Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More OT2OT Tips on Improving Scissor Skills

Kathryn W. Mason, one of the OTRs on our staff, shared this info on improving scissor skills:

Encourage a variety of fine motor activities like bead stringing, tearing paper strips, play doh, “Simon Says” and water "squirt" toys to encourage hand development which will help with scissor use.

Hand position:
Photo by Kathryn Mason
Hold the scissors with the thumb on top. (Children initially try to cut with the hand palm down until 3 1/2-4 years old.) Place a sticker on the side of the thumb hole, so that the student sees the sticker when the fingers are in the correct holes. The scissors should be on the middle finger bones, not right next to the palm. The index finger should be in front of the loop. The assisting hand should be thumb up to encourage the scissor hand to have the same position.

 Paper Selection and Cutting Progression:

1. Start by cutting straws. This provides a non-floppy item to cut and there is success after just one stroke. Encourage the child to support his elbows on the table rather than having his arms entirely up in the air. This will provide more stability and help him to align the scissors and the item being cut. (The straw pieces can be threaded on string to make necklaces.)

2. Progress to snipping along the end of tagboard, cardboard cereal boxes or other moderately firm paper. Junk mail envelopes are perfect for this use. Thin paper can be folded in half to make it stiffer. Start with narrow strips that can be cut with one snip. As the child gets better at cutting, provide longer strips of
thinner paper, and teach the child to keep his assisting hand at a location where he can keep the paper from flopping.

2. Fold green paper ½ inch from one edge. Teach the students to snip repeatedly to the fold in the paper, making “grass.” Do this as often as you can during art projects.
Photo by Kathryn Mason

3. Make the strip thicker, so the student has to advance the scissors once to cut across the strip. Continue to widen the paper so that the student learns to advance the scissors. Chant “Open, slide, cut.” Also have the student snip to a sticker or highlighted dot so he starts to aim with the scissors.

4. Make thick lines across one inch strips of paper. Help the child to line up the scissors at the start of the line and snip across. Again progress to wider strips of paper, helping the child to remain close to the line.
Photo by Kathryn Mason

More tips to follow!

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