Cutting with scissors is a developmentally appropriate skill for preschool aged children. Making hand puppets out of paper and various craft supplies is one way to provide your preschooler with the opportunity to develop cutting skills. Puppet making is a creative way to supervise your preschooler's use of scissors and to teach him how to handle scissors safely.
1. Paper Bag Puppets
Paper bag puppets are a popular preschool craft because the fold of the paper bag creates a movable mouth when your child inserts his hand inside the bag. Lay a flat paper lunch bag on a flat surface with the folded bottom facing your child. Help your child cut eyes, nose, mouth, arms and legs from construction paper and glue them to the paper bag. The eyes and mouth should be glued to what would be the bottom of the bag if it was unfolded. The arms and legs can be glued to front side of the bag itself.
2. Paper Plate Puppets
Paper plates can be used to make bug puppets or face puppets. Help your preschooler staple two paper plates together with the tops of the plates facing each other. Staple the plates along the edges, only placing staples three-fourths of the way around the plate. Cut the edges off the part of the plates that did not get staples. This forms the spot where your hand goes. Allow your preschooler to cut yarn, construction paper and pipe cleaners to glue onto the puppet. Your preschooler can add legs, eyes, hair and arms.
3. Assisting With Cutting
Some preschoolers will need help using scissors. Preschoolers may get frustrated if they have trouble holding and manipulating the scissors or if they cannot seem to get the scissors to cut through paper. Choose scissors with a blunt edge but still sharp enough to cut construction paper. Model the way to hold scissors and explain what you are doing as you show your child how to cut. Point out that you are using your thumb and two fingers to open and close the blades. Some children may benefit from hand over hand guidance as they cut or the use of special scissors that have two sets of holes, one for the child's fingers and one for the adult's fingers to help guide the scissors.
4. Supervised Cutting
Preschoolers who are able to manipulate scissors will want to practice cutting independently. Allow your preschooler to snip shapes of paper and bits of string for his puppets as you supervise. As your child become more adept at cutting, you may want to offer him paper templates so he can cut along the dotted lines to form the pieces for his puppet.
- Scissors image by Jim Mills from Fotolia.com