FREE Cutting Practice Ideas for Kids

Luke, 4, and Lilah, 2, have been very into using scissors lately.  We do the Kumon Let’s Cut Paper! books, which they love, but I limit those to one page per day.  They are both so into cutting though, that they REALLY want to keep going.  I’ve posted about a thrifty way to practice cutting using old magazines and catalogs before, but wanted to share another free way to let your scissor-happy child(ren) practice to their heart’s content: by reusing paper that would otherwise by throw out or recycled.  This not only doesn’t cost you anything, it allows your children to practice their fine motor skills and express their creativity!

First, start a small bin for scrap paper.  Ours is a plastic shoe box that sits on the edge of the children’s work table.  I put all types of paper in it, like junk mail pages, paper that I’ve printed or written on but no longer need, coloring book pages or drawings that I’m not planning to save, leftover paper from craft projects, scraps of wrapping paper, and so on.  Then I let L&L use the paper for whatever cutting project they can dream up!  

I only have two rules when it comes to their cutting projects: 1-they can only cut paper that comes from the scrap bin, and 2-whatever they cut up, they clean up!!!

Today, Luke found some shapes drawn on construction paper in our scrap paper bin from a little game I had played with Lilah.  He came up with the idea to cut out the shapes and glue them on paper.  Since he’s a beginning reader, when he had finished his project, I took another piece of scrap paper and wrote the names of each shape on it.  I asked him to cut out each word and label his shapes.  He was able to use his knowledge of beginning sounds to glue the right word next to each shape.  Not only did he get lots of cutting and gluing practice, I was happy to sneak in a little bit of literacy as well!

Lilah saw Luke busy at work on his project and wanted to cut, too.  She asked for my help in choosing what to do.  I suggested she get out a piece of scrap paper and practice cutting.  I asked her if she just wanted to cut on her own or if she wanted me to draw lines for her.  She asked for lines, so I took a crayon and drew her a few lines of varying difficulty: straight lines, wavy lines, and zigzag lines.  She got right to work!

We have just started the scrap bin ourselves, and this is the first day the kids have really taken off with using it.  I’m looking forward to seeing what else they come up with!

Do your children like to cut?  Any favorite activities?

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Genny Upton

A former teacher turned stay at home mom to two preschool aged children. Creator (and writer) at In Lieu of Preschool and Parent Teach Play. Currently publishing my first children's picture book!

  • Oh, my toddler LOVES cutting right now. We keep a box of scrap paper around so it’s easy to grab when she’s ready to start cutting. We’re starting to work on cutting those lines.

  • K.Hackney says:

    We use lots of activities like these for our home visiting program to prepare for kindergarten.

  • Kristin says:

    cant wait to try it out!

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