Lakeshore Learning sells their own brand of plastic safety scissors, and I like then so much that I wouldn’t recommend any other brand for children under 4. Toddlers are just too curious about how scissors work and too excited to listen to safety precautions. These scissors mean that they can develop solid hand skills earlier and without bloodshed.
Scissors are the second actual tool a child masters (eating utensils are first) and the earlier a child understands how scissors work and how to handle them, the safer they are when using them. I wouldn’t give anyone under 2 a pair of scissors unless they impressed me with their maturity and fine motor control. Before 2, most children do not have the requisite coordination to make snipping on paper a success. Toddlers with older siblings immediately earn a slightly earlier-than-usual first lesson from me, as I know that older children often leave regular scissors on a table without thinking. I want them to understand correct grip, correct carrying and that using scissors is a “big kid” privilege.
One of may favorite work memories is a child to whom I offered a pair of these scissors and tried to help him put his fingers into the handles. He resisted me, and with a combination of derision and fear, uttered “Dane-ge-wous!!”. Apparently he had heard about scissors from someone else! This version will prevent you from shrieking and grabbing a scissor away from a child just as he is really learning how to cut.
Lakeshore’s own brand of safety scissor will break easily if a child tries to twist the blades apart. Luckily they are very affordable, and I generally encourage parents to buy a few at a time in the same color when shopping. They will not cut skin, hair or clothing, but they will pinch fingers. Of course, if your child tries to stab someone in the face they will cause injury. Just because they are not going to cut a child doesn’t mean that they cannot be used as an intentional weapon or create some accident. Supervision is essential, and not just for injury prevention. I always bring 2 scissors with me so that a child can see me demonstrate cutting without having to rip a pair out of his hands. You know that the toddler commandments include “If I am holding it, it is mine” . If I have only one pair of scissors, toddlers are so intent to retrieve that pair that they cannot watch my demonstration.
Combine these great scissors with the high-quality paper and creative designs of the Kumon cutting books (see earlier post) and you have hours of fun and solid preschool skill development!