Life in Kindergarten — Cutting

Surprisingly enough cutting things with scissors is not a skill you instantly know how to do. It takes practice. Along with fine motor skills this is something children in the 3-5 year age group learn how to do.

The series of posts I’m doing on this subject matter are expanded from an article I found called 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills Your Child Needs from 2013.  Despite the article being older, the areas it covers are still basic areas of study and behavior that should be paid attention to.

My Credentials (reprinted from my original post):

Let me state up front that I am not a kindergarten teacher nor any other grade teacher.  I have a BA in English from Sonoma State University in California and started my teaching credential years ago before my career path took me away from school and into the working world.


My expertise on the subject of kindergarten (and the other lower grades) comes from over four years of volunteering in a kindergarten class at my kids school.  I also have seen the end result of kindergarten by volunteering in a first grade class for almost three years before COVID shut down in person schooling in our area.

I wasn’t the typical volunteer.  As soon as my children started school, I was in the classroom five days a week splitting between kindergarten and the upper grades as needed.  I’ve been put in charge of tech education for kindergarten and have run multi levels of reading groups in first grade.  I also worked on reading fluency with emerging readers and became known as the parent to rely on when given an educational task to accomplish in the classroom.

The two teachers I worked with most were seasoned professionals.  My mentors were wonderful women who made teaching their life.

  • The kindergarten teacher was one of the original teachers at our school which was founded in 1995.  She transferred over from another school and while kindergarten is her niche, she also had taught grades higher up into elementary school.
  • The first grade teacher I worked with had been teaching longer than I’ve been alive.  She knew what kids needed to have in first grade and was great at evaluating how successful a kindergarten year was for a kid within the first few weeks of school in her class.

I might not be considered an expert because I don’t have a degree.  I do believe my time in the classroom as well as being a mother myself helps me give a balanced view of things that will help your child succeed in kindergarten.

Area 7: Cutting

Learning to cut with scissors seems like it might be a simple activity with a simple result but in reality there is a lot going on by performing this skill. It involves balance and stability, hand and eye coordination and something called bilateral coordination.

Bilateral coordination is using both sides of the body at the same time. It usually happens to need this action to be in a controlled and organized manner. Lack of this still can sometimes indicate that both sides of the brain aren’t communicating effectively and sharing information.

The added bonus of this skill is that it conditions the hand’s muscles getting the child ready to write. All the movements of opening and closing the hand are done by the muscles that grip the pencil or crayon during writing.

Tips for scissor cutting

  • Start with scissors that are meant for kids. They don’t cost that much at places like Walmart or the dollar store. There is nothing worse than trying something like this with scissors that don’t fit the kids hands.
  • Provide a good pair of scissors. Cheaper ones that don’t cut well lead to frustration.
  • Position your child so that one hand is cutting and one hand is guiding the paper for them. This is a two handed skill despite only one hand being on the scissors.
  • Start with using the ends of the scissors to snip small pieces of paper off. The small opening and closing motion is a little different that longer cutting motions
  • Using thicker paper like construction paper or card stock at first is better for children’s ability to maneuver the scissors and paper.
  • Draw straight lines on a piece of paper and have your child

Here is a little youtube video from The Virtual Therapist to show more about cutting with scissors.


Find more great kindergarten educational videos on my YouTube playlist: Kindergarten Skills Videos

I hope you learned a lot from this article and don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series:





2 responses to “Life in Kindergarten — Cutting”

  1. kat Avatar

    This is so timely and so helpful! We just started teaching our 4 year old how to cut and it’s been a mix of frustration with helping her learn how to hold the scissors and the paper at the same time. But she’s developed something of an obsession for it, so we’re hoping it helps her develop her fine motor skills in time.

    1. Patty Gordon Avatar

      I’m so glad this could help! Working in kindergarten classrooms I saw just how difficult a time some kids had with this seemingly simple skill. I had no idea myself just how important a skill it was until I did some research.

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