Introducing scissors to toddlers is an important and might be a stressful moment for parents.
But it also means that your child is about to tackle a major milestone in their fine motor skills development.
Cutting with scissors developes tiny hand muscles and improves hand and wrist strength.
Imagine your child using one hand to hold the scissors and other hand to hold the paper (or other cutting material) and intentionally cut through it, even if they only can make small snips. This simple skill that we adults take for granted is super important for young kids as they work on their hand-eye coordination, practice bilateral movements and build concentration.
All that will eventually be required and used for writing.
As a parent, I know you want your toddler’s first scissors to be safe. But there are also a few more factors that will make a big difference in your final choice.
Before reviewing the best scissors for toddlers, let me answer a few common questions on the topic.
When should I introduce scissors to my toddler?
A short answer is as soon as they start to show interest. And I don’t mean interest in the object
“Scissors” per se, as that might happen really early and it has nothing to do with interest in scissors skills. Eg. they might want to grab scissors when you cut their nails as soon as they’re able to reach and grasp, but that doesn’t mean they are ready to use scissors LOL.
The sign of scissor skill readiness that I’m talking about, is when your child starts showing interest in “cutting” and associates it with scissors. That may happen anywhere between 18-24 months. And usually, toddlers can start using scissors before their third birthday.
A lot of parents are very hesitant, reluctant and even nervous when they think of introducing scissors at that early age but don’t let those feelings stop you and your child from developing a super important new skill at the time that’s right for them.
Your goal as a parent is to guarantee safety, easy and pleasant experience during the process.
What to look for when choosing first scissors for toddlers?
- Rounded tip to ensure safety.
- Small size to be easily manageable by child’s hands. Usually for young toddlers 5 inch scissors are the perfect size.
- Scissors that can easily cut paper. Small size and rounded tip doesn’t mean “toy” or “blunt” scissors. They have to be sharp and functional, otherwise the child will be frustrated by the scissors that don’t do the work and will give up on their interest.
- Suitable for right-handed and left-handed kids. Even though they might have already shown preference, at that young age they are still experimenting with both hands so they should be able to use scissors with either hand.
- It’s recommended that the very first scissors your toddler starts to use have an automatic spring-opening. These scissors are also called training scissors. At first they’ll be working just on the closing movement and as they get more hand strength and refine their moves they can start using scissors for both.
These type of scissors also teach toddlers how to hold scissors properly.
- Something that dones’t appear so obvious but is super important for little hands is that at least one handle of the scissors should have a wide enough opening to fit at least index and middler finger. That feature is essential for the propper scissor grip and easiness of use. Unfortunately some leading scissor brands have child training scissors that don’t meet that requirement making cutting even harder.
- It’s also nice to have blade guards when scissors are not in use, but I haven’t put that at the top of the list since you want to keep scissors from toddler’s reach anyway when not in use.
Considering all said above, you’ll definitely need more than one pair of scissors as your little one learns and gets confidence with their scissor skills. You’ll also need a couple of spare scissors to take to school and maybe to grandmas house. So start with one type of scissors that you thing will be most appropriate for your child based on the reviews below, observe and get another pair based on your further evaluation of your child needs and skill progression.
Keep in mind that most safety recommendation labels on scissors packaging read 3+ years.
Here are a few tips that will set you for success, whether you’re introduce scissors to a young toddler or to a 3 year old.
- First, and foremost, do your own evaluation whether your little one is ready to explore scissors for the first time (see notes above).
- Model and guide the process if needed, especially during the first couple of times.
- Always supervise your toddler working with scissors
- Store scissors out of your child’s reach so it’s only available to them when you are 100% present during the activity.
Toddler First Scissors – Beginner Level
These are the very first scissors my not even 22 months old have tried.
As name suggests they have spring that keeps them open, the child only has to squeeze them to close. The idea is great, BUT.
I’ve noticed that even though they are small and perfect size for a young toddlers hands they are still pretty hard to close. To solve this issue my toddler started to used his other hand to press the blades together.
They cut paper quite well and have blunt tips for your peace of mind.
They are also suitable for left-handed users.
