Easy Shape Activities for Kids

Learning how to recognize shapes and their properties is an essential early numeracy skill. My kids love learning all about shapes, and I love putting activities together that teach about shapes. As you can see in this post, shape activities can be so easy to set up, require few materials and can be played with over and over again.

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This is what you will needyou will only need three things!

A piece of recycled cardboard

Shape stickers – if you do not have stickers, simply use some marker pens to draw them!

Small pegs

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Trim your piece of cardboard to size. For reference, our piece of cardboard is about 30 cm long and 20 cm high. This is just a rough guide though, you can use any size piece of card that you like. Once you are happy with your cardboard, simply paste stickers around the edge of the card. Make sure you leave enough space to place a peg between the sticker and the actual edge of the card.

If you do not have shape stickers, simply draw some shapes with marker pens or colored pencils directly onto the card. You can draw any shape and use any colors that you like!

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2. Next, prepare your matching pegs. I used small shape stickers to label our pegs. As our game is a shape and color matching game, I made sure that the pegs were labelled with the same colored shape as the shapes on the cardboard.

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3. Now play! Simply match the pegs to the board. Attaching the pegs is great for fine motor skill development and for encouraging pincer grip – the finger grip required to hold a pencil.

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And the neat thing about this game is that there are so many ways to play. You could use a timer and see how quickly you can match the pegs or you could call out a shape or color and find the corresponding peg to match! And if you have colored pegs, you could even match colors to shapes. See the pictures below for that to make more sense 😉

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Thank you so much for reading! Jacinta Xx. I hope that you enjoy these fun shape printables!

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Spooky Halloween Number Craft for Kids

I posted this activity over on my Instagram last night and it has been super popular! It’s a quick, low-prep math activity that is perfect for developing early numeracy skills. Simply print the file below and play!

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This is what you will need:

Printed copy of the FREE downloadable file.

Googly eyes or stickers

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Print this file:

2. Grab some stickers or googly eyes and add them to each ghost.

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Such an easy activity to put together and play in the lead up to Halloween!

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You can also watch this quick video for more information.

Thanks so much for reading (and watching)! Jacinta Xx

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Early Math Activities for Kids

I really love activities that develop math skills! Especially activities that encourage number recognition, counting skills, subitising and 1:1 correspondence. The activities that I describe here are perfect for developing all of these early numeracy skills. And best of all, you probably have everything you need to play at home already!

These activities are actually an extension of a recent blog article I posted entitled “Build A City.” You may have read it already? As well as working on the early math skills I listed above, these activities also introduce some simple addition and subtraction principles.

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This is what you will need:

Printed copy of the downloadable files

Lego, duplo bricks or building blocks

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Build a Tower

For this first activity, simply print out the “Build a Tower” file – you will find a link at the end of this paragraph. Then build a tower, stacking the number of bricks or blocks in each square. You will notice that the squares on the page are at different angles. This encourages your child to manipulate the angle of their tower on the page. This manipulation of angle is great for developing fine motor skills.

Here are the files that you will need. There is a black and white one, where you can match any color bricks to the squares, and a colored file. For this one, you can match colored bricks to each square.

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Add a Tower

You will get to practice some easy addition in this activity. Begin by printing out the downloadable file – again, you will find this file at the end of the paragraph. Then simply add the blocks together to build the towers.

Here is the file that you will need:

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Subtract a Tower

You guessed it! This next activity is subtract a tower. Start by printing the downloadable file and then substract the blocks. Place the resulting stack onto the corresponding square.

Here is the file that you will need:

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I really hope that you enjoy building these towers! Enjoy! Jacinta Xx

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Easy Halloween Math for Kids

I always associate googly eyes with Halloween crafts! Googly eyes make the best number counters, and are the perfect tool for helping kids learn some early math skills in a fun and engaging way.

Here are my favorite easy googly eye activities that will have your kids learning their numbers in no time this Halloween.

