Cutting Skills by Age

Cutting skills will vary by age and can also vary by child. It is essential to provide opportunities for your child to practice their cutting skills.

As your child ages, they will continue developing their cutting skills. By school age, most children can cut straight lines, curves, and even zig-zags with ease.

Cutting Skills by Age

Cutting Skills by Age Group


2 to 3 years old – At this age, I would recommend a simple introduction to the tool itself. I would highly suggest the plastic scissors often used to cut play dough. These scissors are safer for little hands and a good initiation. That’s really all we want to do by this age.

Let them practice opening and closing scissors. Some kids might be able to do mini paper cuts but don’t stress if they can’t. I would also let them use the scissors with both hands at this age.


3 to 4 years old – Let’s introduce them to real scissors but the ones with a rounded edge. I would want you to introduce cutting in a fun and playful way. One example would be to cut play dough spaghetti. Or why not cut real spaghetti?

Another fun activity is to bring them outside and try to snip the grass. Cutting can be a really great sensory experience. At this age, they should be able to cut snippets of paper and possibly cut a straight line (not necessarily all the way through).


4 to 5 years old – Depending on your child’s level of comfort with scissors, they should be able to hold the scissors with one hand. Still using scissors with a rounded edge, your child should be able to cut a straight line all the way through. Your child could possibly even cut a curved line or a shape. But don’t despair if they aren’t there yet.


5-6 years old – If you’ve been practicing cutting skills for the last few years, your child should have some level of comfort with scissors by now. Your child should be able to cut a long straight line, a curved lined, and some shapes, mostly staying within half an inch of the line itself.


6-7 years old – Your child should have a good level of comfort with scissors by now. Cutting skills above should be mastered and now they are possibly ready to cut more complex shapes and images.

Keep in mind that before a child can use scissors, they need to develop the following skills:

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • Fine motor skills
  • Strength and dexterity in their hands

Why are Cutting Skills Important?

Cutting skills are important for a number of reasons. First, they help develop fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are needed for tasks such as writing and tying shoelaces. Second, cutting skills help children learn how to use scissors properly.

This is an important safety skill that will be used throughout their life. Finally, cutting skills can be therapeutic for some children. It can help them release energy and pent-up emotions in a safe and constructive way.

What are the Benefits of Cutting Activities for Kids?

Cutting is an important fine motor skill that helps children develop their hand-eye coordination. It also helps them to develop the muscles in their hands and fingers.

Cutting activities give children a chance to practice using scissors before they have to use them in more formal situations, such as school.

Cutting also helps children to learn about shapes and colors. As they cut out different shapes, they can start to identify them and understand how they fit together.

What are Some Easy Cutting Activities for Kids?

Some examples of easy cutting activities for kids are cutting strings of play dough or spaghetti. Let them snip plastic straws or little pieces of cardstock. Here’s a good roundup list of easy cutting activities.

What are Some More Challenging Cutting Activities for Kids?

As kids get older and more experienced with using scissors, you can start to introduce more challenging cutting activities. This could include cutting out complicated shapes or patterns or even trying to cut along a straight line. You can download our FREE Cutting Practice Worksheets.

You can also give kids other materials to cut, such as fabric, ribbon, or felt. This will help them to develop their cutting skills even further.

No matter what type of cutting activities you choose, always supervise your child while they’re using scissors. This will help to prevent any accidents from happening. If you are concerned about your child’s development, please consult with a doctor or therapist. They will be able to give you more specific tips and advice.

Please note: this is not intended to be medical advice. If you have any concerns about your child’s development, please consult with a doctor or occupational therapist. Always supervise your child during play.

Other resources you may enjoy:

Free Tracing Book for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Free Tracing Sheets
Movement Songs for Kids