Scissor cutting is an important skill for preschoolers to master before entering kindergarten, which means they need lots of practice in preschool. See how this free Christmas scissor cutting printable turns into a colorful Christmas craft while offering extra prewriting practice, too! This is a great option for preschool and kindergarten students that might need extra practice as they start out the year.
FREE Christmas Preschool Cutting Pages With Craft
It happened one day.
After 15 years of teaching, it finally happened to me. (Erh…to a student).
I thought I was one of the exclusive few. Something so common had never, ever happened in my own classroom.
And then, I realized I’m not special; I’m just like every other preschool teacher or parent.
A child in my class used the scissors I offered him during an art project to cut his hair.
Luckily, it was my own child and not another student, but I was still dismayed. And my son just looked at me so innocently and said, “But I like cutting, Mama.”
Of course he does! Because, like anything else that’s offered only with strict supervision, children have a strong interest in using scissors and cutting things.
When I remind myself of how we as teachers and parents sometimes limit the use of scissors, I also remember that it makes it that much more important that I offer loads of scissor cutting opportunities in my preschool class.
I can’t even tell you how many times at parent-teacher conferences, when we’re reviewing the section on scissor safety and use, that parents will tell me, “Oh no! I NEVER allow ___ to use scissors. He cuts everything in sight!”
So, when my own son chopped a chunk of his silky blonde hair right off the top of his head, I knew I wasn’t allowing enough scissor practice.
That’s not to say that if you offer ample cutting practice that your child will never cut his (or someone else’s) hair, but I think it does help when scissors aren’t such a novelty. And if they’re not such a novelty, then perhaps children won’t feel the need to cut everything they can get their hands on.
That being said, I try to offer my preschoolers some sort of directed cutting practice at least once a week during our two-day preschool program. That’s 50% of the days they attend preschool.
So, I came up with these Christmas scissors cutting strips. They offer more than just cutting practice; they begin as a color page and then turn into a Christmas craft. (And there’s some measurement in there, too!)
FAQ About Teaching Scissor Cutting to Preschoolers
Scissor cutting skills falls under the umbrella of developing fine motor skills. Specifically, here is a list of skills needed for children to be able to cut with scissors:
~ finger strength
~ hand strength
~ independent finger movement
~ functional grasp
~ bilateral coordination
~ hand eye coordination
Cutting with scissors is one of the more difficult skills preschoolers need before entering kindergarten. To help your preschoolers develop scissor skills, keep these things in mind.
Ensure that your preschooler has her fingers through the right scissor holes. Keep the thumb upright and the elbow in close to the body. This will ensure your preschooler is cutting away from their body. Encourage your preschooler to hold the paper up off the table, using their other hand.
And finally, provide ample opportunity for your preschooler to practice cutting with scissors! For more tips and tricks, see my Ultimate Guide for Teaching Scissor Cutting.
Practicing scissor cutting isn’t limited to cutting paper! Try these alternatives as a way to change things up.
~ playdough snakes
~ grass planters
~ cutting lines
~ thin cardboard
~ cotton balls
Christmas Themed Scissor Cutting Practice Strips
These scissor cutting strips are a step above “snipping” practice, and don’t leave preschoolers who struggle feeling frustrated. Eventually, they will move on to zig zags, shapes, and more. However, as they initially develop their cutting skills, small and straight lines are the way to go!
- free printable (from the end of this post)
- child-safe scissors
- construction paper (optional)
- crayons, markers, or colored pencils (optional)
There are a couple of ways to do this activity (depending on the skill level of your preschoolers), and that will change the set-up just a tad bit.
- If you have young preschoolers, you might want to cut the “strips” on the printable with a paper cutter in advance, rather than expecting your preschooler to cut such a long, straight line.
- If you have older preschoolers, you can give them an entire sheet or a half sheet and have them cut their own strips.
Choose your approach and offer the activity with a set of coloring materials and scissors.
How to Use the Christmas Scissor Cutting Strips
The steps for completing the activity are simple.
Cut the papers into strips
As noted above, you can offer the cutting practice sheets already cut down into strips or have more advanced preschoolers cut their own strips. But in full honestly here, I’d rather cut the the strips for my preschoolers. This allows them frustration-free cutting practice along the small dotted lines, which is an ideal place to start!
Color the Christmas pictures on the strips
This coloring step can be skipped, but it’s such good prewriting practice for preschoolers! That being said, adding coloring to all the cutting in one session may be too much for preschoolers. So, if needed, you can break this activity into different sittings.
Also, since the pictures are on the smaller side, some preschoolers may struggle a bit to color inside the lines. This doesn’t bother me.
Some children really don’t see the lines or shapes in a picture until they’re older. They may just choose a green pencil and scribble over the entire picture. Don’t get worked up about this. That preschooler is still using writing utensils and working on developing their pencil grasp, so it’s ok if he or she chooses not to stay in the lines or color every little detail in the picture.
Cut apart each image
This is where the bulk of the scissor cutting practice comes in. These practice strips are 1.5 inch squares, so they require preschoolers to do a little more than a short snip, but it isn’t as demanding as cutting a long, straight line. This is the perfect kind of scissor cutting practice for those children who are in between.
Glue the pictures onto construction paper
Bonus points if your preschooler arranges their pictures in the shape of a Christmas tree. You can do an example in advance and add some counting or measurement practice as you guide your preschoolers in making a Christmas tree shape. This helps make it a thematic part of your preschool Christmas skills practice activities. Alternatively, you can allow them to paste the pictures on construction paper any which way.
All that said, be sure to read below for more ways to use this printable!
More Ways to Use This Printable
There are so many ways to use this freebie! Let me share some more ideas with you.
- Have your preschooler color the pictures and use them as a memory game.
- Print the strips on colored paper and use them as a sorting game. Preschoolers can sort by color, by picture, or both!
- Match the cards to letter manipulatives for their beginning sounds.
- Color the pictures, cut them apart, and then use them as a bulletin board matching game.
- Use them as a way to assign partners by randomly giving a picture to each student. Then the students must find their partner by finding who has the matching picture.
- Provide items such as small pom poms, jingle bells, and mini candy canes to decorate their trees. To add in a sensory activity, consider having these objects mixed together in a bin for the kids to play with/select objects from.
- You could laminate each child’s final product and use it as a placemat, play dough mat, etc.
You are never limited to just a single activity with my printables!
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How about Some Free Winter Printables?
Just click on the images to grab them.
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The Christmas lights have started to appear and the Christmas books have filled up your library. You know it’s that special time of year. It’s the perfect time to add this fun craft to your Christmas activities for preschoolers.
Cutting activities are so vital for your toddler/preschool kiddos. Be sure to offer lots of varied and fun cutting activities to your classroom! Enjoy these cutting practice worksheets. Happy Holidays!
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.