner. Encourage the child to practice stopping at each corner/stop sign and turning the car.

  3. Help the child imagine what would happen if he/she could turn the road instead of the car. Let the child experiment and stop the car at each corner using one hand while turning the paper/road with the other hand. Adding sounds will help the child. For example, you can say, "Here comes a corner. Stop! Let's turn the road. Brrrrr (car sound)."

  4. Once the child masters this manoeuvre, hand him/her the scissors and encourage him/her to visualize the scissors replacing the toy car. At first, draw a medium-sized square on a piece of paper (if the shape is too big, it will be difficult for the child to manipulate it). Let the child practice stopping the scissors at each corner and turning the "road". To make the activity more interesting, you can draw a simple car outline on a piece of colourful construction paper, cut it out, and stick it on the side of the scissors if you wish.

  5. The next step could be adding a small red sticker in the corners of the shapes to represent stop signs and, eventually, inviting the child to imagine stop signs on his/her projects.

  6. Once the child is able to easily cut out geometric shapes with corners, introduce curved lines (circle). Reintroduce the concept of the car and the road to help the child understand that a circle is simply a round road that has stop signs all the way around it. This will help the child understand that he/she must continuously turn the road (paper) as he/she cuts. Once again, it is best to initially practice with shapes that aren't too big.

Have fun!


Josiane Caron Santha
Occupational therapist


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