The Ultimate Guide to Scissor Skills

Today, I’ve got for you the Ultimate Guide to Scissor Skills
 
Kids usually interact with a pair of scissors early on in age.  Sometimes, they get the hang of cutting paper into shapes quite easily.  Other times however, children have difficulty with cutting on lines, holding and rotating the paper, determining how to open/close the scissor blades, or how to even hold the scissors effectively.  
 
This month in the Functional Skills for Kids series, I’m joining nine other Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists in discussing all things scissor skills.  This is an ultimate guide to scissor skill development, fine and gross motor skills and sensory processing skills related to scissor use, tips for attention and behavior concerns, therapist-approved tips and tricks to build accuracy, 
 
Read on for everything you need to know about teaching kids to use scissors:

 

Ultimate guide to scissor skill use including fine and gross motor considerations, sensory processing considerations, scissor use development, and Occupational Therapist approved tips and tricks to help kids learn to use scissors and cut on the lines.
 

 

 
 
 
Gross Motor Skills and Scissor Use  | Your Therapy Source
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ultimate guide to scissor skill use including fine and gross motor considerations, sensory processing considerations, scissor use development, and Occupational Therapist approved tips and tricks to help kids learn to use scissors and cut on the lines.
 
Looking for more ways to work on scissor skills? Try these creative tips and tricks:
 

Juicy Greek Turkey Burger Recipe

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Martin’s Food Markets for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Is there anything that says “Summer” more than a burger hot off the grill? Burgers, sun, and good times with friends and family are what summer is all about.  When families go to Fourth of July picnics or grill out, it is fun to make delicious foods that help to celebrate summer.  This Greek Turkey Burger recipe is a great addition to your summer grilling, and uses fresh ingredients.  

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe

I love a good burger.  There is no denying that.  It’s my go-to meal when I need to get dinner on the table in a hurry.  One of my favorite ways to add variety to burgers is by trying new combinations of toppings and mixed-in ingredients.  These turkey burgers were a new spin on the classic hamburger and they were a huge hit in our house.  (One that we’ll be making again very soon!) 

I found a bunch of recipes on Martin’s Savory Recipe Center and this American Gobbler Burger  really stood out to me.  It’s a Greek-style turkey burger with a juicy cucumber sauce topping and basil and tomato feta that is mixed right into the ground turkey.  Anytime cheese is mixed into the burger meat, it’s a win in my book! The flavored feta adds a nice pop of taste, but what really makes this turkey burger flavorful is the cucumber sauce.  It’s an easy sauce to whip up. (So easy in fact, that my two year old helped me make it!) The American Gobbler Burger is a Greek turkey burger that’s easy to prepare in an affordable way!

There were so many recipes at Martin’s Food Markets that look amazing.  They are affordable and easy to prepare recipes, and easy way to give variety to your guests/family at a Fourth of July picnic or anytime!  I love how Martin’s Food Markets makes it easy to plan out a Fourth of July picnic.  In fact, the planning is done for you with quality food.  I found so many recipes that I want to try this summer.  The ingredients and products are easily accessible and affordable which is perfect for busy, big families, like mine.  

Anytime a shopping trip is made easier when there are four kids aged 8 and under in tow, it makes this mama smile.  When we hit the grocery store, I usually have all four attached in some variety to the shopping cart so it can be a bit of a spectacle to see us troop through the produce aisles. And, when you’ve got four kids, affordable foods is a must, making Martin’s Food Market the perfect place for us! 

Ingredients for the North American Gobbler Burger

(Yummy Greek-style Turkey Burger)

  • 1/2 cup light ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup peeled and minced cucumber
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 3/4 cup crumbled basil and tomato feta cheese, divided
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 onion rolls
These ingredients can be found at Martin’s Food Markets.  It’s a place where you can save time and money while getting fresh ingredients to help you celebrate summer!

  • How to make the American Gobbler Burger (aka Greek Turkey Burgers)

Cucumber ranch sauce to go with this Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Mix the ranch dressing and chopped cucumber in a bowl and place to the side.

Cucumber ranch sauce to go with this Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues


My two year old helped me mix up the cucumber sauce.  We love cooking together. Cooking with kids is such a great way to add learning into the kitchen as they read and follow recipes, problem solve, motor plan, and build executive functioning skills.  I think that getting the kids involved in making the foods that they eat really encourages them to try new things like these turkey burgers.  

