What are the best scissors for Montessori toddlers? I'd love to know your thoughts. Why specifically for Montessori toddlers? In Montessori environments, toddlers are often taught to use real scissors to cut paper strips. In many mainstream environments this may not occur until preschool age and even then some children are taught to cut soft things like play-dough first. In Montessori we also like our children to use real materials so small sharp scissors (with a round tip) are going to be preferred over dull plastic scissors.
Otto (2yrs 10months) and I recently tested ten scissors that claim to be for toddlers or as first or learning scissors. Here is what we found!
Essentials requirements for Montessori Toddler scissors:
- Small for the young child's hands
- Sharp enough to easily snip paper
- Rounded tip for safety
- Smooth easy scissor action
1. Nienhuis Toddler Scissors 9cm - these are the obvious Montessori choice. They are nice and small, have a rounded tip and, are sharp enough to snip paper easily. They are on the heavier side (compared to other scissors) as they are solid, feel like great quality and look like 'real' scissors. I used these with Otto when he first started to learn to use scissors at around 18 months. Ours are from here in the UK but they are found at Nienhuis stockists worldwide.
2. Maped Kidicut Safety Scissors - What we call the 'Rabbit Scissors'. These were a surprise - in a good way! They are small and comfortable for the child to use. Even though the blade is plastic they cut well. Small enough for children from two years.
3. Mini Easi Grip Scissors - This is the first time we've used scissors like this and it was a huge surprise. They were really easy for the toddler to use, Otto loves them. They automatically spring open so it's easy for the child to learn how scissors work and as they don't have finger holes they are easy for the child to grip. They are small, lightweight, have a rounded tip and, snip easily. The safety recommendation on these is from 3yrs+ and they come with a small safety cover. If you have a child older than three you can get the same style scissors in a slightly larger size, the blade on this is quite short so it depends on what the child wants to cut.
4. Educational Colours Spring Assisted Scissors (AU link) - These are the first we've used with a spring action. When you push the little spring part up (the yellow part in between the scissor handles) the scissors automatically spring open after the child has pressed them together to cut something, it has an 'auto-opening blade'. I can see how these are helpful for children having difficulty learning how to use scissors, Otto loves them and uses them all the time, they are completely fine, they are sharp and cut easily.
5. Crayola My First Safety Scissors - This is a pack of three scissors, a straight cut, zig zag and a wavy cut. There were very disappointing, my toddler found it very hard to cut consistently with them, the blade would often fold the paper if it wasn't held at the right angle. I would not recommend these for a child learning to cut.
6. Westcott Preschool Training Scissors - Like #4 these also have a spring. These are good little scissors with or without the use of the spring, for many children the spring won't be needed. These feel like good quality and I'm sure they will last the child many years, perhaps even to 5yrs+. My toddler can use these very well now but they may be slightly too big for a younger child (<2yrs). As advertised they are perfect for the preschool age group.
7. Melissa & Doug Child-Safe Scissor Set - This is a pack of two scissors, one cut straight and one zig zag cut. The claim is that the scissors won't cut clothing or hair but they also cut paper very poorly. Although my toddler can use them they don't cut consistently. They are frustrating for my toddler to use and may be discouraging for a child learning to cut. I would not recommend these.
8. Staedtler Noris Club Small Scissors - These are the scissors that we use the most now. Sharp, comfortable, good grip with a blunt tip, I would recommend for children from around 3yrs+. These are great quality.
9. Training Scissors (AU link) - These are for an adult to use with the child. The teacher, parent or care-giver assists the child as they learn how to manipulate the scissors and teach the scissor movements including applying pressure to make the cut. These would be good to try with children with low hand strength or those who are struggling using scissors and need some extra assistance.
10. Crayola Blunt Tip Scissors - Good, reliable, sharp scissors with a blunt tip. Due to their size I would suggest for children 3yrs (not toddlers). Comfortable and good quality.
I have introduced cutting with scissors to my children at around 18 months to two years. Otto's hands as pictured here are of him using the scissors at 2 years and 10 months.
Although I have reviewed these for toddlers please note some of the scissors are recommended for older children, please check individual safety guidelines before purchasing. Full and direct supervision of scissors is required at all times.
If you are teaching a toddler at around 18 months-2.5 years to use scissors I would recommend the smaller sets including #1, #2 and #3. If you have a three-year-old learning to use scissors I would suggest #4, #6, #8, or #10 - depending on their hand size. I would avoid #5 and #7. If you believe your child may need some extra help the spring-assisted scissors like #3, #4 or #6 may be useful. If your child has low hand strength and/or needs more help learning to use scissors I would give #9 a try and then consider following up with spring-assisted scissors.
If you are looking for scissoring ideas three of our most recent cutting trays can be seen here.
If you are in Australia many of these scissors are available at Officeworks. This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support.