A step by step programme to teach functional scissor skills

Supporting Scissor Skill Development is a programme designed by occupational therapist Kim Griffin to help to children develop functional scissor skills.  It is available as an online package.   The programme is suitable for children from age three. It provides a sequential set of activities and worksheets to help children lean how to hold scissors correctly and cut various shapes.

The programme is available to purchase online.  You will receive access to a folder containing all of the resources.  This is downloadable.  There is also 6 months’ access to additional video content designed to support you when using the programme initially.

child cutting with scissors

A step by step programme to teach functional scissor skills

Supporting Scissor Skill Development is a programme designed by occupational therapist Kim Griffin to help to children develop functional scissor skills.  It is available as an online package.   The programme is suitable for children from age three. It provides a sequential set of activities and worksheets to help children lean how to hold scissors correctly and cut various shapes.

The programme is available to purchase online.  You will receive access to a folder containing all of the resources.  This is downloadable.  There is also 6 months’ access to additional video content designed to support you when using the programme initially.

What is Supporting Scissor Skill Development all about?

This programme contains activities and worksheets designed to help to develop functional scissor skills. It can be used with an individual child, with a small group or as a whole class intervention.

The programme consists of:

  • Educational information

  • Pre-scissor skill activities

  • Four progressive stages of scissor skill development

  • Worksheets to accompany each stage

Aim of the programme

The aim of the programme is to provide educators and parents with a sequential set of activities and worksheets they can use to help improve children’s scissor skills.

Each stage of the programme is harder than the next.  The worksheets within each stage are progressive.  This allows children to start at their skill level and progress towards having functional scissor skills.

Which children is the programme suitable for?

  • All children aged 3-12

  • Children who are not yet using scissors, despite being old enough to try

  • Children that have a poorly developed scissors skills or hold their scissors awkwardly for their age

  • Children with poor scissor control for their age

Who can run the programme?

  • Teachers

  • Teaching assistants

  • Early educators

  • Parents

  • Therapists

What does the programme include?

  • Background information on fine motor and scissor skill development (handouts and video)

  • Tips on how to choose the right scissors

  • Instructions on how to run the programme with individuals, groups or a whole class (handouts)

  • Specific targets for each stage of the programme

  • Pre-scissor skill activities for those not yet holding scissors

  • Over 150 developmentally sequenced cutting worksheets (.pdf format)

How frequently do the activities need to be completed?

Scissor skills only improve with practise.  Therefore, it is recommended that they are practised at least three times a week.  The worksheets in each step typically have a minimum of five different activities, so one could be completed each weekday.  They shouldn’t take any longer than five – ten minutes (it will depend on the individual child and the exact activity).

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How can I purchase the programme?

The programme is currently available online.  It can be purchased as an individual programme or as part of the Fine Motor Skills Programme.  On purchase you will receive access to our training platform where the programme can be accessed.  Here you can download the programme outline and worksheets.  You will also have 6 months’ access to the video content.

We will to send out access links within 48 hours of purchase.

Individual Purchase

£2400
  • 1 person
  • Scissor Skills Programme Only
  • Downloadable worksheets
  • 6 months’ access to videos

Fine Motor Skills Programme

£175
  • 5 staff
  • Entire Fine Motor Skills Programme
  • Downloadable worksheets
  • 12 months’ access to videos

Stages of the Programme

Pre-scissor skills

This stage is for children who are not yet using or interested in using scissors or pencils and need a bit more practice with general fine motor skills.  The activities are designed to help with the hand and finger strength and coordination needed to use scissors.  These activities can be used alongside stage one to help with preparedness for cutting.

Targets

  1. The child pays visual attention to the object they are holding (i.e. they are looking at the item).
  2. The child can actively control the opening and closing of their hand during fine motor activities which use two hands.

Stage 1 – Learning to snip

This stage is designed for children who are not able to cut with scissors at all.  These children might use two hands on the scissors and will likely need an adult to hold the paper.  The activities are designed to support correct hand position on scissors, holding the paper and snipping.  This stage can be used alongside the pre-scissor skills.

Targets

  1. The child will hold their scissors with their thumb facing the ceiling.
  2. The child will hold onto their paper when cutting 50% of the time.
  3. The child can snip paper with scissors.
  4. The child can make three cuts in a sequence with scissors.

Stage 2 – Learning to cut lines and shapes

This stage is designed for children who have mastered basic snipping skills, but need to learn to cut on lines and to cut out shapes.  The activities start with straight lines but progress towards cutting out a circle.  If children are not yet snipping with scissors, they should start at Stage 1.

Targets

  1. The child will hold their paper and scissors with their thumb facing the ceiling 100% of the time.
  2. The child can cut along a 15cm x 1cm wide straight line with 100% accuracy[1].
  3. The child can cut out a straight lined shape (square/triangle) drawn from 1cm thick lines with 80% accuracy.
  4. The child can cut out a circle drawn from 1cm thick lines with 50% accuracy.

 Stage 3 – Getting creative

This stage is for children who have mastered basic lines and shapes, but are ready for more complex shapes and some creativity.  The line thickness decreases and the variety of shapes increase.  There are many cut and paste activities as well as basic origami folding activities.

Targets

  1. The child can cut out a straight lined shape (square/triangle) drawn from 0.5cm thick lines with 80% accuracy.
  2. The child can cut out a circle drawn from 0.5cm thick lines with 75% accuracy.
  3. The child can use their scissor skills independently to complete craft activities.

Stage 4 – More complex cuts

This stage is designed to further challenge children’s cutting skills.  Zig zags and star shapes are included here as they are actually much more complex than they first appear.  To take skills even further, there are activities which require the children to cut inside shapes as well.

Targets

  1. The child can cut out shapes with multiple direction lines drawn from 0.2cm thick lines with 80% accuracy.
  2. The child can cut out zig zag and star shapes drawn from 0.5 cm thick lines with 75% accuracy, keeping their scissors in continual motion (i.e. they continually turn and reposition their paper, rather than making a series of single cuts to each corner).
  3. The child understands how to make cuts inside a shape (e.g. eyes on a mask) and makes a reasonable attempt at the shape.

[1] Accuracy = the percentage of cutting which stays within the boundaries of the line

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