The use of scissors requires and enhances many developmental tasks. Cutting allows a child to build up the tiny muscles in the palm of his hand, since he has to continuously open and close the hand. These muscles are also used when the child is writing/painting or holding onto anything with a grip.
Cutting also enhances the use of hand-eye coordination. This means that the child must be able to use his vision, process what he sees, and then be able to move his hand while he is looking at something. This can be a difficult task because it requires the brain to be working with two systems.
Cutting encourages your child to use bilateral coordination. This means that your child can use both sides of their body at the same time.
There are many little things that your child does everyday which constantly use the tiny muscles in your hand (holding a toothbrush), hand-eye coordination (using a spoon to scoop up the food ), and bilateral coordination (zipping up a coat or pants).
This is the proper developmental sequence of when children should be cutting:
2 years: snip the ends of a piece of paper
2.5 years: cut through a piece of paper
3.0-3.5 years: cut on a 1⁄2” darkened line (can not cut off of the line more than 3 times) 3.5-4.0 years: cut out a circle with darkened lines (has to stay close to the line for 3⁄4 of the circle)
4.5-5.0 years: cut out a square with darkened lines (corners should be sharp)
This activity is a great way to practice fine motor skills!
Cut up some long strips of paper
Draw different types of lines down each strip of paper
Have your child follow the lines while cutting with a kid-friendly scissors
You can leave one strip blank so he can cut the paper however he wants!
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.