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This first activity is so super simple to put together. I started by cutting some black construction paper into the spider shapes. I actually used my Cricut Maker to do this! If you don’t have a Cricut, simply cut some circles from paper and then glue down 8 little paper strip legs.

Once your spiders are prepared, label them with numbers. You can do this with marker pen, stickers – anyway that you please! I used a white paint pen. Then ask your child to place the spiders in order on a flat surface. If you have younger children or students, order them yourself.

Then simply match the corresponding number of googly eyes to each spider. You can paste the eyes down with white school glue and make an awesome art piece. Or if you are like me and like to re-use your resources, simply use the eyes as counters. By keeping the eyes unglued, you can simply clear the eyes away and play over and over!

This googly eye activity is perfect for learning about number recognition, 1:1 correspondence, subitising and number order. You will also notice that there is a fair bit of strategy involved as well. As we used different size googly eyes, your child will have to work out which size eyes they must use to make sure that they all fit on the spiders.

!Caution! Remember that googly eyes are a choking hazard. Closely supervise your children when they are using any small craft objects and embellishments, especially googly eyes.

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I love this bright and colorful spider activity! To put this one together, we simply traced and cut out circles from colored construction paper. We then pasted down some googly eyes and attached 8 pegs to each spider. As well as developing fine motor skills, this activity also develops 1:1 correspondence and subitising. It is also fun for learning colors too!

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The above is another super simple and super fun Halloween math activity. To play this one, simply grab some colored origami squares and lay them out on a flat surface. Then, label each square with a number. You can label the squares with any number that you like, depending on your child’s math ability and how many googly eyes you have! Then simply match the corresponding number of googly eyes to each square. Again, you can glue your pieces together, or keep them unglued so that you can use them over and over again!

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My kids love this activity! To play, simply line up some craft sticks on a flat surface. We used the larger size craft sticks for this activity. Then label each stick with a number and match the corresponding number of eyes to each stick. This activity is perfect for developing 1:1 correspondence, number order, counting and fine motor skills – it can be tricky lining all those eyes up on the sticks. Again, there is a decent amount of strategy and creativity required to fit the different size eyes onto the sticks, especially if you label them with numbers greater than 9!

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What are your favorite Halloween math activities? I have so many, it’s difficult to fit them into the one post! Thanks again for reading! Jacinta Xx

Here is a fun Halloween symmetry activity for you to try with your children.

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Halloween Scissor Crafts for Kids

Halloween is the perfect holiday for practicing scissor skills! I have heaps of fun ideas that will have your kids perfecting their scissor skills in no time. Best of all, you will only require a couple of inexpensive and simple materials – and these activities are FUN!

Keep reading, you will find a FREE printable at the end of this article that will make practicing scissor skills with your kids and students a breeze!

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Below is my favorite and most simple scissor skill activity. To play this one, you will only need some strips of paper, a marker pen and of course, some scissors. For this activity, we used specialized children’s scissors.

Children’s scissors are great for learning how to snip and cut. They are the correct size for little hands (so they are not too heavy or too big, which helps with accuracy of cutting), they have a real safety blade that actually cuts (plastic scissors often fold paper rather than cut through it, making them frustrating for little kids to use) and have that little spring lever connecting the two handle pieces together. This spring is fabulous! The reason being, that kids only have to get their hands working in the one direction to close the scissors, then the scissors spring back open on their own. This makes using scissors so much easier for preschoolers.

!CAUTION! Remember to always carefully and closely supervise your children when using scissors!

To put this activity together, all you need to do is cut some strips of paper, label them with a variety of lines using a marker pen, and then if you like, add a little ghost to each end of the strips. I used my Cricut Maker to cut the ghosts out and then pasted them down. You could simply draw them out or use a Halloween themed sticker if you have one. Then ask your children to cut along the lines in the direction towards the ghosts. You can make your lines as easy or tricky as you like – depending on your child’s skill level.

