Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 8

 Welcome to Week 8!

If you are joining us for the first time, I encourage you to first read Play to Write-Write to Read: Week 1. Then, be sure to come back and join us for this week’s play group activities!

Welcome back! I can’t believe we have been together now for 8 weeks! Time does fly when you are playing! :) This week we are going to work on Basic Scissor Readiness Skills. Scissor skills require many of the fine-motor skills that writing requires. Cutting and writing both compliment one another, so this week let’s take a quick break from writing and cut! I have a feeling your child with absolutely love the idea! Big Brother had a blast with these activities; so let’s begin with the basics and then you decide where you child is and go from there. Ready, set, CUT! :) 

Just a reminder those of you who are joining our Play Group each week, you are asked to please do 2 things:

1. Comment on how these activities worked or didn’t work with your child. Feel free to reply to one another to encourage and offer your advice as well! This will also be great to hold us all accountable to one another to actually follow through… don’t we all need a little of that!? :)

2. Share: Bloggers-you can link up a writing activity you’ve done with your child in the past to share with everyone. You are totally welcome to reteach the same strategies on your blogs and then link up those posts the following week (please do be sure to link back). Non-Bloggers & Bloggers we encourage you to teach/share these activities with another mom friend. Wouldn’t it be fabulous if more and more parents began to learn Best Practices for writing to ‘play’ with their kids; these types of activities are not just for teachers! Let’s empower each other by sharing!

The FUNdamentals

 (The FUNdamentals section focuses on guiding your toddler/preschooler through the basics of developing the fine motor and gross motor skills needed for the physical act of writing, but doing so with ‘fun’ activity.) 

Basic Scissor Skill Objectives: 

1. Improve scissor skills

2. Improve hand and finger awareness

3. Improve hand control for cutting and writing

4.  Have Fun!

Physical Development for Basic Scissor Skills 

In order for a child to be able to use scissors properly, they need to be developmentally ready both cognitively and physically. Cognitively, they need to be ready to move past non-purposeful play and take an interest in using scissors. Physically, they need to be able to have the following 3 fine motor skills.

1. Open and Close Their HandsYour child must be able to drop blocks into a cup with the ‘pick-up and release motion’. To test or practice this skill, have you child sit next to a cup on the floor, pick up blocks and drop them into the cup.

2. Open and Close ToolsYour child must be able to open and close tools. To test or practice this skill, have your child use clothes pins and clip them onto the rim of a bowl. Other great tools to practice opening and closing with are salad servers, tongs, tweezers, and or a squirt gun.

3. Use Two Hands TogetherYour child must be able to use two hands together with the lead hand in scissors in a ‘thumbs up position’ and use the helper hand to hold the paper. This is the last skill to acquire. If you child can do both skills #1 and #2, then you are ready to begin practicing cutting with scissors. Another great activity to prepare your child for the idea of using both hands is to use Sewing Cards. (You can make your own or buy them at a local teacher store.)

Scissor Skill Readiness {Developmentally Step-by Step}

Often times preschoolers are just handed a pair of scissors and just told to practice cutting. Just as learning to read needs to begin with specific reading readiness skills, there are specific scissor readiness skills to develop proper cutting techniques. Children typically begin with snipping, then cutting across paper. Thicker, sturdier paper is recommended over typical writing/printing paper for beginners as it is easier to control.

1. Start with hand games involving opening and closing fingers and finger isolation movements. Check out last week’s 5 Writing Grasp Strengthening Activities, these are all great activities to develop those skills!

2. Fine motor skill activities/craft projects using clothes pins, a hole punch, or thumb stamping are great for thumb movement.

3. Move popcorn, cotton balls, blocks, etc. with tongs or salad servers.

4. Squirting a squirt gun, erasing chalk/dry erase, or watering plants are great grasp strengthening activities.

5. Roll out playdough into a ‘log’ and practice cutting in into 1 inch pieces with scissors.

6. Cut across paint sample strips from the home improvement store.

7. Cut ‘fringe’ around the border of a paper or around the top of a paper bag.

8. Cut along ‘Guide Lines’. *Download FREE Guide Line Printables!

8. Snip plastic straws into one inch pieces, use the pieces to slide on a piece of string to create a necklace.

9. Cut along ‘Line Mazes’. *Download FREE Line Maze Cutting Printables

10. Cut 1 inch thick strips of paper from construction paper to make a paper chain.

11. Cut around basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle,). *Download FREE Shape Cutting Printables

12. Cut around more complex shapes, by drawing a thick border around the picture to cut on. *Download FREE Simplified Border Printables

Source: Fine Motor Solutions by Robin Cameron Unes.

Click Here to Grab the Code! 


  1. As always, thanks for hosting. How are your alphabet books going? Love all of the cutting practice ideas. Letting children learn how to cut with scissors, and letting them practice and practice, helps out in many areas!

  2. This is awesome!! I am new to this series, but so needed to see the writing lesson in the first post and this scissor cutting post. I will be implementing both activities asap! Thanks for sharing! I LOVE your blog!

  3. I need to start doing this with my two-year-olds to develop their hand strength. Great advice! Thanks for sharing at Mom’s Library!

  4. I LOVE all of your ideas!! Thanks SO much for sharing! My kids just did the activity where they cut straws into 1 inch pieces and strung them onto ribbon to make a necklace…they loved it! And now my 4 1/2 year old is cutting paper strips so we can start making a “Thankful” chain for this month!! It feels really good to provide them with meaningful activities and less tv time!! Thanks again!! :)


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