Great scissors overall, but I’m keeping them to use later on.
If you are introducing scissors to an older toddler you might find them just perfect.
Faber-Castell My First Scissors
Once I’ve noticed my 22 month old assisting himself in pressing close the above mentioned scissor blades with the other hand, I made a mental note and got him these scissors next.
You have to wrap your hand around the blades and press them together to preform the cutting. They are made of soft to touch plastic and soft area for easy grip.
They are small, with rounded tip and cut paper pretty well. We’ve also cut leaves, playdough, tangerine peels, apple peels and foam paper.
To perfect the cutting place an item perpendicular (at 90o) to the blades.
My toddler loves them and uses them a lot.
These scissors use the same concept as previous ones. They have automatic blade-reopening which facilitates the use.
I wouldn’t get them as first scissors since they are missing the safely element.
Even though they come with a blade guard they have pointed tip and can do precision cutting, including fabrics. But because of that it makes them awesome scissors once your little one has mastered the previous ones.
They are also great for older toddlers who have difficulty using regular scissors and even adults who cannot use regular scissors due to physical constraints.
These scissors have an absolutely unique design, like no others. They have automatic spring opening like all the scissors above, but what sets them apart is that they can be used in many different ways: place them on a tabletop and cut without holding, press them to close using two hands or an arm/elbow without without using your fingers.
The blades are made of high quality stainless steel so they cut perfectly. through a variety of materials. But they also have a removable safety cover to prevent the user from touching the blades directly while cutting.
All those qualities make these perfect first scissors but also simply a must-have for children and adults with special needs.
They are on the pricier end but they’re totally worth the investment.
Westcott Training Scissors are also a great option for little ones who are just getting acquainted with this new skill. They have a spring assisted flap but can be also used as regular scissors.
The handles are made of plastic with metal blade inserts (just like in scissors #1 and #2) and won’t cut fingers.
On the downside they are not as robust as solid metal scissors and have to be handled with care. But this seems to be a common problem with these types of scissors including same style scissors of a different brand (Fiskars). I suspect toddlers entering in “scissor skills” age are not so gentle with their usage.
These Maped scissors are slightly “next level” as they have stainless steel blades. They are rounded for safely but will cut easily through variety of materials: paper, cardboard, cardstock, fabric and other classroom materials.
Like previous scissors they have an optional spring opening so that your child can use them in training mode (with automatic spring opening) and in regular scissors mode.
Great little scissors that will last you for a long time.
These scissors are for right-handed use.I found similar scissors that were designed for both for right or left-handed use but the manufacturer still makes a note that they are better suited for righties.
Scissors For Toddlers And Preschoolers – Advances Level
As your child shows progress with his scissor skills using training scissors you can offer them regular, child size scissors for more practice and confidence.
Below you’ll find the best scissors for preschoolers and older toddlers.
This is the most budget version of this type of scissors. They have blunt, roundted tip, stainless steel blades suitable for right and left handed use, perfect small 5- inch size and come in variety of colors. The only downside is that the handles are made of hard plastic which provides less comfort for the user.
These scissors have all the features of the previous ones plus they come with protective sheath that’s also an eraser. Suitable for right-hand users.
Another pair of scissors from Fiskars brand that comes highly recommended. What sets these apart is that they have softgrip for the most comfortable use and they are adapted for both left and right handed use.
STAEDTLER Small Noris Club Children Scissor
A little pricier than other scissors but they’re well worth it. These German-made high quality scissors are perfect size for small hands and come with all necessary feature: soft, ergonomic grip zone, stainless steel, rounded blades for safety but also with excellent cutting qualities. Possibly the best scissors for older toddlers and preschoolers. This a right-handed version but exactly the same scissors are also available in left-handed version.
Last but not least is this pack of 3 scissors of a great quality at a very affordable price. They also tick all the boxes for child-safe scissors including blunt tip blades, ergonomical soft grip handles, protective cover and great well cutting stainless steel blades.
Hopefully this overview helps you making your choice for your child’s first and next level scissors. Make sure to supervise your child closely when using scissors even safety and training ones, until they become proficient uses (and that, with regular practice will not long to happen).