Nature Cuttings – Outdoor Scissor Skills Activity

scissor practice One of the great things about the summer is to take plain old activities like cutting and finding fresh ways of doing them outside. This scissor skills activity was inspired by a pin I saw from Raise A Boy and I re-worked it for our yard and my daughter’s love of picking flowers and plants out of our garden. Scissor skills develop differently with all kids. My daughter loves to cut things and we are trying very hard to get her to hold the scissors correctly- but it’s a challenge. In the photos below she is NOT holding the scissors in the proper way. Her index finger should not be in the handle of the scissors. Offer kids lots of practice with activities like this so you can work on issues like these gently with lots of time before they develop bad habits that are harder to break. Scissor skills work on building the muscles and coordination needed for writing so don’t shy away from cutting practice!

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  1. Gather your materials. You will need some kid safe scissors, a bucket, a bin or water table ( without the water) and a yard to gather things to cut. The goggles are completely optional though very fashionable. cutting practice
  2. Start by exploring your yard. cutting nature - scissor skills for toddlers and kidsThis step took a long time, we went all around our yard talking about the flowers that were blooming, the flowers that were dying, grass etc… take as long as you can with this step. Also if they aren’t into the exploring no biggie, there is nothing wrong with our kids not loving every idea we have. I have had many that never got blogged about because they didn’t get finished. It happens to all of us sometimes. cutting nature gathering the flowers
  3. Bring your spoils back to your water table or bin and dump them out. cutting into nature flowers and leaves
  4. Start cutting ( with your goggles on if you have them) . I like providing a few different pairs of scissors in an attempt to find the one that feels good in the proper grip. My daughter would hold them correctly at first then pop all three fingers back in the handle. It’s just going to take time and persistence which is always fun with a stubborn child…no clue where she got that trait!cutting into nature outdoor scissor skillsWhile you cut together talk about what you are cutting, explore with your senses. I invited my daughter smell many of the items ( especially the herbs)  and crush some in her hands and smell her hands. We talked about which things were easy to cut ( petals) and which were harder to cut like the stem of a dead daffodil. cutting flowers in the gardenI playfully asked her how her “pointer” finger sneaked back in that handle and she pretended to be shocked. cutting nature scissor skills with outdoor activity
  5. Leave the scissors and cuttings out and return to it later. My son joined in and they pretended to be in herbology class at Hogwarts. My daughter had no clue what that was all about but happily went along with her brother who could use some scissor practice too. scissor practice outside

If you like this activity you will love my preschool lesson plans book!

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    • Allison McDonald says

      I promise I am not making this up đŸ™‚ The proper grip has the index finger on the outside. I will see if I can find a photo of it for you. The proper grip promotes the proper tripod writing grip too.

  1. says

    I had no idea that the pointer finger was supposed to be outside. It seems like it would make your grip more stable.

    At any rate, I stress holding the thumb up and turning the paper rather than the scissors more than which fingers are in which spot.

  2. Marilyn says

    I agree it does provide a stable grip. I am a dentist and do oral surgery and apparently I haven’t been aware that I’ve been doing the proper grip. I have a preschooler, but I actually have been guiding her pointer finger into the handle, thinking that’s the proper way. I am not sure if I’ve had the proper grip all my life or just acquired it through dent school, though. But thanks to this site, now I know I’m doing it right but teaching it wrong. =)

  3. Tom Fiorella says

    Hi. Great post. I’ll try with my four year old…

    One question… At the bottom of the post, it says “This post has one affiliate link.” What does that mean and which affiliate have you linked to? Is it the link to Amazon, where one can buy the water table? It doesn’t seem like anything too ‘commercial’? Thanks, most of all, for being transparent!!!!! It’s so great for building trust when, as a parent, you see that someone is being honest about how a blogger or web site is related to another.

    Thanks so much!!!!


    • Allison McDonald says

      Tom – that’s exactly what it is. I am trying to find the best way of disclosing. I try to only link a few things that I get asked about often and then all books so readers can see other opinions as well as a small bit of revenue for me. I am always open to any questions about any possible relationships I may have with companies and more than happy to disclose it all.

  4. says

    I had no idea about the proper handling of scissors either. It does make sense though. I’ve been working on my kids, showing them how to move the paper instead of the scissors.

    And your daughter’s shocked face is hilarious!

  5. says

    Okay so my daughter and I are practicing with scissors for the first time and it’s not going well. I’m going to look online but as a high school teacher had no idea how hard this would be. Any suggestions? I’m also going to search your site for a first time with scissors post.

  6. Diane says

    I watch my two toddler grandsons daily and have been working at getting one of them to hold scissors correctly. It’s not easy! He’s very resistant but this is a great reminder to keep at it. He’ll love the idea of collecting things from the yard to cut. We’ll try it after nap today.
    Thanks for a great blog!


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