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Scissors can be a scary thing to introduce to toddlers. Will they cut themselves? Will they cut their hair (or someone else’s hair?!?) Do they really need to learn to use scissors yet? Of course there’s always a risk of cutting things other than the items offered item, but with proper supervision, teaching scissor skills to toddlers is a fun and rewarding task! It helps build confidence and fine tune those fine motor skills. So no need to wait for preschool or kindergarten teachers to do the job, pull out some safety scissors and let your little one cut away!
If your munchkins are just starting out with scissors, the worst thing you can do is offer him/her a cutting page where they are to follow the lines in a pass/fail type of activity. This may be appropriate for preschoolers and children who have already mastered the skill of cutting, but for little ones just learning how to hold and control scissors it is not a developmentally appropriate activity. These children need the freedom to learn how to appropriately hold and control scissors before they should be expected to cut straight and zig-zag lines with them. That is why I offer fun (and usually themed) cutting trays to my 2 1/2 year old.
 This particular cutting tray came about as we finished reading Eric Carle’s book The Very Busy Spider. My boys seem to be infatuated with spiders and spiderwebs, and this activity was a fun way to get into that a little more (in reality, my son knows to never touch a real spider web).
After reading the book, I put out a tray with yarn and a few hidden spiders.
My son is used to scissor activities and knew what to do straight away!
I like to leave these trays available for a full week before rotating in something new. In order to be safe, I keep the scissors on a high shelf and just leave the tray available on the counter. When my son takes down the tray he asks for the scissors as well (I always make sure to closely supervise all cutting activities!).
While big brother did his cutting, little brother did a tried and true activity from the past: Contact paper spiderwebs! These would make a great addition to any preschool or toddler spider unit (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Insect and Bug unit, Eric Carle book unit, etc.).
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