Combine the ground turkey with 1/2 cup feta cheese and black pepper. Shape into four 4-oz. patties and flatten slightly.

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues


Grill or broil turkey burgers, using direct medium heat, 6 to 8 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165ºF.



How amazing does that crumbled basil and tomato feta cheese look?

Meanwhile, heat onion rolls only until warm. For each burger, spread 2 tablespoons sauce on each roll. Place burgers on rolls and top each with about 1 tablespoon of feta cheese.


Top the burger with slivered red onions and lettuce.  And enjoy!

Fresh veggies go well on a Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Fresh veggies go well on a Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues


Be sure to check out Martin’s Savory recipe Center for a huge variety of burger recipes, just in time for kicking off your summer or Fourth of July picnic!

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues
Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues

Greek Turkey Burger Recipe, perfect for summer cooking and barbecues


Let us know if you try this Greek Turkey Burger at your summer picnics this year. What are your favorite Fourth of July foods?

Visit Sponsors Site

Cool Glow in the Dark Chalk Sensory Bottle

This glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle is one that is added to some of our favorite sensory bottles.
SO, if you’ve seen sensory bottles before, you might be surprised to see this calming sensory tool is made with CHALK. Yep, chalk!


Glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle: how to make a sensory bottle and why sensory bottles are great for self-regulation needs.



This post contains affiliate links.


But first,


Why use sensory bottles?

Glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle: how to make a sensory bottle and why sensory bottles are great for self-regulation needs.

Sensory bottles are a tool for calming and self-regulation in kids with sensory needs.  Some children (and adults) use them as a tool in their sensory diet.  Just like kids with motor planning issues NEED modifications or children with visual motor integration concerns NEED to use certain accommodations in order to write legible, there are kids who NEED self-regulation in their sensory diet in order to function in their day.  They are not just another blog post that you might see out there in your Facebook feed.


TIP: Add a DIY sensory bottle to your on-the-go sensory diet bag

Self regulation is essential skill that allows us to keep emotions in check and think before acting. 

Sensory bottles and self-regulation


Here are some of the benefits of using a sensory bottle as a self-regulation tool: 



  • Calms
  • Helps with focusing
  • Helps with attention
  • Allows clear thinking
  • Keep calm under pressure
  • Provides proprioceptive feedback
  • Provides a “just right” level of sensory feedback
  • Relaxes the mind



Can you imagine a child with sensory processing issues or social emotional concerns who could not regulate their emotions on their own or step back and make the “right” response in situations because of their self-regulation needs?  Can you imagine if this was your child who had these needs and there was a simple DIY (and often times quite inexpensive) tool that could help? Why not explore all of the sensory bottles out there on the internet to find one that meets your child’s interests?  It’s a sensory bottle no-brainer!


Now that I’ve stepped off my soapbox, on to the glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle fun!


Glow in the Dark Chalk Sensory Bottle

We’ve been making a bunch of sensory bottles this year along with a team of bloggers.  Each month, we’ve had a specific theme in mind.  This month is all about Glow In The Dark.  How fun is that?  I don’t know a kid who doesn’t get excited about glow in the dark toys, shirts, or glow sticks, do you?


When I was trying to brainstorm materials to make our glow-in-the-dark sensory bottle, I remembered a set of glow in the dark chalk that I bought on clearance at the end of last summer.  After a quick glow-check, I was excited to find that the chalk still glowed after 6 months in a storage bin.  We used the chalk for a cool sensory bottle that could calm and regulate in the dark!


Materials you’ll need for a CHALK Glow in the Dark Sensory Bottle


Clear plastic bottle with lid

Green liquid dish soap
Warm water
Glow-in-the-dark chalk
Kitchen mallet
plastic baggie
3-4 Marbles
Silver Glitter and Star sparkles (optional)


Other glow in the dark materials that would work for a glowing sensory bottle:

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “7dfc8be9d7d3317bd607c29716c3a460”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “B00PY47LHW,B005E0CD0G,B00LF43E6C,B00KGQOHVQ”;


To make the calming sensory tool:

Place the chalk in a plastic baggie and use a kitchen mallet to pound the chalk.  Try to get it as fine as possible.  This is a GREAT proprioceptive workout for kids and a lot like our ice pounding activity, so get the kids involved in this step!

Glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle: how to make a sensory bottle and why sensory bottles are great for self-regulation needs.


Next, mix together the chalk dust, one cup of liquid dish soap, and one cup of warm water.


Drop in the marbles (You will definitely need the marbles to break up the chalk dust as it will settle in the bottle of the bottle.) A benefit of the marbles is that it adds weight to the bottle, making this an even more effective sensory tool.


Next, pinch in glitter and sparkles.


Glue on the lid and start shaking!


Glow in the dark chalk sensory bottle: how to make a sensory bottle and why sensory bottles are great for self-regulation needs.


Want to see more glow in the dark sensory bottles? Try some of these:


Glow in the Dark Ocean Bottle | Sunny Day Family


Other glow in the dark materials that would work for your calming sensory tool:

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “e07fd7c169d55b71a7dd9a01efcf2774”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “B008GX8HQW,B00E1P4BRS,B009SDUGLS,B00E83EGCI”;

Our favorite sensory bottle ideas: 

                            Valentines Day Sensory Bottle with Waterbeads



Functional Skills for Kids

As an Occupational Therapist, function is the number one goal for working with clients. Whether in the school, clinic, acute setting, or home, all goals of an Occupational Therapist revolve and are based on functional skills. 


One thing about occupational therapy professionals is that we love to be creative. I love to use my experience and knowledge to come up with creative ways to meet common goal areas. Take a look around this site and you will find everything from DIY pencil grips to a “egg-cellent” way to work on shoe tying.

Be sure to check out this massive shoe tying resource, too.

Whether there is a diagnosis or not, a developmental delay or not, or just an area of weakness or strength…Kids can build on their strengths to modify, adapt, and address goal areas with one thing in mind: Functional Independence.
 
This is a place to guide you to areas of functional skill with hopes to bring kids closer to confidence and independence.



This is the place where you will find all of activities designed to promote functional skills of kids. From handwriting to scissor skills, to dressing, and self-care:  click around to find a lot of ideas to build independence, adapt, accommodate, and modify functional skills.




Functional Skills for Kids and independence in kids for self-care tasks like dressing, feeding, clothing fasteners, and more.
 
This post contains affiliate links.

 

Functional Skills for Kids and Childhood Independence



Functional Skills for Kids series by Occupational Therapist and Physical Therapist bloggers


Handwriting Functional Skills


Scissor Skills


Self-Dressing Skills


Shoe Tying


Zippering


Buttoning


Toys to Help Kids Learn to Dress Themselves


Potty Training


Kids Cooking Tasks

Play


Self-Feeding

Functional Skills for Kids and independence in kids for self-care tasks like dressing, feeding, clothing fasteners, and more.

 

You’ll love these resources on helping kids thrive in all aspects of theri occupational performance:

the handwriting book The OT Toolbox
The Handwriting Book is a resource for meeting the needs of every individual when it comes to all aspects of handwriting.
The Toilet training Book, a developmental look at potty training from the OT and PT perspectives
The Toilet Training Book is a developmental look at potty training from the perspectives of occupational therapy and physical therapy practitioners.
scissor skills book
The Scissor Skills Book teaches all aspects of cutting with scissors, from form to function.

Teach Kids How to Slow Down to Cut on Lines With Scissors

If you’ve ever tried to teach kids how to cut with scissors, you may have ended up with a snipped finger or two.  Teaching kids how to cut on lines can be a tricky thing.  When children with attention or behavior difficulties are learning to cut with scissors, it can be quite difficult to hand over a pair of scissors when there may be a safety concern. 



Cutting with scissors can induce anxiety in the most calm of teachers, parents, and therapists when they turn over a pair of sharp scissors to a child with attention or behavioral concerns.  Today, I’m joining the Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists who make up the Functional Skills for Kids team in this month’s focus topic: Scissor Skills.  


You’ll find tons of scissor skills activities here.



Below, you’ll find tricks and tools to teach kids with attention or behavioral concerns how to slow down to cut on lines with scissors.  The tips in this post will enable children of all ages how to slow down and cut on the lines with scissors in order to complete classroom, art, and craft projects.  

How to teach kids how to slow down and cut on the lines with modifications and accommodations for sensory, visual, fine motor, difficulties due to behavioral and attention problems.

