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Tips for Introducing Scissors to Your Child

One of the most frequently asked questions I get as a pediatric occupational therapist, is when should a child start learning to use scissors? Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to this question and is very child dependent.

Things to Consider

Typically speaking, scissors can be introduced as early as 2 years old. Children are beginning to develop an interest in activities such as crafts and building things that often incorporate the development of fine motor skills. They are increasing their independence and have a strong desire to do things just like mom or dad including using tools like eating utensils and scissors. With careful supervision and adult modeling, learning to use scissors can be a fun and engaging activity for many toddlers. One thing to consider when determining if your child is ready is their behavior and impulse control. Safety is always of the utmost importance when using scissors. If your child has difficulty following adult directions, has poor visual attention, or demonstrates harmful behaviors towards others, I would not recommend introducing scissors just yet.

When You Begin

When introducing scissors, I would start by purchasing age-appropriate blunt-nosed scissors for safety. If your child demonstrates a left hand preference, be sure to trial left-handed scissors. The blades are positioned differently allowing the user to see the cutting line. Take some time to practice with these scissors and determine if this is appropriate for your child. If your child seems to have great difficulty using regular scissors, there are a variety of adaptive scissors to aide in certain aspects of the task. For example, if one of my clients is struggling with finger placement and the open/close motion, I may recommend trying spring-loaded scissors with a loop instead of finger holes. Stepping back and utilizing an adaptive tool, allows the child to focus on building the underlying skills needed to use scissors while reducing the demands of the task (i.e. remembering where to put fingers).


The following activities help to develop many of the foundational skills needed to be successful with scissors.

Spray bottles

Encourage your child to help by spraying household plants, during bath time, or wipe off an easel. Doing so helps to develop intrinsic muscles of the hand and develop an understanding of the grasp/release motion also used to snip with scissors.

Playdough scissors or rolling pins

Playdough is one of my favorite go to activities that I use with my kiddos as it can be utilized to address many areas. It builds hand strength and coordination needed to adequately manage scissors. Playdough scissors are a safe way to practice snipping and open/close. Using child or playdough rolling pins also encourages bilateral coordination or the effective use of both hands.

Snipping straws

This is such a simple yet fun and effective way to practice using scissors. Using regular width straws, encourage your child to close scissors and watch the straw pieces fly! For added challenge, have your child gather the pieces and string them onto a pipe cleaner or lace.


Clothespins are another simple yet valuable tool in my OT toolbox that have many uses. Similar to spray bottles, they help to develop the grasp/release or open/close motion that is used with scissors. They help to develop fine motor coordination and build small muscles of the hand.


Crafts are one of my favorite OT activities because the sky’s the limit in terms of my creativity! I often am asked by others, why I am doing art with my children, but in reality I am not focused on the finished product. I am focused on the process and the many ways children can develop fine motor skills like using scissors by completing a craft project. Making a craft is also much more motivating to children than simply using paper and scissors to practice cutting.

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Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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