School Supplies: How to Cut with Scissors

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Handing little learners a pair of scissors for the first time in a classroom can make teachers a little uneasy.  Spend time focusing on how to cut with scissors, as well as, seeing what tool learners are ready to use is important.

What Scissors to Use?

There are many levels of development a child needs to master before they are able to use scissors independently to successfully complete an activity in a classroom setting.  I am not an occupational therapist, but as an educator and parent, these are the skill levels and resources I find useful in teaching learners to use scissors independently.

Different types of scissors for different skill levels

1. Learning Resources: Handy Scoopers

Scoopers are great for ALL ages (my daughter used them at age 1).  They are a great way to introduce how to handle scissors and the open and closing motion.  We use them with beans, rice, sand, etc. as we collect objects in our sensory tubs.  Introduce these to you children early and scissors will not be as overwhelming to them when the time comes to actually cut for a project.

2. My First Crayola Safety Scissors

Safety scissors are perfect because they will not cut your little ones!  Woohoo!  We used these scissors for cutting playdough and cutting up ads from the mail.  Plus the fun patterns keep your learners engaged as they practice.

3. Faber-Castell: My First Scissors

My First Scissors make the cutting process simple for children’s small hands.  They are easy to handle and easy to cut with.  A great transition pair of scissor before going to the real deal.

4. Maped Spring Scissors

Spring scissors make it easy for your child to open and close the scissors while cutting.  They can build their confidence as they practice this fine motor skill.  When they have developed this skill the spring can be removed creating normal scissors to work with.

5. Fiskars: Blunt Scissors

I always wanted my kindergartners to come to school with a pair of blunt scissors.  Fiskars is a great brand and they work well all year long.  Most students at this age should be able to use these scissors and I teach using these scissors during the first week.  If students struggle with these scissors, I simply move down a skill level in a small group setting or give them a pair of spring scissors to use during independent work time.

6. Fiskars: Pointed Scissors

Pointed scissors are great as students get older and they are in classrooms where everyone knows how to use scissors appropriately.

How to teach children to use scissor independently

Cutting with Scissors

So what do you do when you have little ones arrive during the first week?  You teach them like you do everything else!  I usually introduce scissors to the students during a math lesson.  It always seemed appropriate for my students to practice cutting while identifying their shapes…two birds, right?!?!

How to teach children to use scissor independently

Scissors Rules

A shape hunt is always in a great first week math activity with independent practice focusing on cutting out shapes.  After having a shape hunt, meet together to discuss how learners will cut their shapes and glue them into their Math Notebook.  Look closely at the scissors and label the various parts on an anchor chart.

Teach the saying, “Thumbs UP, far OUT” to help learners know how to handle their scissors (their thumb should be pointing up and the blades should be pointing out).  Then, discuss the rules of their scissors.

1. We will only cut paper with our scissors.

2. We will walk with our scissors by our side.

3. We will store our scissors closed and pointed down.   

How to teach children to use scissor independently

After establishing the rules, sing “I Can Cut” while the students are able to cut their shapes at their seat.  Closely observe at this time, help students as they need it and make notes of students that need further assistance or spring scissors for a week or two.

How to teach children to use scissor independently

More resources and ideas are available in this blog series on how to use glue and crayons in the classroom.  You can find these ideas by clicking on the images below. Be sure to download your scissors resources at the bottom of this post!


I hope that you found this post helpful and if you did, grab the cutting song and practice page by clicking on the download link at the bottom of this post!

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progress monitoring in the early elementary classroom for math, literacy and reading

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