Attention, Behavior, and Cutting with Scissors

Scissor use and accuracy has a lot to do with visual perceptual skills. You’ll find easy and fun ways to work on visual perceptual skills through play here. 

The attentive process helps us determine which sensations (cutting through a piece of paper) are relevant to an individual.  Attention allows us to process information in order to complete functional tasks. When we attend to a task such as cutting on a line through the whole shape, we make a decision to pay attention and this effort and concentration allows us to process the task and make adjustments to the task at hand and to future processing of information.


RELATED READ: Simple Trick to Help Kids Turn the Paper When Cutting With Scissors


By deciding what to pay attention to, a person decides what information is transferred from sensory input and sensory memories into meaningful information that is stored for future use. 


Likewise, children who are not able to make decisions about behavior or attention levels due to sensory or physical difficulties will have trouble attending to the line, paper, scissor position, or seating position.  


Attention requires an ability to respond to priority information while disregarding and inhibiting simultaneous sensory input.  This concept of attentional ability coincides with an individual’s cognitive, sensory, and physical abilities. 


How to Teach Kids to Cut on the Lines With Scissors



This post contains affiliate links. 


Children are able to learn to hold and snip with scissors at an early age. Around two years old is a great time to hand over a pair of safety scissors.  However, children with decreased attention or behavioral difficulties can affect that optimal age of introducing scissor activities. 


How to teach kids how to slow down and cut on the lines with modifications and accommodations for sensory, visual, fine motor, difficulties due to behavioral and attention problems.



Attention needs for using scissors

When kids use scissors, they need many skills in order to hold and use scissors appropriately.  There is a safety concern as well, and attention has a lot to do with accuracy and ability to adequately use a pair of scissors to cut lines or shapes:


Visual Attention needed for cutting with scissors– The ability to attend to a line while focusing on cutting along the line with the hands moving in the appropriate way to open and close the scissors and manipulate the paper requires visual attention and visual motor integration skills.
hold the paper, and remember to open and close the scissor blades allow a child to cut a line that makes up a shape.  


Bilateral hand use needed for cutting with scissors– A child who can not adequately use both hands together in a coordinated manner while each hand performs a different task will have trouble holding paper with their non-dominant hand as they manipulate a pair of scissors. 


Visual Motor Integration needed for cutting with scissors– Visual Motor Integration allows the hands and eyes to work together in an effective way.  Efficient coordination of the vision system and the motor system requires both of these parts to work well and to work well together.  The visual system requires all aspects of visual perception to work well and the motor system requires positioning, strength, dexterity, and manipulation to work in coordination. If one of these parts is not functioning effectively, a child might exhibit difficulty managing paper, scissors, or body/scissor positioning in coordination with the visual stimuli of lines, shapes, and cutting tasks.


Oculomotor Control needed for cutting with scissors– When we move our eyes to look at items in our field of vision, we use the muscles surrounding the eyes in order to rotate, look up, down, left, and right.  If there is a problem with development or use of these muscles, a person will exhibit poor control of eye movements.  This problem will result in poor visual tracking skills.  This leads to trouble with following scissors as they cut through paper, difficulty maintaining contact with a line, and difficulty with moving the eyes over the mid-line of the paper.  An individual with poor oculomotor control may also show difficulty with convergence as they attempt to focus on scissors and paper close together in the mid-line area at a near distance.  Cutting with scissors requires an individual to look down and toward the middle as their eyes rotate inward. A child with oculomotor control will exhibit attention difficulties, poor visual attention, inaccurate eye-hand coordination, poor visual tracking, and loss of place while cutting with scissors.


Auditory Processing needed for cutting with scissors– A child with auditory proessing disorder might shoe difficulty when cutting with scissors when given verbal prompts or directions.  They might mishear information due to an inability to disregard background noise.  This might lead to inattention during scissor tasks.


Visual Attention needed for cutting with scissors– Paying attention to the task at hand in front of a child can be difficult if that individual has difficulty focusing on the paper, scissors, and the lines while discerning important visual sensory input and disregarding background or peripheral information. 


Intact kinsthetic, tactile, visual, proprioceptive sensory systems needed for cutting with scissors– Integration of these sensory systems and the ability to process sensory input appropriately enable a person to use scissors while attending to input.  Kids who are seeking proprioceptive sensory input may exhibit 


When attention or behavior difficulties occur, a child may present in many ways while cutting with scissors:

These problem areas will interefere with cutting on lines.

