As St. Patrick’s Day draws near, why not spread the luck with a cheerful rainbow craft for preschoolers? This snipped yarn rainbow craft challenges preschoolers to use their best scissor cutting skills, hand control, and fine motor skills, too!
Preschool Rainbow Craft for St. Patrick’s Day
This project is the perfect balance of fun, artistry and learning! With components from science and fine motor development combined with a new and unique craft at its core – what could be better?
I love the texture the snipped yarn gives the rainbows – It’s something unexpected – and as always it was fun to observe the students processing their materials as they go about creating.
This craft allows for each piece to turn out completely unique and different from another student’s rainbow. And, it requires a whomping huge opportunity to develop scissor skills and fine motor skills?!
Add this to your thematic lessons!
FAQ About Teaching Scissor Skills 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
Scissor Cutting Skills Rainbow Craft for Preschoolers
It’s important to offer preschoolers loads of opportunities for scissor cutting practice. You can do that by offering cutting practice worksheets, or process based crafts like this one. In this rainbow craft, preschoolers practice scissor cutting by snipping.
The Set Up
In the original activity, I used poster board to hand cut rainbows for each student in my class. That was tedious and it hurt my hand. Since then, I have used these rainbow cut-outs, which have saved my hands.
In advance, cut four feet lengths of yarn in each color for each student, preferably cotton yarn. Acrylic yarn frays easily and isn’t as easy to cut as cotton. Offer one color at a time for the entire class for the students to snip with their scissors.
I explained that they could choose to make their strings long or short, or they could snip a mixture of long and short. However, I did encourage the students to keep the pieces of yarn less than about four inches, but who is measuring?
Cutting the yarn obviously gives the students more practice in scissor cutting, but it also requires some serious critical thinking on the students’ part.
Unlike paper, you cannot hold out a piece of yarn without it limping over the end of your finger or hand, so the students had to really consider and experiment to figure out just how exactly they could cut the yarn.
As you can see from the above picture, one student held a longer length of yarn so that the end dangled away from his hand, and he snipped it into smaller pieces while it dangled in the air. (This is why you need sharp scissors. It’s ok. With proper training, preschoolers can be very safe with sharp scissors.)
The student in the foreground, whose hands you can only see, felt that it was easier to cut the yarn if he held several strings at once. Another student tried laying the yarn on the preschool table and snipping with the very tip of his scissors. One student asked that I hold one end of the string while she held the other and cut the taut piece of yarn.
The Very Easiest and Fasted Way to Snip Yarn
Yarn crafts with preschoolers can be time consuming if the preschoolers are practicing so much cutting skills. The easiest way for preschoolers to use the yarn it to take one of the yarn to the table and have the children stand and snip while holding the yarn taut.
Once yarn of each rainbow color was snipped into appropriate lengths, I invited the students to tell me what they noticed about their piles of yarn. Immediately students began jabbering about the various lengths of yarn that had been cut.
Who had the longest? Who had the teeny tiniest? Who had the biggest pile? Who had the “mixed-upiest” pile?
I asked the students what they noticed about the colors of yarn they had cut.
This lead into a fun discussion about rainbows and their colors. Students shared experiences where they had seen rainbows, clothing they wore with rainbows, what makes a rainbow. One student even asked why he couldn’t touch a rainbow!
Finally, we returned to our craft. I gave each student a rainbow shaped cut-out. I watered down some liquid school glue so the students could paint the glue into their cut-out, thus ensuring to cover the entire rainbow with glue and yarn. Then, students began adding their pieces of yarn.
Some students were very intentional about the order they added their colors. The above preschooler wanted her rainbow colors to reflect a “real rainbow” so she followed the traditional order.
This student didn’t worry of much about the order of his rainbow colors, but as he added each color he named them and shared something he had seen in that color. “This color is red. I put red on my rainbow. Strawberries are red.” Each and every color! I kid you not!
Once all the colors were added, students pulled apart cotton balls for the clouds and glued those on as well.
The Completed Rainbow Crafts for Kids
These are simple rainbows that are a nice mix of crafts and process art. While some preschoolers chose to follow all the colors of the rainbow, others did not. Allowing the children to choose is important.
Here are some of the finished rainbows.
Ways to Modify This Craft
I get it. Snipping yarn can be tedious and messy, with little strings everywhere. If that’s not your cup of tea, try these alternatives.
- tissue paper
- construction paper
- scribbles of glitter glue all over
More Rainbow Crafts and Activities Kids Will Love
Whether you’re adding this to your St. Patrick’s Day preschool lesson plans or you’re looking for a craft to add to your weather unit for kindergarten students, here are some other ideas:
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.