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Scissor Cutting Age Appropriate Expectations

Arts and crafts are one of the many ways children can express themselves, especially in the early development years of their lives. Scissors are one of the many tools a child can use during this activity and a way to continue to explore their creativity.

Below are the targets a child should be achieving when using scissors:

2 – 2 ½ years

  • Child is able to open and shut scissors with two hands.
  • Start to snip paper.

2 ½ – 3 years

  • Child is able to snip paper.
  • Child holds scissors in one hand.
    • Dominant hand maybe not established at this age.
  • Paper may be held by an adult when cutting lines.

3 – 4 years

  • Child is able to cut along a 4 inch straight line.
    • Their cut line should not be wider than ½ inch.
  • Begins to use helper hand on paper.

4 – 5 years old

  • Holding scissors with a neutral wrist and thumb up position.
  • Uses both hands to coordinate holding paper and scissors.
  • Cuts out simple shapes and along curved lines fairly accurate.

5 – 6 years

  • Mature scissor grasp consistently.
  • Hold and turn paper.
  • Cuts smoothly without jagged edges or paper tears.
  • Cuts along curved lines with accuracy.

6 ½ years

  • Cuts out complex pictures and designs without assistance.

Below are some additional resources on scissor skill development and progression:

Scissor Skill Development Checklist for Ages 2-6

Developmental Progression: Scissor Skills Best Tips for Teaching Kids to Use Scissors

If you have concerns about your child at any age, please feel free to contact Crawl Walk Jump Run Therapy by phone at (586) 323-2957 to speak to an Occupational Therapist. You can also call to set up for a free screening at anytime.

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