If there is one thing I remember doing as a “winter” craft, it was making snowflakes. You know, just folding up the paper and cutting away at it. Well as a mom now, I realized that this winter snowflake craft is perfect for helping children refine their fine motor skills. So here is how I used snowflake making to teach my toddler to use scissors and helped her fine motor skills.
I never think about how hard scissors are to use until I watch a kid try to use them. If you think about it, it does take quite a bit of coordination to learn to use them. You have to make sure your fingers are in the right places, then you have to get the open-close action going, and you also have to hold the paper you are cutting in your other hand. Add to that moving the scissors once you get a little bit cut and it really is an exercise in not only fine motor skills, but also patience and remembering an action with multiple steps. (If you aren’t sure if your child is ready to use scissors, give them some fine motor practice using stickers.)
The first thing I try to do whenever a child is learning to use scissors is to show them how to hold them not only while they are cutting, but also while they are moving around. Having a child use scissors is not as nerve-wracking when they can hold them properly.
I show them how to point the blades down and wrap their hand around them like this:
Once I taught my daughter how to hold the scissors, then we worked on opening and closing the scissors for a little bit of practice. I drew a few lines on a piece of paper and let her try on her own first. She is only 2, so I made it a little easier by holding the paper for her so she could focus on the scissors.
If anyone doesn’t know how to make a snowflake, here is a basic run-down:
Make your paper into a square by folding up a corner and cutting off the extra.
Then fold in half to make a rectangle, then again to make a square.
Now usually you can just start cutting away, but in order to give a little bit of an objective to help fine motor skills, we are going to mark where we want them to cut on this winter snowflake craft. The easiest one is to simply make some straight lines so that they cut off each of the four corners of the square.
Now, Mac called this particular snowflake a “flower” but there isn’t much else a toddler can cut off using just straight lines.
Once your child progresses past this step, you can make it a little more tough by doing some triangles. It still involves cutting straight lines, but this time they are smaller and have a certain spot where the child needs to stop cutting. It ends up looking a bit more like a snowflake.
The most difficult type of snowflake to do is one with curvy lines to cut out. Once your child has the hang of doing straight lines and short lines, they can do curvy figures. This is where the snowflakes start to be a bit more creative.
Once your child has pretty good fine motor skills, they can cut their own snowflakes without following your lines. But this winter snowflake craft is perfect when the day looks like this
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