Knowing how to properly use scissors is an important skill that many children learn by 3 or 4 years old. It takes patience and practice, but once the skill is achieved, your child will have a great feeling of independence and accomplishment. Scissor use helps improve eye-hand coordination and strengthens the muscles in the child’s hands, ultimately helping your child master other small-motor activities as well.

The first step to teaching scissors skills is to get the proper kind of scissors. Look for scissors with a blunt tip, preferably designed for left- or right-handed children (depending on which your child is) so your child can decide which way works best.

Help your child put their correct fingers in the proper holes. This will make the scissors more comfortable and ensure that cutting is more successful. Have your child practice opening and closing the scissors with no paper. Scissors with spring action are available, which may make the task of cutting a bit easier in the beginning by helping the child’s hand make the correct motions.

Start by showing your child how to cut paper, explaining the process. Then let your child copy you by cutting strips of play dough. Play dough is easy to cut so your child is almost guaranteed success.

Once play dough is mastered, move on to strips of paper. Then draw thick lines on a sheet of paper for your child to follow with the scissors. Remember, you aren’t looking for perfection. You are helping your child practice a skill, and that skill will continue to improve.

After your child is comfortable cutting lines, draw simple shapes to cut out. Collect some old magazines and allow your child to cut out pictures that are especially appealing. Help glue the pictures onto a sheet of paper or cardboard and display the creation. As cutting skills grow, so will your child’s self-confidence.

While you teach cutting skills, you should also emphasize safety. Scissors should only be used when sitting and only used on things you allow. Teach your child how to hold the scissors pointing down when walking and to never poke someone with scissors.


  • Learning to use a pair of scissors helps build small motor skills.
  • Being able to cut with scissors will also build self-confidence and improve eye-hand coordination.
  • Choose scissors that have a blunt tip and fit your child’s hand.
  • The goal isn’t perfection, it is practicing and improving an important skill.


  1. New Creations Preschool. Tips on How to teach Your Child to Cut with Scissors.
  2. North Shore Pediatric Therapy. How to teach Your Preschooler to Cut with Scissors.


  1. My 2.5 year old was introduced to scissors at school but with the help of her teacher so I decided to let her start using them at home. She is very stubborn so she won’t let my husband or I show her the proper hand placement so we just let her go to town on the Sunday newspaper. It isn’t pretty but she will eventually get it.

  2. I know the article says it’s a skill that is usually learned by 3-4 years old, but are there signs that they are ready to start using scissors?

  3. Thank you for this article! So many kids go to school and have never even touched a pair of scissors. It is so important to work with your children in order to help them build fine motor skills. Just make sure that the scissors they are using are age appropriate and they are not left unsupervised. Cutting and pasting is a great activity for your little ones.

    1. Great advice… And not just unsupervised, but halfway supervised as well. See:

      1. lol! I remember this 🙂

    1. Great idea! Perhaps I should put some credit card offers to use. 🙂


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