Scissors are an excellent tool to develop fine motor skills. They develop hand eye coordination, fine muscle control in hands and arms, and concentration to focus and cut with intention and purpose.
I have a wee confession, We rarely use scissors to cut paper here!
The above skills can be developed in many way, using malleable materials such as dough, marking making tools such as brushes and crayons, construction materials, the list and opportunities are endless.
So when I choose to offer scissors during sensory play, I want to make sure it is engaging, entertaining and of course multi-sensory; so I am afraid paper often just doesn’t quite cut it (pun intended!)
Here is a link to some of our current favourite scissors ✂ CRAFT SCISSORS
There are a few resources I come back to time and again because they do just that.
- I use value spaghetti, as many packets to fill the container used (2-3 is a good amount for a tuff tray) cooked until it al dente (before it gets too soft), this make it easier to handle and less sticky after being handled. Nb.If you are time and resource limited this can be done by pouring freshly boiled water over spaghetti in a bowl and leaving it to soak for several minutes.
- It is a good idea to rinse and drain the spaghetti until cool and excess starch is gone. It can then be stored in a zip lock bag in an air tight storage container until used.
- If I am dyeing the spaghetti, I do it at this stage. A good squirt of paint (or gel food colour to make it taste safe i use these Wilton 8 Colour Icing Set 226 g ), give it a good mix around. This is why it is good to have the spaghetti slightly undercooked or you may end up with a squished mess at this point.
- Spread on a tray lined with grease proof paper and leave to dry until ready to store until use.
- If not dyeing the spaghetti, I tend to mix in a few drops of cooking oil to stop it from sticking together when being stored.
So how do we use it once prepared???
I spread the spaghetti on a tray and add scissors – simple! Tuff Tray
There are lots of ways to adapt this to your theme.
Examples I have done include pretending the spaghetti is HAIR for an ALL ABOUT ME THEME. More photos all about me album
On this occasion I added
- DIY paint in ‘hair colours’, more on how to make your own DIY paint here
- some hairdressers dyeing brushes and large paint brushes
- Some mirrors and of course
The concept was that the children could ‘dye’ and cut the hair.
- This led to lots of language about what colour their own hair was (we looked in mirrors to check)
- We extended language by describing the yellow as blonde, brown as brunette and lots of intetesting descriptors for red hair!
- Children used scissors in very different ways, some had excellent skills and snipped away confidently, others took a little time to explore the new sensation of cutting through the spaghetti! Some children used 2 hands, others one hand but held in very different ways. A few had no interest at all and just wanted to get their hands stuck in! All stage appropriate, all engaged and all enhancing their own skills at their own rate!
- Lovely mathematical play as language as children snipped and compared spaghetti lengths and talked about their own, long, short hair etc.
The DIY paint was an added element which I will chat about in another post DIY Paint… Yoghurt!
What happened next?
I was able to add fresh spaghetti on top and use for more sessions, so 3 groups of children benefitted before it was composted, tray hosed down, and scissors rinsed.
Well after my own children enjoyed the spoils of the session! Ps they got hosed down too!
Clean up was minimal during session.
It was excellent value for money considering the learning outcomes, the number of children ranging from 8mths-7yrs old involved and the fun that was had!
For more fun activities pop over to the Facebook page for lots more fun activities, ideas and resources All Of Me Sensory Facebook
More fun to be had with Spaghetti over DIY Paint… Yoghurt