Cutting is another activity that promotes hand separation. The tong activities in my last post are great for working on pre-cutting skills. When cutting with scissors, a child should sit back away from a table so that the forearms are not resting on a surface. The thumb should be turned upward inside the loop and the middle finger should be inside the other loop. The index finger should be outside the loop serving as a “guide”. (You can put a sticker on the child’s thumb and tell him that he should always be able to see the sticker while cutting). The wrist should always be held straight and not flexed or hooked.
Begin with activities such as snipping straws or short strips of index card. It is a good idea to begin with card stock or other sturdy paper like old file folders, fine grade sandpaper, or construction paper so that it doesn’t “flop” around as the child attempts to cut. You can also have a child cut from dot-to-dot using stickers or stamps for variety, then progress to cutting vertical lines, then shapes.
This is the developmental progression that is typically seen with scissor skills:
The child shows an interest in cutting
-Child is able to hold the scissors correctly
-Opens and closes scissors
-Cuts paper in half
-Cuts straight lines
-Cuts out shapes with curves
-Cuts out squares
-Cuts out complex shapes
If the child cuts with his arms held high or doesn’t seem to be holding the scissors correctly, have him her lay on his stomach for cutting. This provides stability through the elbows and shoulders.