Early school success is often based on the mechanics of a young child’s fine motor skills. These skills are needed for cutting, coloring, pasting and printing.
In these next few weeks I’ll share some tips and activities that can help your child develop and streamline the fine motor skills needed to perform assigned tasks. Here are four, fun suggestions to help improve cutting skills.
- Some children find cutting difficult. Often this is because paper is too thin for a child to know how cutting feels. One way to overcome this is to roll some modeling clay into long strips, about a half-inch thick. Then let your child cut the strips into small pieces. The thickness of the clay allows your child to sense how properly using scissors “feels.”
- Another way to practice cutting is to save the Styrofoam trays used to package hamburger or chicken. Thoroughly wash them in hot, soapy water. Once they are rinsed and dried, your child can cut pieces or shapes from the Styrofoam. The thickness of the Styrofoam allows a child to have better scissor “control.” For added fine motor practice, he can paste or glue the pieces onto colored paper for a collage.
- When children want to cut from coloring books or school papers, they often find it difficult to stay on thin, black lines. Use a highlight marker to trace over the line. This gives your child a wider border that is easier to see. I tell my students that the line is the “road” and the scissors are their “car” and they need to keep their car on the road!
- Use the coupon section of the Sunday paper. Let your child cut out coupons for you to use at the store. Have him cut out many different coupons, even if you are not going to immediately use them. It’s great practice, and gives real purpose to the activity when you actually redeem them at the store.