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I posted the below activity on my Instagram earlier this week. I have to be honest and say that I don’t really love the pictures (I have almost deleted them at least 10 times! ha ha!), but I do really LOVE the idea of the activity. It’s a fun variation on the above idea, and is a great and easy way to practice scissor use!

For this next activity, I simply cut out the ghost shapes on white printer paper, drew some lines on the ghost tails with black marker pen, and then we cut along the lines with scissors. Again, this activity allows practice of cutting in a specific direction. You may notice that these scissors are different to the ones pictured above. They are still children’s scissors, but they have a sharper point (compared to the safer, blunt tip scissors above) and are a little heavier. These scissors are good for children who have some experience using scissors.

This final ghost cutting activity is one of my favorites! Again, draw and cut a ghost shape onto white printer paper and make snips along the tail. Then for some extra fine motor practice, take a pen or a pencil and roll the snips of paper towards the body of the ghost. Then once you reach the body, remove the pencil and you will see that the paper has curled. These curly tail ghosts are just the cutest!

If you have younger children, you might want to use cardstock to use in these cutting activities. Cardstock is a little less flimsy than printer paper, making it easier for kids to handle and cut.

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope that you find these activities helpful these Halloween holidays! Jacinta Xx

Here are some fun printables for you to practice those scissors skills:

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Halloween Number Match for Kids

I first posted this super easy activity a couple of months back as a fun way for kids to practice their early number skills. The idea is to simply match the corresponding number of sticker or googly eyes to each number. This activity is perfect for practicing number recognition, number order, 1:1 correspondence and subitising skills.

Once you match the stickers to the numbers, it kind of makes the numbers look like monsters! So come October, this activity will be a super fun Halloween game too.

I have used stickers in the above pictures to label each number, but you can also use googly eyes! You can even use the googly eyes like counters, rather than gluing them down, so that you can play over and over again.

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This is what you will need:

Copy of the FREE printable file

Stickers or googly eyes

White school glue (optional)

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This is what you will need to do:

1. Print the free downloadable file.

2. You can now play any way that you like! You can use googly eyes to decorate your numbers, either gluing them down, or if you would like to use your print out over and over, simply use the googly eyes like counters. That way you can move them into place, and then clear them away.

!WARNING: Remember that googly eyes are a choking hazard. Always closely supervise your children and never give googly eyes to mouthing babies to play with!

3. I used some fun sticker eyes that we had at home to label the pictures that I posted over on Instagram. If you don’t have these stickers, you could try drawing some eyes with chalk or a white gel pen.

And that’s it! A really fun and super easy activity to play with your children or students this Halloween.

Before I forget, here is the FREE printable:

Thank you for reading. Jacinta Xx

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DIY Rocket Launch for Kids

Here is a super easy science craft for kids. These rocket launches are actually amazing! And, all you will need to make one is two paper cups, two elastic bands and a pair of scissors. Then if you like, you can add some extra construction paper decorations to turn one of the cups into a rocket, but this is not essential. The launch will work with plain, undecorated cups too.

This craft is perfect for kids of all ages. Preschoolers will be amazed playing around with these, while older children can use them to help explain important physics principles such as force, mass and acceleration.

This is what you will need:

2 paper cups

2 elastic bands

Scissors

If you would like to make a rocket, you will also need:

Colored construction paper

Tissue paper

Tape

(You can see that I also put some aluminum foil in the picture. We didn’t use this in the end – it was really hard to wrap around the cup securely. By all means use it if you would like though!)

This is what you will need to do:

  1. Make 4 snips in the cup. Then, snip each elastic band once to form a long piece of elastic.

2. Attach the two elastic bands to the cup. The trick here is to not pull the elastics too tight. You want to retain the original shape of the cup, or as close to it as possible.

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3. Tie each end of the elastic band to secure. Trim any excess elastic.

