I’m sure you’re all familiar with Busy Bags, and you may have also heard of Cutting Stations, but have you ever thought to combine them both into a Cutting Busy Box?
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With the exact same purpose as a Busy Bag, a Busy Box is essentially a box of supplies and materials designed to keep little ones busy. Of course the length of busy time varies from child to child, however Busy Boxes are great to have prepared for those times you need an actively engaged Toddler or Preschooler.
Besides the initial set up, Busy Boxes require no prep. Realistically this box can last you a good couple of weeks (dependent on how keen your little cutter is). It is also super easy to replace the contents when you’re running low. Remember to incorporate different supplies as you refill, create new patterns to follow & new purposes within the cutting activities.
Cutting develops bilateral coordination, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. Bilateral coordination is using both sides of the body, both hands working on different tasks. The skills learned within cutting is also preparing your child for writing skills & the manipulation of pencils & crayons.
Creating a Cutting Busy Box –
We used a container with separate sections to hold each item. You could simply use a lidded box, however I think the organized sections adds to the appeal.
With your Cutting Box, include age appropriate scissors & a large bowl to collect all the cutting scraps. You can keep your scraps in a zip lock bag for collage making & tinkering.
Here are a few similar containers, perfect for your Cutting Busy Box;
Materials to include in a Cutting Busy Box
For Toddlers starting using scissors, try offering materials to tear & snip, like
- Play dough rolled into snakes. This is easy to hold and snip.
- Cooked Rainbow Spaghetti (see here for how to easily dye spaghetti)
- Thick strips of construction paper – then gradually move onto thinner paper such as shredded newspaper or magazines, etc
For advanced Toddlers & Preschoolers, try –
- Stringed Beads
- Magazines & Junk Mail – Draw a shopping trolley or shopping bag on a piece of paper and set up a cutting and gluing station around Birthdays & Christmas to work on a wish list.
- Shredded Newspaper
- Flower Petals, Herbs & Leaves – Create a natural Cutting Tray using collected treasures from a nature walk.
- Paper Plates
- Paint Chips
- Cupcake Liners
- Wrapping Paper
Tips & Tricks for teaching scissor skills to Toddlers & Preschoolers
Provide your child with lots of opportunities to develop their fine motor skills through simple activities with pegs, tongs, pipettes, tweezers, etc – tools that strengthen muscles in the hands and prepare them for using scissors. We share lots of these types of activities for Toddlers & Preschoolers on our Instagram page.
Good quality scissors that are short with a blunt tip are ideal for children learning to use scissors. I have found in the past I have bought a few different pairs of scissors & let the child switch between them, finding what they feel most comfortable with.
Here are a few pairs we love;
Demonstrate how to hold scissors, and help your child place their fingers correctly into each hole.
You can also wrap a piece of washi-tape around the thumbhole of the scissors & a sticker or a mark on their thumb, to act as a reminder of where & how to place their thumb.
Then, (supervised) practice, practice, practice! Continue to offer different materials to rip & snip.