Pre cutting activities for your toddler and the amazing world of a human hand

Scissors present a tool that as a grown up you use on a daily basis – to open various packages, cut  nails, make some crafts, etc. At first glance, cutting looks so easy, like a skill with which one could be born with. But the truth is quite the opposite. Just like with many other manual skills (e.g. buttoning and unbuttoning of the t-shirt) a lot of practice is needed, due to the complex network system that has to be established between a hand and a brain. Hand is a marvelous and complex organ. Each hand contains 29 major and minor bones (some have more), 34 muscles included in moving of the fingers and a thumb, 48 named nerves, and 30 named arteries. In the movement of the tiny hand muscle, responsible for precise and delicate movements, over 200 000 neurons are involved.

Maria has written some nice words about the hand:

The human hand, so delicate and so complicated, not only allows the mind to reveal itself but it enables whole being to enter into special relationships with its environment. We might even say that man “takes possession of his environment with his hands”. His hands under the guidance of his intellect transform this environment and thus enable him to fulfill his mission in the world.”

In order to develop his mind a child must have objects in his environment which he can hear and see. Since he must develop himself through the work of his hands, he has need of objects with which he can work that provide motivation for his activity.

Children are able to open and close scissors easily, more or less at the same time as they have mastered feeding themselves with a spoon or even earlier. They might even try to perform some cutting using their two hand method, but in order to acquire the skill of cutting with scissors using one hand they should first practice the correct grip in order to do so, here are some activities that can help.

  1. Since most toddlers enjoy helping around the kitchen – you can involve them in preparation of drinks with ice cubes where they transport the ice cubes from the box with ice cubes to the glass with a drink, using a tong.
  2. When hanging clothes to dry, let your child help you with placing clothe pins. There is such a variety of the activities you can do with your toddler that include the clothe pins – use them as the part of your art tray to construct larger structures by clamping them to each other, use them for matching activities (e.g. you print cards with various animals and on the top part of the pin you put a sticker of corresponding animal and your child has to connect the two corresponding parts) and much more.
  3. Use the spray bottles – you can include your child in washing the windows or simply in numerous fun water games – when it is sunny outside you can water the pathways and make some fun art. In your bathroom you can place some white balloons or papers on a rope and in a spray bottle put water with some food coloring 🙂 This is a very inviting activity in which your toddler will most probably want to participate. For those who have mastered the colors you can prepare for example two or more spray-bottles with food coloring. And the child has to shoot the balloon of certain color with the corresponding colored water from spray-bottle. Errors are easily visible;)
  4. Prepare a tray using tweezers – depending on a season you can use tweezers for various activities. Tweezing kernels from the cob of the dried corn is a fun activity that all family members can enjoy;).  Here on the photos attached are some of the latest tweezer activities my daughter was into. On one of the trays she has to transfer the pencils from one compartment to the other and on the other one she has to sort the beads by colour. Being a chemist by profession, I guess I am drawn into making up a lot of activities using tweezers for my daughter, and not always she is as excited as me;) But those described above she chose herself with pleasure;)

Author: mateahinko

Passionate scientist, nature lover and explorer:) Proud mom of two explorers who are my biggest motivation for everything

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