Raise your hand if the thought of giving your child scissors makes you cringe!
Scissors and little hands make a lot of people nervous...me included. The first few times Jonah had access to scissors it was CRAZY and I was a nervous wreck by the end of the activity. It made me want to vow never to get the scissors out again, but I knew that really wasn't an option for long. However, I did put them up for a while; he just wasn't ready at the time.
So, what did we do in the meantime? How did I still help him practice the cutting movement without actually handing him scissors until he was ready?
Tongs can be used for a variety of things. The squeezing motion is basically the same movement used when using scissors. We like to use the tongs to transfer things like pompoms or cotton balls, but you could use your imagination! To shake things up a bit, we've played a game with plastic Easter eggs where Jonah had to pick up eggs, walk across the room (similar to the egg-on-a-spoon game played at relays), and place it in a bucket. I vary the type of tongs to prevent boredom; we use the tongs from our kitchen utensil drawer, plastic preschool tongs, or our homemade tongs made from chopsticks. (Visit Totally Tots to see the step-by-step tutorial I wrote for the DIY Chopstick Tongs.)
Squirt Guns/Nerf Guns
Um, hello. I have a boy. Enough said? Squirt guns and nerf guns are no-brainers. They are one of those sneaky fine motor activities because it doesn't even look like a traditional learning activity. They are fun, but they also pack a punch in the fine motor skills area. Set them up with a target and let them go!
Jonah loves to use spray bottles filled with water. Really, he'd just spray water into the air all day if I'd let him, but I always try to put a fun twist on it. Sometimes I'll write letters on the sidewalk and send him on a sound hunt. When he finds the letter, he sprays it. Other times we pair the spray bottles with coffee filters colored with markers to make beautiful art. In the summer time we head outside and have a water fight. I've even been known to hand him a water bottle and a rag to "clean" the front door window. Really, there is no right or wrong with this!
Hole punches are very similar to squeezing scissors. Jonah has always been fascinated by the hole punch. Just the other day he sat in the office and punched holes in paper while I worked on other things. Sometimes I'll set up specific tasks for him and other times I'll let him make up his own fun. For example, I've written numbers on small slips of paper and he had to punch the correct number as he counted. Simple, but effective!
Scissor Skill Tools
Eventually, you'll have to pull out the scissors. That's pretty much a given, but maybe with the help of these tools it won't be traumatic. Here are a few tools to help keep you sane...
Let's Cut Paper! (Kumon First Steps Workbooks)
Maped Koopy Spring Scissors are fabulous! They are spring-action scissors to help little hands cut with less effort. You need these, you really do.
When it is time for scissors, embrace it! Draw some zig zags on a piece of paper and let them practice. Get them to cut "grass" and place it on the bottom of an art project. Sending your child on a Letter Hunt with a recycled magazine is a great way to practice cutting. There are endless ideas once they are ready for cutting.
This post is a part of the 10 day series, Developing Fine Motor Skills. This series is part of the iHomeschool Network Hopscotch. To see the list of the topics from the other bloggers, visit iHomeschool Network. There are some fantastic topics and giveaways!