4 years old cutting with scissors

How To Teach A 4-Year-Old To Cut With Scissors?

Cutting with scissors requires symmetrical use of thumb and index finger. It needs focus and coordination of hands and eyes. A 4-year-old can use some of these skills to cut with scissors. 

Using scissors helps a child to practice the skills that are needed to do some of their routine tasks like brushing the teeth, coloring, and writing.

But before you start training your kid, you need to set realistic expectations

Should a 4-year-old be able to use scissors?

4-year-olds are still too young to cut any complex shape from a scissor. However, they can hold and use the scissors (open and close) and cut basic shapes like a straight line, curved line, or square. They are also able to cut a circle to some extent. 

A 4-year-old might hold scissors with 3 fingers. She will put the thumb in one finger hole and the index finger and middle finger in the other finger hole. Little hands are still learning!

benefits of using scissors for a 4-year-old

Using scissors will help your preschooler improve her motor skills that are needed to do other things like writing, coloring, brushing her teeth, and eating meals. 

Here are a few benefits of using scissors:

  • It will improve hand-eye coordination. 
  • It will help her to balance herself while 
  • Using scissors requires a rhythmic movement of fingers and thumb. It will help your child to follow a rhythm.
  • Using scissors improves the strength of wrist and hand muscles

Choosing the right scissors for a 4-year-old?

When you are going to get your child a pair of scissors, you must consider his abilities and mental approach. A 4-year-old is able to understand “safety” but he doesn’t have enough skills (motor skills and coordination) to use sharp things like knives and scissors. 

You should always choose a safety scissor (which can only cut a piece of paper) for 4-year-olds. Ideally, choose safety scissors that are made up of only plastic!

If your child is left-handed, choose the scissors accordingly.

my daughter's safety scissors

Color selection is important to build your child’s interest. 


  • Do not let your child use the scissors without supervision
  • Do not let him hold the scissors when walking.
  • Make your child sit in a proper position when holding scissors. 

You will find a list of best scissors for 4-year-olds below. 

How to teach a 4-year-old to cut with Scissors?

Here’s how to teach a 4-year-old to cut with scissors. 

Step 1- Introduce scissors:

First of all, introduce scissors. Show her some youtube videos of how to hold and use it. You can hold the scissor and cut a simple piece of paper in front of him and tell him to observe your fingers. 

Tell her while cutting like, “open the scissors like this, then place it on the paper where you want to cut it and slowly close the fingers like this.” 

Step 2- Let them practice on a simple paper:

Now give her some random papers and let her practice her skills. She might have problems in the beginning but she will eventually do it. 

This is what my daughter’s first cutting looked like. She picked it up super quickly and was able to cut a random line. Of course, she tore the paper too but I’m proud that she did a great job.

papers cut using scissor

Step 3 – Use a thick marker and draw some small lines on one edge of paper:

When you see that your child is now able to use the scissors to some extent, this is the time to teach her to cut a specific shape. 

Use a thick marker and draw one-inch-long lines on one edge and tell your child to cut them.

Step 4- Draw a thick line on a paper and let your 4-years-old cut it:

After that, it’s time to teach her to move the scissors forward while cutting. Draw a thick line that is 2-3 inches long on one edge of the paper and let your kid cut it. 

You can show her first how to cut and then let her. 

Step 5- Gradually make her practice comparatively complex shapes:

Once she is able to cut that thick line, you can gradually increase the length of the line and then draw a curved line. 

After that let her practice cutting a square.

So this is how you will teach your preschooler to cut with scissors. 

Do not expect a 4-year-old to cut almost any shape or large circles. Be realistic.

Best Safety scissors for 4-year-olds:

Here are the best safety scissors to introduce your 4-year-old to scissors. 

1- Crayola My First Safety Scissors:

These scissors are made up of plastic and will only be able to cut the paper (so they are safe for 4-year-olds). There are 3 scissors in the set and each one of them cuts different shapes (straight, zigzag and wavy).

Click here to check price on Amazon

2- Learning Resources Trace Ace Scissor Skills Set:

This is a scissor training set that includes plastic scissors and 3 shape stencils. Your child will get a full set for learning scissor skills. 

Click here to check price on Amazon

3- Melissa & Doug Scissor Skills Activity Book With Pair of Child-Safe Scissors:

This is another version of the scissor training kit. You will get an activity book along with plastic scissors for your child to practice cutting. However, this activity book might not be suitable if your child is still learning to hold and use scissors. 

Click here to check price on Amazon

4- Yimma preschool training scissors: (Left-Handed Scissors)

This set includes 8 scissors made up of plastic and these are a great choice if your little one is left-handed. 

Click here to check price on Amazon


When you are training your 4-years-old to use scissors to cut, you must use a gradual approach. First, let him practice the rhythmic movement of the thumb and index finger and then slowly make him practice cutting lines of different sizes and thicknesses. 

A 4-years-old should be able to cut straight lines, curved lines, squares, and maybe a circle. But he won’t master these scissor skills until he is 5-6 years old. 

Read more:

How to set timings for your 4-year-old’s birthday party?

What to do if a 4-years-old is not potty trained?

The 8 best dollhouses for 4-years-old!

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