4. You can now launch your paper cup! To do this, place your unaltered cup upside down on a flat surface. Then gently press the elastic bands on your second cup down on top. Let go and watch the cup fly.

5. If you would like to turn you cup into a rocket, tape some strips of colored tissue paper to the inside of the cup.

6. Then cut some pieces of colored construction paper to decorate the body of the rocket. I added two windows and some fins. But you can decorate your rocket any way that you like. You might like to add your name or even a nose cone! Just be careful not to make it too heavy. Heavy cups won’t launch very high!

7. Once you have decorated your rocket. Press it onto the launch cup, let it go and watch it fly!

I hope you have making your own rocket launcher. Jacinta Xx

Flower Science

I love this pretty flower activity! It’s super easy and inexpensive to put together, but resulted in so much fun and learning for my girls!

A couple of weeks ago we went for a walk together around our neighborhood, picking flowers that were growing on the nature strips – we didn’t pick any flowers from peoples gardens! It was actually nearing the end of winter, so we were really surprised to find so many beautiful, bright colored flowers growing.

Once we were home, we placed the flowers into an over sized ice cube tray, filled the tray with water and popped them into the freezer. To be totally honest, that’s where they sat for the next couple of weeks! But, we finally pulled them out yesterday and had the best time with them.

We used solutions of warm water (with a small amount of purple food dye added) and salt to melt the blocks. We talked about melting points and the patterns that we could make in the ice with the salt. We also noted how the flowers looked different on thawing than they did before we froze them! All great scientific observations.

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Here is what you will need:

Flowers

Ice cube tray

Water

Plastic pipettes or squeeze bottles

Salt

Food coloring

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Here is what you will need to do:

1. Pick some flowers. You might find these in your garden or in your neighborhood. Remember that if you are going to walk your neighborhood, make sure that an adult is present and that you watch for traffic when crossing roads.

2. Place your flowers into the ice cube tray.

3. Fill the tray with water. You will notice that the flowers float to the top of the ice cube tray wells.

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4. Pop the ice cube tray into the freezer. It will probably take overnight to freeze – especially if you are using similar trays to ours.

5. Place the frozen blocks onto a tray. Pour a small amount of warm water into the tray. We colored our water with a drop of purple food dye.

6. Take your pipette and drop the water over the ice blocks. Keep dropping until you see your ice blocks start to disappear. You can also sprinkle some salt over the ice blocks to speed up the thawing process.

7. If you don’t have a plastic pipette, you can also use squeeze or spray bottles to transfer the water. It’s totally up to you!

8. And this activity is a fun one to do outside! Take your tray out into a warm sunny spot and experiment further. This also makes clean up simple!

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The Science:

Have you ever wondered why salt makes ice melt faster? The answer is actually really simple. Salt lowers the melting point of the water, meaning it will thaw at a lower temperature. The more salt that you add, the faster the ice will melt.

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions pop them in the comments section below. Jacinta Xx

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Here is a fun FREE printable for you! It is a fun number matching game.

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DIY Puzzles For Kids

If you flick through my Instagram account you will notice that we love making our own puzzles, especially from craft sticks (do you call them craft sticks or popsicle sticks? Here in Australia we call them craft sticks!).

Craft stick puzzles are super easy and affordable to make. You can decorate them any way that you like too. You can paint them, color with marker pens or even use them as a base to collage on. Once the paint is dry, simply pop them in a snap lock bag, take them on holidays and road trips, and play with them over and over. You will never be bored again!

Another neat thing about craft stick puzzles is that they can be used as a fun way to practice number recognition and order. You can label each craft stick with a number (or even letters) and then put your puzzle pieces together in order. Lining up the puzzle pieces and manipulating them into place is also great fine motor skill practice!

Here are some of my most favorite craft stick puzzles that we have made.

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Keep reading to find out how to make our recently published geometric craft stick puzzles.

