Hi! Today I want to share with you some fun cutting activities you can do in your classroom or with your children at home to celebrate spring. 🌼This resource has various levels of difficult so you can use it with different children or with your own child over time. It’s so important to remember that learning is a marathon not a sprint. We are all at different journeys, and our children and students will develop skills at their own pace. When we support our students and children with their fine motor skills, we make “life” easier for them. They’re able to create arts and crafts, participate in household chores, and participate in classroom activities.
I created these fun spring themed cutting activities to support your classroom instruction, or provide you with education activities to do at home! I try to keep the teacher AND family in mind while I write. That means I share tips for using my resources in your classroom, and at home with your own children. This post contains affiliate links. That means I receive a small stipend when you purchase through my link. This is at no cost to you, and I use the profits to keep this blog up and running.
What Are Fine Motor Skills?
When we are doing fine motor tasks, we are using the muscles in our hands, fingers and wrists. As children strengthen these muscles, they’ll be able to do more precise tasks. We use these muscles all day long, while we do academic and non academic tasks. In my adult life, I use fine motor skills to get dressed, cook, type, scroll my phone, and drive.
For many children, they don’t need any extra “support” with their fine motor skills. They naturally progress from grasping a rattle, to holding a bottle, eating with a spoon, and then holding a crayon. Others might need more direct teaching and instruction. Preschoolers and school-age children who are struggling with their fine motor skills might need support in the classroom, or they might receive occupational therapy to strengthen those muscles. I often think of the Maria Montessori quote, “Never help a child with a task at which he thinks he can succeed.” There are so many opportunities for fine motor practice throughout our days at home and school, and the more opportunities we offer, the more likely they are to be successful.
Why Cutting Practice?
Cutting is a foundational skill that children will use frequently at school, and at home. Using scissors requires finger muscles, hand muscles, and bilateral coordination. In most cases, we have to hold an item in one hand and hold scissors in the other. This skill is particularly challenging for children with developmental delays, Autism, or low muscle tone. However, all children can benefit from additional practice. Most experts agree scissor skills should be present by age 6, but there are plenty of children who still need support long after this.
I’ve created this packet so that you can offer cutting practice no matter how developed their skills are. For children who have strong scissor skills, they can cut irregular shapes. For children who are still beginning to develop their skills, they can work on snipping and then straight lines.
Did you know that cutting cardstock is easier than paper? The thicker the “paper,” the easier it is to hold it straight while cutting. If your student needs extra support, I definitely recommend printing these activities on heavy cardstock.
Spring Cutting Activities
All of these activities can be completed with any type of scissor! Ideally, you can use the same activity for multiple students who are at different levels of skill. If you’re a parent, you can use the easier version this year, and the more challenging versions next year as they progress! Each of these activities can be found in my Spring Cutting Activities resource.
Snipping is a very simple scissor skill that’s great for bilateral coordination. Students hold one of the small strips and just make quick little “snips” on the dotted lines. I created this fun craft for them to snip raindrops, or I made several snipping strips with spring clipart for them to color.
This activity is a little more challenging, but still uses basic straight cuts. Many academic activities will need students to “stop” cutting before they reach a certain spot. This is a great way to practice that skill! You can precut the animals to hide in the grass, or let them practice making straight cuts and cutting squares.
Square and Rectangle Cuts
When they have mastered straight “line” cuts, you can work on squares and rectangles. Teach them to turn the page so they are just making straight cuts over and over again. My resource has several different activities for making straight cuts. Most of these activities have another option with curved or irregular shapes so that you can have one activity at various levels of difficulty.
Zigzag lines are more challenging that straight cuts, and these lightning bolts are a fun way to practice cutting zigzags! Teach them to rotate the paper so they can cut straight lines.
Curves are more challenging to cut than straight, but you can teach them to move the paper slowly and let the scissors “glide” as they move the paper. I like to start with these crafts, because they have a lot of “room” to practice the curve cut.
Finally, you can start providing practice opportunities with round cuts and circles. I love these two activities because they mix circles, ovals, and irregular round shapes for cutting.
All Irregular Shapes
After lots and lots of practice with snipping, straight cuts, and round cuts, you can introduce all of the shapes. I LOVE cutting strips, because they are so easy to prep (make a lot of copies and put them in a bin for when you need a quick activity). I also encourage you to let your students draw their own shapes and cut them out. I love this little bug activity, because they can cut whatever shapes they want out.