  • Impulsive, cutting very quickly
  • Cutting with disregard for the lines
  • Cutting and omitting the corners and curves of shapes
  • Cutting with choppy cuts
  • Tearing the paper
  • Cutting and tearing the paper as a result of frustration
  • Cutting or snipping a helping parent, teacher, or therapist
  • Demonstrating visual distraction (paying attention to visual distractions in the classroom or home environment)
  • Demonstrating auditory distraction (paying attention to auditory sensory input from the classroom or home environment)
  • Cutting alongside the line or crossing over the line as a result of difficulty focusing on the scissors position or cutting lines due to difficulty with oculomotor control
  • Difficulty maintaining scissor position
  • Difficulty holding and manipulating the paper with the assisting hand
  • Inappropriate seating position as a result of sensory needs 
  • Difficulty stopping when cutting into a piece of paper to cut a fringe
  • Difficulty grading the opening and shutting of the scissor blades
Related Read: Use this scented scissor skills activity to help kids learn graded scissor use in a fun way! 
How to teach kids how to slow down and cut on the lines with modifications and accommodations for sensory, visual, fine motor, difficulties due to behavioral and attention problems.

How can a child with attentional or behavioral difficulties overcome deficits to complete a scissor activity given modifications or adjustments? There are many accommodations that can be made to meet the needs of these individuals to prevent impulsivity, choppy snips, and torn paper.


How to teach kids how to slow down and cut on the lines with modifications and accommodations for sensory, visual, fine motor, difficulties due to behavioral and attention problems.

Accommodations and Modifications to Help Kids Cut on the Lines

Try these tips to teach kids to cut on lines.  These strategies will help children with attention or behavior problems, or other underlying difficulties.  These are also great tips and tools to help typically developing children learn to cut on lines when cutting shapes.
  1. Use bright paper with dark lines for a high contrast cutting line to help with poor oculomotor control  and visual distractions.
  2. Make lines bolder using a thick black marker.
  3. Spring action scissors to help children with difficulty attending to graded scissor motions or attention to opening and closing the scissor blades. This pair is great for kids.
  4. Verbal cues to slow cutting speed
  5. Provide concise and concrete directions.
  6. Visual cues: Darkened lines, thick and bold cutting lines, stickers to show where to stop and turn the paper, stickers to follow when cutting and turning the paper. Read more about this trick here.
  7. Provide a small movement break between tasks.
  8. Hand over hand physical cues. These training scissors are a great way to practice with hand-over-hand assistance.
  9. Reduce visual distractions: Provide a quiet space for scissor work, use desk dividers, reduce classroom decorations or distracting stimuli, and clear desk or table surface from all items. Find more information on attention in the classroom and home environments here.
  10. place desk away from windows, doors, and the pencil sharpener.
  11. Reduce auditory stimulation. Provide headphones or position desk away from noisy centers of the room.
  12. Develop active listening skills and direction following through eye contact and and upright body position.
  13. Try a stability cushion
  14. Provide thicker paper for increased resistance an more tactile and proprioceptive feedback while cutting. More resistive materials include oaktag, index cards, construction paper, and paper bags.
  15. Try gluing worksheets and cutting pages to thicker paper like cardstock.
  16. Trial graded and physical, verbal, and auditory prompts.
  17. Ensure the cutting task is purposeful and meaningful in order to maintain motivation.
  18. For the child with oculomotor convergence insufficiency, try holding the paper up higher or using a bold cutting line.

The Scissor Skills Book 

Affiliate links are included in this post. 


Ten Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists have gotten together to write The Scissor Skills Book.  It’s a book with resources for every underlying area needed for scissor use.  It’s got tons of motor activities to address the areas needed for scissor skills.  There are pages and pages of accommodations and creative ways to work on scissor use.  This e-book is a giant resource for anyone who works with kids on cutting with scissors!

The therapists behind the Functional Skills for Kids series include a team of 10 pediatric physical and occupational therapists with years of experience in the field.  Together, we have created the ultimate resource for tips, strategies, suggestions, and information to support scissor skill development in children.  Read more about The Scissor Skills Book here


The Scissor Skills Book is a resource for working on using scissors with kids
The launch week discount lasts from May 1- May 8. Get The Scissor Skills Book on sale now!

