Don’t toss that old bouquet of flowers. Use it in a flower cutting bin and give it life again (before death). This easy outdoor activity promotes fine motor skills, cutting skills, and science exploration.
What is a flower cutting bin?
It’s an easy activity: a flower cutting bin is a change for children to use scissors to cut flowers.
Learning to use and manipulate scissors on a non-paper material is incredibly important and beneficial. Setting up this “free play” cutting station is a great way to introduce, continue growth, or further mastery of scissor skills.
RELATED: Looking for more fun summer activities to try with kids? Check out my list!
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If you don’t have flowers readily on hand but really want to try this activity: go to your local grocery store. Ask about old, almost dead, can’t be sold flowers.
Many stores will give them away or at a wild discount. For the flowers in this activity, I got them for under $5, and got days of play out of them (we also used this same batch in flower soup).
Tip – How to help kids hold their scissors
One of the best parts of an activity like this is that it gives a low-key chance for kids to learn to use scissors.
When a child is learning to cut, they have a natural inclination to turn their wrists in the cutting process. It can be really hard to just tell them “stop turning your wrist” – it’s abstract and goes again what they naturally want to do.
So instead, try this:
Draw a smiley face on their thumb nail in permanent marker (it washes off) and tell them to “keep the smiley face up.”
While they’re working, give reminders to “keep the smiley up.”
This is a much easier redirect and visual clue for the child.
RELATED: Cutting skills is one of the unsung heroes of kindergarten readiness. Check out my other kindergarten readiness skills in this post.
Why using a flower cutting bin works
Learning to cut on paper is difficult.
It’s cumbersome, it’s awkward, and it usually involves a tricky end result (like trying to make a straight line or cut a circle).
Cutting straight lines and circles are advanced level scissor skills, so instead: start with free cutting in activities like this flower cutting bin that have no prescribed or preconceived expectation of outcome.
What kids cut is what they cut. Nothing needs to be straight or perfect or circular.
RELATED: Looking for more ideas to grow fine motor skills? Check out my list of 20+ fine motor activities.
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What to do with the flowers after the activity?
Again with the “please don’t throw out your flowers” plea.
There is still more to do with these flowers, even after they’ve been cut up.
Just add water and you have flower soup and a whole new activity for kids to try!
Frozen Flower Cubes
Freeze the flowers! Add water and put them in balloons or ice cube trays.
Toss the flowers in with baking soda and vinegar – it’s another great way to keep using these petals.
Frequently Asked Question
This will vary home to home, but I recommend introducing scissors between 2-3 years old. Kids then can become comfortable with scissors between 3-5 which support their use in school.
First off, I’m left-handed and so is my husband.
Lefties are incredible. There are many things we have to adjust while living in a very right-handed world, although it is often boiled down to just scissors. It’s more than just scissors.
I use right-handed scissors in my right hand. That’s how I adapted. I’m very grateful I learned on right-handed scissors because the world doesn’t have left handed scissors. In classrooms, offices, friend’s houses, businesses, and every junk drawer: right handed scissor are what’s available.
If I used left handed scissors, I would need to carry scissors with me always OR not be able to participate in cutting anything outside my home. I’m so glad I can use right handed scissors. It makes my life more accessible for me.
If you have a child who is left handed, I suggest starting with right handed scissors. Many lefties use right scissors in their left hand. That’s their adaptation. They can still use scissors out in the world, they just move them to their left hand.
Your child also might do what many lefties do: right handed scissors in our right hand. Don’t be shocked by this.
If your child is struggling to find an adaptation, then I would buy a left handed pair of scissors to see if that helps. Some lefties don’t adapt on this. That’s ok! I never adapted to using an ice cream/cookie scoop in my right hand (yes, that’s another thing we have to adapt).
Lefties are amazing. You can best support your leftie by giving them freedom of choice. Do not force them to use their right hand and do not assume they’ll always use their left.
I have a whole list of kindergarten readiness skills that I would love to share with you. Spoiler alert: kindergarten readiness is NOT as academic as you may have been led to believe. From asking questions to losing gracefully to scissor skills: kindergarten readiness is more about independence from parents than academic knowledge.