Preschool aged child engaging in cutting activities by cutting paper into shapes using scissors.

12 Cutting Activities for Preschoolers that Will Make the Cut

While many parents shy away from cutting activities for preschoolers because they believe scissors are dangerous, the truth is cutting is one of the best tools for motor skill development. 

Not to mention, kids love it!

There is something so alluring at that age about being able to change the physical nature of something. Turning something into smaller pieces feels like magic!

So here are 12 great cutting activities for preschoolers that you can try at home. 

Why are Cutting Activities for Preschoolers so Important?

Even before learning numeracy or literacy skills, it is fine motor skills that are an essential part of our daily lives. We use them for everything from tying our shoes in the morning to brushing our teeth before we go to bed. 

Cutting with scissors is one of the best activities for fine motor skill development because there are several complex movements that all need to work together to be effective. 

Your child needs to simultaneously grip the handless and squeeze them with the right amount of pressure, while also guiding the scissors at a steady speed and in a controlled motion. 

While this might be simple for you, for a child, that is a lot to process!

10 Cutting Activities for Preschoolers

Time to cut to the chase, here are 10 cutting activities for preschoolers. 

1. Cutting Playdough

Playdough isn’t just great for pulling apart and moulding into different shapes. It’s also great for cutting!

It offers stronger resistance than paper, which helps build grip strength and dexterity, but it’s also reusable. Once paper has been cut a lot of times it becomes too small to be used. With playdough, your child can reform it endlessly. 

2. Cutting Along the Lines

Child engaging in a cutting activity using scissors to cut along the lines on a piece of paper

Cutting along (or between) the lines is important because not only does your child need to have the fine motor skills to hold the scissors steady, but they also need to have the hand-eye coordination to know where and when to cut. 

As they learn how to cut basic shapes, advance them to more complicated designs, like objects or animals. Cutting out dinosaurs is a popular choice because at that age they are absolutely obsessed with dinosaur activities. 

3. Playing with Their Food

Preschoolers often need their food cut up into smaller pieces. Their food is usually softer as well because their teeth are less developed. 

So why not get them involved in meal prep and turn it into a fun cutting activity?

Help them cut up their food, such as spaghetti, beans or bread, into bite-sized pieces. They’ll have a blast, and learn a little something about preparing food as a bonus!

4. Making Face Masks

Girl and boy engaging in cutting activities, cutting bits of coloured paper into shapes with scissors

Preschoolers love being able to disappear behind a character. Whether that’s someone from their favourite kids show, or a favourite animal or creature. 

Paper plates are perfect for making face masks because they are roughly the size and shape of your child’s head. Plus, their slightly thicker texture than paper makes them a great material for a cutting activity with a bit of added challenge. 

5. Craft a Cool Jellyfish!

If you’ve still got some paper plates and sheets handy, this is an incredible cutting activity for preschoolers. 

Using some paint or coloured pencils, get your child to draw a friendly face on the top half of a plate, before cutting the bottom half off.

Then, get them to cut the bottom half of the sheet of paper into ribbons, to mimic the tendrils of a jellyfish. Now, just staple the two together and they have their very own paper jellyfish! 

As a bonus, if you use some string to hang it near a fan or opened window, the air will blow its tendrils and make it look like it’s alive!

6. Paper Hair Extensions

Young preschool aged girl engaging in a cutting activity cutting bits of coloured paper with scissors.

This is a great one for the girls! If they’d love some DIY hair extensions, or even just to see what a different colour would be like, it’s time to make some. 

Using the same technique as the jellyfish cutting activity, Have them take a long piece of paper and cut ribbons, leaving an inch intact along the top. Then simply fold the paper into a circle and tape the end, creating a paper headband with flowing paper locks coming off it. 

To experiment, try using different coloured paper for different styles!

7. Christmas Ornaments

If you want to save money on Christmas decorations and plan a fun cutting activity for your preschooler this Christmas, this one is perfect!

Using Christmas coloured paper, have your child cut out different shapes to hang as ornaments on the tree or around the house. They can try cutting outlines of stockings, candy canes, stars or even mini Christmas trees!

There will be all different shapes for your child to learn, all while working towards giving your festive decorations and homemade touch. 

8. Scary Spiral Snake

A closeup of a pair of green scissors cutting an orange piece of paper into the shape of a flower

If you want to test your child’s ability to cut curved shapes, this is the perfect way to make it fun.

Draw a spiral on a sheet of paper, starting from the centre and getting wider as it fans out. At the end of the spiral, draw a snake head. Spirals are very complex to cut out, even for some clumsy adults! So this will be a great cutting activity to teach your preschooler dexterity. 

As a bonus, attach some string to the head of the snake, it will appear to ‘spring’ up from the ground when your child pulls it. Awesome!

9. Toilet Roll Sunflowers

Toilet rolls are great for a range of preschooler activities. They are easy to collect and you’ll be buying them anyway, so they aren’t an extra expense. 

In this instance, simply ask your child to cut into ribbons, but leaving an intact inch at one end. This is difficult because the cardboard is slightly firmer than paper, and also because they can’t see the side of the scissors that are inside the roll. This challenges their spatial reasoning and is a great learning technique. 

Once they are done, fold the ribbons outwards, as if they were the petals of a sunflower. The inside of toilet rolls is usually white, so they can even paint them yellow for a more realistic look. 

10. Homemade Pot Pourri

Speaking of flowers, why not use the real thing?

If you have some flowers in the garden you aren’t too attached to, or a lot of petals blowing around the yard, why not collect them for a fun preschooler cutting activity.

Once you’ve gathered them (which can be a fun activity in its own right), let them dry in the sun, or gently bake them in the oven. Then put them in a container and let your preschooler start chopping! Once they’ve been cut up enough, put them in a bowl as a nice display piece. 

Depending on the flower, they may even give off a nice fragrance!

Have You Considered a Childcare Centre?

At Little Miracles, we specialise in helping children develop all sorts of skills to prepare them for their school years. 

We know how important it is for them to learn these skills early, so we have a range of engaging activities for them to enjoy. 

If you’d like to learn more about Little Miracles childcare centres, visit our website.

To enquire about child care centre vacancies, visit our contact page.