Today we are talking all about the very best toys to improve scissor skills. When kids are learning to cut with scissors, developing scissor skills precision through actual use of scissors to cut various grades of paper is the primary goal and means. But, did you consider different toys that support scissor skill development? These occupational therapy toys specifically develop the skills needed to snip paper, cut, and manipulate scissors to cut!
Scissor Skills Toys
When working as an Occupational Therapist in the schools, one of my favorite skills to work on with kids was scissor skills. I loved working on the fine motor strength to open and shut scissors repeatedly in order to cut a shape with endurance, the eye-hand coordination needed in order to manage the scissors along lines, and the bilateral hand coordination needed to manage the paper and the scissors.
There are a lot of little steps needed for each of these components of cutting a shape. A child can become very frustrated with the task of cutting with scissors if just one of these areas are difficult. I love that many scissor tasks can be graded according to skill, age, or ability when it comes to snipping. And I love doing activities with my kids to work on hand strength needed for using scissors or working on visual motor skills needed for cutting shapes with scissors.
When it’s time to look for toys or holidays or birthdays, sometimes parents want a gift that is purposeful for independence or developmental skills like toys to help kids with getting dressed or toys to help with pencil grasp. This one is all about our favorite toys to help with Scissor Skills!
The scissor skills toys listed below will support development of scissor use no matter what type of scissors are used; The recommended toys for scissor use support development of the underlying skills needed for scissor use.
Toys to Help Kids work on Scissor Skills:
Scissor sets can help kids work on the developmentally appropriate levels of using scissors: snipping, cutting strait lines, then curved lines and angled lines. Finally simple shapes and complex shapes are covered as the child works their way through the books.
Affiliate links are included below.
Ready, Set, Cut! from Alex Toys for scissor practice on curved and spiraled lines to create eight crafts.
Preschool Practice Scissor Skills book for ages 3-5 with 32 pages of scissor readiness skills for kids.
The Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Pad with 20 pages of scissor skill mazes, activities, and art. This book includes a pair of scissors.
Hand strength for scissor tasks
Toys that develop hand strength, separation of the sides of the hand, and the endurance needed to manipulate scissors in order to cut through paper can be developed with the use of fun with scoop toys and tong toys:
Learning Resources Handy Scoopers are beyond cool for scissor readiness and strengthening. These scooping tools are great for using the muscles of the hands needed in scissor motions. The opening and closing motions needed for scissor manipulation can be tiring for some children. Practice scooping up crafting poms, cotton balls, tiny erasers, water beads, play dough, and more with these fun tools.
We used bunny tongs in scissor play to work on hand strength. These bunny tongs aren’t on Amazon right now, but we did find other egg tongs that will work on hand strength. You can also use play dough to improve scissor skills.
Something really neat are these dough scissors for cutting clay and play dough. These are great for strengthening the muscles of the hands.
Tong Toys to work on Eye Hand Coordination
Cutting with scissors requires precision in eye hand coordination skills. The ability to open and close scissors is a coordinated skill. This is one that develops through practice. These tong games are great for developing hand-eye coordination in scissor skill work:
How cute is this Barbecue Party Game that comes with barbeque tongs (great for grasping play!)
Equally as cute and equally great for hand endurance is the PlayMonster Stacktopus which requires repetitive open/shut motions of the hand using octopus tentacles that slip onto the fingers and thumb. These open/shut motions mirror tongs or that of the movement of scissors…and it’s a great pre-curser for scissor skills!
Jumbo sized Tongs would make a great stocking stuffer and are big time fun for grasping erasers, crafting poms, dice, and small items of all kinds.
Fun Scissors Gift Ideas for Kids:
These would be fun stocking stuffer ideas while using tools and toys for scissor skills!
Zig Zag Cool Cuts scissors from Alex Toys cut zig zags and wavy edges. These scissors make snipping fun. A fun blade can make scissor practice fun for kids of all ages. Throw this together with a pack of colored paper for an easy gift idea.
Cardstock is thicker and can provide more resistance for new scissor users. This increased resistance will slow snipping paper speed and allow for more accuracy when cutting lines of shapes.
Loop scissors are great for children with weakness in extending the thumb, or coordination difficulties. The loop of the scissors opens automatically and the ease of opening the blades can allow for improved line awareness in cutting if the child does not need to focus on the physical task of opening and closing the scissor blades.
Spring Assist scissors are great for a child with hand weakness or fine motor difficulties. The blades open with a spring assist and are great for beginner scissor users.
My First Scissors don’t have loops for little fingers to manage. These snips are great for small children to use in the whole palm. There is a spring mechanism to open the blades.
Ways to work on scissor skill line accuracy:
These materials make great gifts and are tools to help kids with scissor skill accuracy when cutting lines and shapes. Each material offers different textures or grades of resistance. Add some of these toy ideas to a gift bag for a child working on scissor skills through play.
Sometimes a child can manage the hand strength, and visual motor skills needed to manage scissors (open and shut with controlled movements) and hold the paper with an assisting hand while holding the scissors with an appropriate grasp. The difficulty lies in their visual motor skills.
Eye-hand coordination difficulties can make cutting along a line difficult. Slower snipping with the scissors will allow for improved accuracy. Providing a child with thicker paper can make cutting accuracy easier as increased resistance allows for slower snips.
We love practicing cutting skills with foam crafting sheets for line awareness. Foam crafting sheets make a great stocking stuffer. Going down the line of greatest to least resistance in scissor skills (and making scissor accuracy more difficult) would be cardstock, then construction paper, printer paper, then thinner paper or materials like tissue paper.
bilateral hand coordination for scissor skills
We’ve covered specific toys for bilateral coordination skills in the past and those toys would be great for kids that need to improve scissor skills. When working to use both hands together in a coordinated manner to hold the paper with one hand and manage scissors with the other, bilateral integration is a must.
Bilateral hand coordination is needed to hold the paper (and rotate the page when curves and angles are happening) and to manage the scissors with the dominant hand. These nuts and bolts are a fun way to work on bilateral hand coordination and strength of the hand.
Have fun shopping for fun scissor games and activities for your little one!
Check out these other great occupational therapy toy ideas:
- Fine Motor Toys
- Gross Motor Toys
- Pencil Grasp Toys
- Toys for Reluctant Writers
- Toys for Spatial Awareness
- Toys for Visual Tracking
- Toys for Sensory Play
- Bilateral Coordination Toys
- Games for Executive Functioning Skills
- Toys and Tools to Improve Visual Perception
- Toys to Help with Scissors Skills
- Toys for Attention and Focus
Printable List of Toys for SCISSOR SKILLS
Want a printable copy of our therapist-recommended toys to support scissor skills?
As therapy professionals, we LOVE to recommend therapy toys that build skills! This toy list is done for you so you don’t need to recreate the wheel.
Your therapy caseload will love these SCISSOR SKILLS toy recommendations. (There’s space on this handout for you to write in your own toy suggestions, to meet the client’s individual needs, too!)
Enter your email address into the form below. The OT Toolbox Member’s Club Members can access this handout inside the dashboard, under Educational Handouts. Just be sure to log into your account, first!
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to email@example.com.