The Scissor Skills Book is an 81 page PDF document that is delivered electronically.  The book includes the following chapters:
Chapter 1: Developmental Progression of Scissor Skills
Chapter 2: Teaching Your Child to Use Scissors
Chapter 3: Gross Motor and Scissor Skills
Chapter 4: Fine Motor and Scissor Skills
Chapter 5: Visual Perceptual and Scissor Skills
Chapter 6: Sensory Processing and Scissor Skills
Chapter 7: Attention Challenges and Scissor Skills
Chapter 8: Helping Kids who Struggle with Scissor Skills
Chapter 9: Creative Ways to Practice Scissor Skills with Kids
Resources for Typical and Adaptive Scissors, Cutting Materials, and Further Information
References

Get your copy of The Scissor Skills Book!



How to teach kids how to slow down and cut on the lines with modifications and accommodations for sensory, visual, fine motor, difficulties due to behavioral and attention problems.

Looking for more scissor activities? Try these scissor skills activities:


Use stickers to help with scissor skills



Scissor Skills Crash Course


Creative Scissor Skills Activities

Easy Scissor Skills Practice Idea

Scissor Skills Activities for Kids

Scissor Skills gift guide

Improving Scissor Skills with Play Dough

scissor-skills-kids











Resources: Zoltan, B. Vision, Perception, and Cognition: A Manual for the Evaluation and Treatment of the Neurologically Impaired Adult. Thorofare, New Jersey, Slack Inc.;1996.

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “b6d06327f8e31e9590e2539b55012be5”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “B005NAGIG2,B0006OKGYU,B00005BZRZ,B003U6P2T0,B00Y7MRG4A,B00T5KQQBI,B0020MLI4S,B0002TMXAY”;



The Scissor Skills Book for teaching kids to cut with scissors


Powerful Ways to Boost Childhood Development with Action Rhymes

Kids love finger plays and action rhymes.  You know the ones, right?  Those movement and rhyme phrases and songs that fill every childhood, preschool classroom, and library story time are a classic  part of childhood. 


But, did you know that action rhymes help with childhood development? Childhood development and action rhymes go hand-in-hand so to speak.  Kids learn and grow by moving and repeating and then independently saying and singing rhymes that many kids could sing along to.  What are some ways that childhood development and action rhymes help a child grow?





Use these creative and powerful ideas to boost and build childhood development with action rhymes and finger plays with toddler and preschool kids in the classroom, home, or Occupational Therapy clinic.




This post contains affiliate links.




Looking for brain break videos for the classroom or home? Here are the best brain break videos on YouTube.

What are action rhymes?

Action rhymes are movement songs or nursery rhymes with movement.  They might be gross motor activities like “I’m a Little Teapot” or “Duck, Duck, Goose”. Or, they might be a fine motor activity like “Eensy Weensy Spider” or “Where is Thumbkin”.  There are so many action rhymes out there that preschool classrooms are using or even making up to suit their needs, but one thing is common with all action rhymes: They have sing-song phrases and involve movement.  


Action Rhymes for Kids

Fine Motor Action Rhymes:
Where is Thumbkin?
Creep Them, Creep Them
Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee
5 in the Bed
Eensy Weensy Spider


Gross Motor Action Rhymes:
Wheels on the Bus
I’m a Little Teapot
Duck, Duck, Goose
Farmer in the Dell
If You’re Happy and You Know It
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed




amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “397f6ecd42101bdd42926ec216fe9860”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “B00QY8FTJE,B000Q6ORA2,1416976442,1590604628”;

How to use action rhymes to build childhood development?
Action rhymes and finger plays are perfect for the 18-24 month age range and the preschool years when so much development is occurring.  Consider all the ways a toddler or preschooler are developing: fine and gross motor skills, language, cognitive, social-emotional…these years are full of natural progression with development going through the roof!