Here is what you will need:

Craft sticks

Washi tape

Pencil

Ruler

Black marker pen

Paint or marker pens

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Here is what you will need to do:

  1. Line 12 craft sticks up in a row. Secure the sticks in place with two strips of washi tape.

2. At this point, you may like to label each stick with a number. You can label either the front or the back of the sticks, depending on how hard you would like your puzzle to be.

3. Next, take a ruler and a pencil and rule geometric lines across your puzzle. If you do not want to make a geometric puzzle, that’s fine, at this point simply draw the picture that you would like.

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4. Paint (or color) your puzzle pieces. Allow the paint to dry completely.

5. Flip your puzzle over carefully and remove the washi tape.

6. Piece your puzzle back together.

And that’s it! It is so easy to make these puzzles, and the neat thing is, that once you have made them, you can use them over and over again. Just store your pieces in a snap lock bag or a small container whilst not in use! That way you won’t loose any pieces!

Thanks again for reading! Jacinta Xx

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Here are some FREE printable paper puzzle files for you! Enjoy!

Click here for a rainbow puzzle DIY:

Click here for under the sea toddler puzzles:

Click here for some blank puzzle templates:

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Scissor Skills – How to teach kids to safely use scissors.

Learning how to use scissors with ease and accuracy is a really important lesson for children. In this post, I have collated my ten most favorite ways to practice scissor skills. These activities are all super easy to put together and are lots of fun for kids to practice and master.

You will only require 3 materials for each of these activities! Yep 3, that’s all!

1 Scissors: We like to use specialized children’s scissors (with a metal blade) for cutting and snipping. These scissors are readily available at craft, department and stationary stores. The neat thing about children’s scissors is that they have a safety blade and a blunt tip, which protect little fingers from getting hurt. They’re also light in weight and the correct size for little hands. Big, heavy scissors are going to be difficult for children to manoeuver and control. I suggest avoiding plastic scissors, as they often don’t actually cut the paper. This frustrates children and discourages them from practicing and mastering their scissors skills. It is ultimately up to you though, which scissors you feel comfortable allowing your children to use.

2 Paper: You can use any paper that you like for your cutting and snipping activities. In most of the activities that I present in this article, I have used off cuts and scraps of colored paper. When possible, I also try to use a light cardstock. It’s a little bit heavier than paper, so it doesn’t flop around as much, making it easier for children to hold.

3 Marker pen: I use a black marker pen to mark the lines on the paper pieces. Start by marking long solid lines for your children to follow with scissors. Once your child has mastered following the solid lines, you can move to dotted or dashed lines to increase the difficulty.

!WARNING! Before presenting the activities, it is important to remember that scissors are sharp! It is always a great idea to remind children at the beginning of each lesson or activity that scissors can be dangerous when not used correctly. And of course, adults should always closely supervise children when using scissors.

Here are a couple of rules that I like to remind my kids before using scissors:

  1. Scissors are for cutting paper only – not clothing, hair or fingers!
  2. Encourage small snipping movements where your child moves the paper around the scissors, not big clunky movements.
  3. And of course scissors should always point away from the body and only be used while stationary. Children shouldn’t walk around with scissors. If they must, remind children to secure the blades within the palms of their hands and to pass them via the handles.

You might have your own house rules for using scissors that you would like to add to your own scissor safety list.

Using scissors is tricky, so don’t worry if your child’s work appears messy at first. Your child will progress at their own pace. By preparing fun and colorful activities for them, they will be happy to practice and get better and better.

Here is the list of my 10 most favourite activities for increasing scissor skills.

1. Beginner scissor pattern with sticky marker dots: I love this super easy to set up scissor practice activity. These are off cuts of colored paper that I had at home. I drew different shaped lines on them with marker pen and then labelled with sticker dots to show where little fingers need to be positioned for safe cutting. If you do not have sticker dots, you can simply draw the dots with marker pen. That will work just as well! Just remember that some of the lines shown, such as the swirly line, can be quite difficult to cut for beginners. Practise straight lines first and then introduce harder lines to follow and cut.

