Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Cutting shapes for crafts - making it simple

If you work with small children, you probably spend a good amount of time working on crafts with them.  Somehow, all those craft projects seem to need an abundance of cutting!  Sure, the children can do a lot of it, especially if there's a printable pattern they can work from, but what about the other times?  Dark colored paper, and especially black paper, are hard to work with!  What to do?
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!

Here are two tricks that work for me.  I hope they help you and your small ones keep sane and keep crafting!


The first trick is tracing the shapes onto black paper, using a regular pencil.  If you work in good light, the pencil lines show up beautifully - so you can hand those scissors and paper to the children and let them work on their fine motor skills as they do the cutting.  Isn't that a big part of why we do crafts in the first place?
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!

Another trick that works well, and requires even less work from you, is using a printed paper to guide the children's cutting.  I think we've all tried holding a stack of papers and cutting them all at once, and unless you have an incredible grip, the papers all end up turning just a little bit... and the shapes end up skewed.  Here's the solution: staples.

Yes, simply staple the pattern on top of the papers you need to cut out.  The trick is to make sure you staple around the outside of the pattern you want, preferably in several places.  Here I stapled the corners of my white pattern on top of black construction paper, so I could make a black penguin shape for this Penguin rookery craft.  Sure, we could have colored it black, but that wasn't the look I wanted on this project, and practicing scissor skills is so important.
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!
Now it's easy to cut both pieces of paper, and they aren't going anywhere.
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!
Make sure you end close to a stapled area, to keep your papers together until the last possible moment.
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!
Ta-da!
Two simple and easy ways to cut out multiple shapes for craft projects!
Not only do you have the desired piece cut from construction paper, but there's also a lovely white pattern piece.  I'm seeing another art project here, with positive and negative images.... but that's for another day!

Do you have any teacher tricks or life-hacks you'd like to share?  I'd love to hear them!

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