Children’s scissors are a hot topic among parents and teachers alike; children love crafts and it’s a joy to see children expressing themselves creatively. What family doesn’t have a refrigerator covered in delightful kid art? But most such projects involve the use of scissors, and scissors can be dangerous. Even with all the attention on safety these days, there are thousands of scissor injuries—primarily cut fingers—sustained by young children each year. So what to do?
Teaching Children to Use Scissors
The first step, of course, in any scissor cutting journey with children is to teach them how to master the skill. But don’t expect that to happen too fast. It’s generally accepted among childhood development experts that most children won’t master the ability to use scissors proficiently until about age six. However, children can be introduced to scissors at around two years old.
Scissoring is so challenging for kids because it requires a lot of coordination and fine motor skills. Good preparation and instruction are important to make the learning process more fun and less frustrating. A quick internet search will turn up dozens of articles and videos that walk through the steps of teaching a child to use scissors. This video gives a short introduction to the topic.
As the video mentions, a very important part of mastering scissor cutting is working on hand and finger strengthening and coordination exercises. Safety is also key! To that end, a primary concern is choosing a good pair of safety scissors. The first question you might ask is just what are safety scissors anyway?
What are Safety Scissors?
Safety scissors, which are also called children’s scissors, kid’s scissors, children’s craft scissors, or children’s plastic scissors, share several features:
- They have a blunted end to prevent puncture accidents.
- They are small, with handles designed so they are easy for little hands to grip and maneuver.
- They also have a less sharp blade area, to help prevent lacerations.
- And finally they have a short blade, again for ease of use.
Scissors for younger children often have only a plastic cutting surface, while those for older children will have a metal blade. Not only do all these design attributes provide for a safer crafting experience, they aim to make the initially challenging skill of scissoring as easy as possible.
But Do Safety Scissors Work?
A major frustration experienced when using kid’s scissors is that they don’t cut well. This has been the experience of Pheonix, Arizona, kindergarten teacher Amy Ball, who says, “My biggest complaint with classroom scissors for little hands is that they cut horribly! They only cut very thin paper, and the blade is so super dull the scissors have to be held at a particular angle even to make that happen. They are absolutely rubbish working with construction paper.”
Children’s plastic scissors can be particularly challenging in this regard, but so too can metal-edged kid’s scissors. The blades are purposefully less sharp to reduce injuries, but that often results in the kind of poor performance Ms. Ball and many others have experienced. Further, because metal dulls quickly, what sharpness is there doesn’t last long. Too, as dull as those surfaces may be, they can still lacerate skin!
Another concern is the handedness of the scissors. Ms. Ball spoke plainly to this as well: “I have not found scissors that are good for both left- and right-handed kids.” Most scissors are made, not surprisingly, for right-handed kids. There are also scissors for left-handed children, but in a classroom situation, this requires yet one more step of organization in what is often a hectic environment.
A Better Option
In an ideal world, children’s scissors would be effective but also highly resist cutting skin. Enter Slice’s Small Ceramic Scissors. What makes this pair particularly well suited as safety scissors is Slice’s proprietary finger-friendly® blade design: it will cut desired materials but will highly resist cutting through the tough outer layer of skin. This greatly reduces chances of injury. Among other excellent features, Slice’s ceramic blades can keep their edge up to 11 times longer than their metal counterpart, which means added durability and value. And there is nary a commonly used craft project material they can’t cut through. Construction paper, tissue paper, cotton balls, and felt? No problem!
To sum up, when you’re looking for the ideal scissors for children look first for innovative blade safety technologies like Slice’s finger-friendly grind. Also look for a model that is designed to be ambidextrous and can easily be handled by small hands, with a comfortable grip. Children’s scissors also need to have a small blade area and, very important, the tip must be blunted. Put all that together and you’ve got children’s scissors that will let creativity blossom safely, effectively, and abundantly.