2. Trace and cut patterns: I love that you set this activity up once, but two skills are learned and practiced! To play simply draw out some dashed line patterns onto strips of paper. Then ask your child to trace the lines. You will see that I added the hearts to one side of the paper. This gives the activity direction. You can trace towards the hearts or away – whatever direction your child chooses. Tracing lines is a great pre-writing skill and helps strengthen the little muscles in your child’s fingers. Once the lines have been traced, ask your child to cut along the lines. It’s lots of fun!

3. Advanced cutting activities: Once your child has mastered snipping and cutting in a straight line, you can move to more difficult cutting patterns. These activities are just as simple to set up! For more advanced cutting activities you will just have to think of more challenging lines for your child to cut along. Think curved and zig-zag lines, and even intersecting lines. These activities will not only challenge scissor skills but will also challenge their strategic and creative thinking skills.

4. Paper bag haircuts: this activity also doubles as a fun art and craft activity and is a cute way to decorate a simple brown paper lunch bag. Start by decorating the front of the paper bag with a cute smiley face. Then take your scissors and snip some hair across the top of the bag. Your child can either cut through the two layers of the bag together or individually. Let them think about the best strategy to successfully make the cuts.

5. Cutting with direction: For this activity, simply draw some patterns on scraps of paper with marker pens and then give the lines direction by adding little arrow heads at the end of the lines. Then ask you children to cut the lines in the direction that the arrow is pointing. You can draw straight lines for beginners and curved lines and even circles for older children with more developed scissor skills.

6. Spring time trace and cut: you can always theme your cutting activities to your child’s interests! To make this flowery activity, draw some flowers onto squares or paper. You can then either cut along these lines directly, or ask your child to trace over the lines before cutting. Again, tracing along the lines is great pre-writing practice. As I mentioned above, cutting the curved lines can be tricky, so make sure that you work up to this activity. You do not want your child getting frustrated or disappointed if the activity is way too difficult for them.

7. Meet in the middle: this scissor skill lesson is a great collaborative activity that we like to call “meet in the middle.” It’s perfect for siblings and small groups in the classroom. To play, we taped strips of colored paper together, ruled cutting lines and marked the midline with a star shaped sticker – again, if you don’t have stickers, mark the middle with marker pen. Then use your scissors to cut along the ruled lines and “meet in the middle.” Remember that this activity is not a race! It’s about cutting accurately along the straight lines and stopping once you reach the midline.

8. Curly rainbows: this is one of my most favorite Instagram posts ever! As well as providing a lovely scissor practice opportunity, it also results in a beautiful, happy art piece. To put this activity together, simply draw some clouds on a piece of white paper and ask your child to cut around the outline with scissors. Then ask them to cut strips of colored paper. Tape the strips to the back and draw smiley faces onto the clouds. You can either stop there, or if you want some extra fine motor skill practice, curl the paper around a pencil!

9. Cutting shapes: this activity has direction and requires a little more concentration than snipping short straight lines. It also provides a great opportunity to introduce shape and some early geometry principals. To put this activity together, simply cut the shapes from some colored paper. Then draw the lines with marker pen and add some little direction arrows. Finally, ask your children or students to cut along the line. This one is actually quite fun!

10. Cutting puzzles: I love it when you set up an activity that can be used over and over again. This was actually an activity that I put together for my girls in the lead up to Easter, but you could just as easily turn it into a dinosaur egg game and it use it year round. To play, I simply cut out the egg shapes, drew lines on them with marker pen and asked my girls to cut along the lines. We then kept the pieces and used them as puzzles! You can store the pieces in an envelope or bag and then play with them as often as you like.

Here is a FREE printable summary of this article!

What are your favorite ways to practice scissor skills? Have you tried any of these activities?

Thank you so much for reading! If you have any questions pop them in the comments below and I will get back to you. Jacinta Xx