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Making a cutting fine motor skills busy box #31DaysOfLearning

Today we have another fine motor skills activity in 31 Days of Learning; this time from Team Stein. For this post Charlotte will talk to us about how to use a fine motor skills cutting busy box to teach our little ones!

Hi I’m Charlotte, a stay at home Mummy to 4. I would love for you to hop over to my blog, Team Stein, come say hello and follow our family journey! I’m really passionate about sharing our outnumbered family life whether it’s through our love of exploring the great outdoors, learning through play activities or my desire for an organised and homely lifestyle amongst the chaos of having an age range from toddler to teen! I love nothing more than a cup of coffee whilst planning our next adventure, seasonal activity or lifestyle project. 

I’m sharing with you a fine motor skills cutting busy box that we have recently made at home. For those that are new to busy boxes they are essentially a box filled with materials and everyday bits and bobs to keep your little one(s) entertained.

fine motor skills cutting busy box

We started to look at making busy boxes and other sensory play ideas at home after my youngest child had been struggling to engage and spark imaginative play with her own toys. Fast forward a few months, with a few sensory and open-ended play activities we have now found a love for open ended play with non-descript items that she and her siblings can play with freely. 

A cutting busy box for fine motor skills 

This busy box was inspired by my youngest after sharing with us an activity that she really enjoyed at preschool that day. Whilst at nursery she had been introduced to using scissors with play dough. The following days she kept asking for scissor play time a lot! 

Having time with scissors to cut with 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 learnt in cutting also prepare your child for mark making, pencil handling and writing. 

set up a cutting busy box

Setting up a cutting busy box 

We used a container we already had in the home that has separate sections to hold each item. 

Ours has an additional layer underneath which I like to store extra resources and leftovers in. A simple box with a lid, tub or tray would also work fine. In the cutting box make sure you use age appropriate scissors. 

Materials to use use in the cutting box

fine motor skills busy box materials

We have chosen a few different items to pop into the cutting busy box:

  • Play dough: A good first introduction for toddlers to learn scissor control. You can make your own playdough, and don’t forget to check out our wonderful playdough mats too. You can print and play with these too!
  • Paper straws,
  • Wool,
  • Magazines,
  • Newspapers and junk mail,
  • Foam from craft packs,
  • Coloured card,
  • Brown paper,
  • Old birthday or Christmas cards and envelopes,
  • Cupcake liners,
  • Wrapping paper,
  • Ribbons from parcels,
  • Cardboard toilet tubes,
  • Nature inspired cutting ideas can be included too – perhaps using leaves and petals, and
  • Spare playing cards

How to teach and encourage scissor skills 

Lay resources out such as enticing strips of paper, paper straws, and foam to snip and cut. This set up will hopefully intrigue your little one to giving cutting a go. 

Demonstrate how to use and hold scissors. Help your child to place their fingers correctly into each hole and then let the practice begin!

Place interesting patterns on the materials using markers or chalk pens. 

Look for interesting materials that can be cut, from everyday recycling to leftover birthday paper and ribbons. 

The benefits of busy boxes 

Like most 3 years olds, my little one loves to be busy. I find taking a few minutes out to set up a busy box is a real life saver for rainy days, indoor or even outdoor play! 

By setting them up with a box of resources you’re giving them the tools to be inspired to come up with their own ideas and encourage extended play. My daughter Florence asked for tape whilst doing this activity, so she could make presents with her resources. My son Teddy cut up some of the materials to make a pirate boat. 

They are learning life skills that set them up for further development in skills such as pencil handling and writing. 

fine motor skills busy box

It can help develop and hit other learning and development ages in the EYFS stages (early years foundation stage) such as maths, communication and listening. 

I do hope that this fine motor skills cutting box activity has given you some ideas on how to incorporate a busy box at home. It really is wonderful to see them getting absorbed into such simple activities and watch how creative play comes alive!

We do have other fine motor activities on the site – so take a look.

Fine Motor activities

Some more crafts and printables to help with fine motor skills.

And don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter – lots happening on the blog as always over the next few months.

Take care,

motor skills busy box

Charlotte is a stay at home mum to 4 children, following careers in recruitment and childminding. She is enthusiastic about sharing her family life with others and loves a good cup of coffee! Why not visit her on social too? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

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