Childhood Development and Action Rhymes

There are so many ways that action rhymes help to build childhood development in a healthy way:
  • Fine Motor Skills– Use the fingers and hands to build dexterity, eye-hand coordination, and finger isolation through movement. Encourage kids to follow along with the fine motor action rhymes listed above to improve dexterity and fine motor control.
  • Gross Motor Skills– Using the trunk, legs, and shoulders builds strength in the limbs and core muscle strength needed for attention and focus. Read more developing core strength through movement rhymes here.
  • Social/Emotional Development– Striving for independence, asserting ones independence, engaging with peers, and an emerging awareness of ones own body and a sense of awareness of others is developing and growing in the toddler and preschool years.  Action rhymes in a group setting promote all of these areas. Encourage kids to connect with other children and adults by pairing up kids to perform action rhymes in small groups of kids.
  • Speech and Language Development– The toddler and preschool age sets are flourishing in language skills.  There is a huge opportunity for developing and building skills through repetitive action rhymes.  Children can be encouraged to develop these skills when encouraged to participate in verbal exchanges.  Further promote communication skills by asking questions about the rhymes.
  • Spatial Concepts– Important for awareness of ones self and position in space, as well as in visual motor integration tasks like handwriting, action rhymes allow children to explore position in space through movement. Encourage development and understanding of front/back, over/under, top/bottom, etc. Try this action rhyme trick: when a spatial term is mentioned in an action rhyme, try pointing in the direction instead of saying the words or phrases.
  • Attention Span– Action rhymes allow kids to focus for a period of time on a teacher as well as peers individual and group action rhyme activities. Encourage longer attention by increasing time spent singing action rhymes. Lead into a group activity with action rhymes or use them as a tool to take a break during seated tasks or classroom activities that require focus and attention. 
  • Cognitive Development– Using action rhymes, children are introduced to concepts such as numbers, colors, shapes, sizes, names, letters, and more. Concrete concepts of the toddler and preschool years can be enhanced to more abstract ideas through cognitive development using sensori-motor components of action rhymes.  Movement and learning are very well connected and action rhymes add a sing-song rhyming component as well. Additionally, concepts such as patterning, sequencing, and cause-effect are addressed through action rhymes.
  • Self-Concept– Action rhymes provide an opportunity to learn about body parts. Encourage kids to learn about their body parts with action rhymes like, “If You’re Happy and You Know It”
  • Behavior Development– Action rhymes promote movement and an appropriate opportunity for students to get wiggles and fidgets out in a classroom setting.  Following the rhyme actions, kids can discover how they can move their body in purposeful ways.
Use these creative and powerful ideas to boost and build childhood development with action rhymes and finger plays with toddler and preschool kids in the classroom, home, or Occupational Therapy clinic.
What are some favorite action rhymes in your classroom, home, or clinic?

amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “397f6ecd42101bdd42926ec216fe9860”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “0876591640,B002RI8GNQ,1846864739,0688108059”;

More movement and development ideas you will love: 

Place Value Math with Bean Bags

Remember these ice cream cones?  We shared how to make them not very long ago.  Besides being very cute and super easy to make, they are a learning tool, too.  We used them in a creative summer activity to practice some second grade math skills, specifically adding place value to two and three digit numbers.


Ice Cream Cone bean bags for working on place value and adding tens and hundreds with mental math, perfect for second grade math skills.

Place Value Math with Bean Bags 

Make your bean bags.

Grab a few pieces of paper and cut out circles.  On them, write +10, -10, +100, and -100.  

Next, spread the circles out on the floor.  Position the kiddos around the circles and tell them that they are about to have some math fun, ice cream style! 

You’ll want to tell the kids a number.  It might be a single, double, or triple digit number.  Then, kids can toss the bean bags onto the circles.  When the bean bag hits a circle, they need to either add 10 or 100 to their number or subtract 10 or 100 from their number.  This is a fun way tp practice place value and mental math of tens and hundreds place with two or three digit numbers.

There are infinite number of ways you could play this with an ice cream cone theme to work on math skills.  

Ice Cream Cone bean bags for working on place value and adding tens and hundreds with mental math, perfect for second grade math skills.
  • Add single or double numbers by writing different numbers on the circles.
  • Each color of the ice cream cones indicates a different number.  Kids can add together numbers based on the color that hits a target.
  • Add near doubles with the bean bags.
  • Add 100’s up to 1,000.

How would you use these ice cream cone bean bags in playful math?



More hands-on math activities you will love:
Make a paper door to introduce concepts in first grade math like regrouping in addition. 


