Monday, February 22, 2010

First step to scissoring...paper--tearing!

Didya know there are actually developmental steps to learning to cut (scissoring?) And learning to cut is a part of learning to write, as the fine motor control is vital for both.
The first step of scissoring is tearing paper. I started Q with paper-tearing these past few weeks. Here's the set up--a tray with "things to tear" on the left and a tub (used wipe box) to put torn pieces into. **only using the same set up every time for ripping work is important so your child learns this is where ripping occurs and not with books and your magazines, etc.!!! If you catch them ripping something else, bring them to the table, set out their basket of ripping work and say, "Here's where we rip paper!" They'll get it if you are consistent, promise!!!

Things to tear= any type of rigid scrap paper. It needs to be somewhat rigid at first so it will tear easily and little fingers can grasp it without too much bending and moving of the paper. My favorite "tearing items" are those annoying little cards they put on every other page of your magazine, mailers for roofing, cable and insurance (and who knows what else) companies, and the cardstock inserts that often come in coupons.
To begin with, I start the paper by putting a small tear in the top middle of the paper. Then I showed her how to put one hand (using a 3-finger pincer grasp--thumb, index and middle) on each side of the inital tear, pull one hand back toward the body and the other away....and...riiiiiiiiipppp! It's such a joyous feeling to see the paper part into two and hear that ripping sound!

Now of course Q was really interested in this....for about 1.5 minutes. That was it. The next time? Maybe 2 minutes. So we have just done tiny little sessions of ripping. Yesterday, though, I was putting away groceries and had lots of packaging that I was setting on the floor in a pile to take out to recycle bin. Q came up and took a piece of thin cardboard and handed it to me to "start" for her so she could rip it. Then she looked around for the tub to put the pieces in. I made sure to explain to her that this was, in fact, scrap paper and she could rip it. We got her basket and she had a good time!

I have started letting her read "real books" that aren't board pages and she has been doing great. I of course have a little fear that she will have some ripping fun with one of these....but we will simply get out the scotch tape and have a firm talk that we "read books" and we "rip paper with our ripping basket." Teachable moment!

Older kids love this too---give them colored construction paper to rip up and then have them glue the pieces into letter shapes (makes a cool name plaque) or different pictures. Could they make a torn-paper shamrock? Give them a challenge and see if they could do it!
Also, you can challenge them to rip the paper into different shapes--this takes VERY fine motor control and is great practice! Can they rip a square? Circle? Star?

Another fun activity Q loves is to dump out her little scrap paper holder and then pick it all back up again! And she never misses a phone call while she does it, you can see, because she keeps two phones at her side!
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