I have used the “cutting pool” when teaching both kindergarten and preschool. It’s a fun way for the kiddos to practice fine motor control with scissors. The students get so much out of such a seemingly simple activity! This is something I occasionally include in my center time, more so during the first few months of school.
The setup is pretty simple — inflate a kiddie pool (or use a hard-sided pool), place scissors and paper nearby, and explain the rules to the children. For me, the rules for the cutting pool are as follows:
- Unless told otherwise, all cutting needs to be done in or over the cutting pool.
- Scissors can only be used to cut paper.
- When done, make sure all scrap paper is inside the cutting pool and scissors are put away.
I include both blank paper and paper with designs for the children to cut. The designs I include are usually curvy, straight, and zigzag lines. Sometimes I draw specific shapes, based on monthly holidays/themes or student request. The designs and shapes are just guidelines. The children can cut along the lines or just randomly clip the paper. As the year progresses, many students begin drawing and cutting their own shapes. I love watching them move from stilted scissor use to a more confident approach!
Students really like the novelty involved in the cutting pool. I think it’s having a pool in the classroom and sitting in a pool fully dressed that intrigues them. For me, it’s something very easy to setup and east to cleanup. Yes, there’s always a chance the pool will get cut and deflate, but I haven’t had that happen much. I used a cheap pool for over 3 years before I had to get it replaced. This is just one of those activities that is very basic, but the kids have a chance to practice important skills in an easy and fun manner.
How do you help children practice their cutting skills?