                                           How to Add with Regrouping

Ice Cream Bean Bag Tutorial

These ice cream bean bags are the perfect way to sneak in a little proprioceptive input this summer with an ice cream theme.  We’ve shared the proprioception benefits of bean bags before and this summer activity is great for kids craving heavy work input of needing a bit of upper extremity strengthening.


Today, I’m sharing how to make these ice cream cone bean bags with an ice cream bean bag tutorial.  It’s super simple, (I promise!) and requires zero measuring of fabric.  Use these bean bags in learning and play while having fun with an ice cream cone theme!


This post contains affiliate links.

Ice cream cone bean bag tutorial

Ice Cream Cone Bean Bag Tutorial



These ice cream cone bean bags are truly easy to make.  I actually have had them in the house for a few years.  They made their debut in our Candy Land party from a couple of years back and recently have been used as a fun proprioception activity with a learning twist.

Easy ice cream cone bean bag idea for proprioception and sensory play for kids.


How to Make Ice Cream Cone Bean Bags:



You’ll need fabric in different colors.  We used fleece in brown, pink, blue, yellow, and green.  Any fabric or felt would work well, I just used fleece because that’s what we had in the house.  To make the ice cream cones, start snipping fabric.  


Here’s the best part of these cones: There is NO need to measure.  If you want totally perfect and uniform ice cream cone bean bags, then go ahead and create a cardboard template before cutting the fabric.  I went with easy and therefore ended up with random sizes and crooked cones.  And, those wacky ice cream cones were still fun to play with!


Cut the fabric into triangles and semi-circles.


Next, you’ll need a sewing machine that is hooked up with thread.  Being the “sewing mama” that I am (sarcasm noted?) I have stitches that are wonky, over stitched, under-stitched, and completely unprofessional.  These bean bags are still fun to play with!


Sew the strait part of the semi-circle to the triangle.  Do this with all of the triangles and semi-circles.


Sew the triangles together and most of the semi-circles, leaving a small opening at the top to add the filler.


Add bean bag filler.  You might want to try dry beans, dry split peas, field corn, or plastic pellets. Use a funnel to add the filler to the opening you’ve created.  

When the bean bags are full, stitch the hole closed.



Sewing tips from a total sewing novice:

  • Take your time, or speedy sew like I do and get the job done as fast as possible.  Both methods work.
  • Use the zig zag stitch to keep the filler in place.
  • Be prepared to crazy-looking ice cream cone bean bags, but ones that are totally fun to play with.
Easy ice cream cone bean bag idea for proprioception and sensory play for kids.

Ice Cream Cone Bean Bag Proprioception Activity

Throwing bean bags is a great way to add in heavy work to the upper body.  Read more about that here.
Find a large bowl and toss the bean bags from near, far, seated on the floor, sitting up on a chair.  Drop them from a step stool, or toss them across the room.  There are so many ways you could play with these ice cream cone bean bags while adding in proprioception to the play!

Easy ice cream cone bean bag idea for proprioception and sensory play for kids.
Why not try a learning activity with the ice cream cones?  You’ll find out how we did that very soon!


Looking for more ice cream cone themed activities for kids?  Try these:

ice cream learning and play activities for kids


FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:
Ice Cream Skip Counting Puzzles // The STEM Laboratory
Ice Cream Felt Busy Box // Teach Me Mommy
ABC Ice Cream Matching Busy Bag // Coffee Cups and Crayons
Ice Cream Sundae Money Addition // Liz’s Early Learning Spot
Write and Wipe Addition Cards // Playdough to Plato
Ice Cream Ten Frame Number Match // The Kindergarten Connection
Ice Cream Cup and Ball Game // Adventures of Adam
Ice Cream Pattern Cards // Simply Learning
Ice Cream Money Matching Game // The Simplified Classroom
Ice Cream Digraph Sort // The Letters of Literacy
Ice Cream Scoop and Balance Game // Play & Learn Everyday


amzn_assoc_placement = “adunit0”;
amzn_assoc_search_bar = “true”;
amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “sugaun-20”;
amzn_assoc_ad_mode = “manual”;
amzn_assoc_ad_type = “smart”;
amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”;
amzn_assoc_region = “US”;
amzn_assoc_title = “My Amazon Picks”;
amzn_assoc_linkid = “08a73e8ca39062583fd8c85d2bf115cf”;
amzn_assoc_asins = “B019RIWEEK,B00KC0E9TG,B00AKICQSG,B000JQM1DE”;