A few posts back, I wrote about the Necklace Work that I have out on the art shelf in my Montessori classroom. As I mentioned in that post, the necklace activity will be out all year with seasonal variations for the items to be strung. Another activity that will always be out on the art shelf is the Cutting Activity. This activity is pictured below.
From left to right on the shelf are: a basket with scissors, blue baskets to hold the materials (I am now thinking I will move those to the far left), a divided holder with the cutting strips, and a basket with small ziploc baggies. When I had this work out in my previous Montessori school, we used envelopes instead of baggies to contain the pieces. However, when I visited a Montessori school earlier this summer, I saw that the teacher had put out little baggies. I found these at Hobby Lobby. They are intended to hold jewelry and I was able to buy a few hundred for only a few dollars.
To do this activity, the child takes a blue basket and places scissors, cutting strips, and a baggie inside. They then take this to a table. As they cut the pieces, the basket can catch the cuttings. When finished, the pieces are placed into the baggie which can be taken home. The aim of this activity is to practice cutting.........period. Therefore, the product of this activity is a lot of little pieces of paper. For young children who have had limited experience with scissors, it is much easier to cut through a narrow strip than to cut out a shape from a larger piece of paper. They can easily succeed at this activity because they need only to make one complete snip to cut through the paper.
When I previously taught in a Montessori classroom my three-year-olds LOVE LOVE LOVED this work. Many of them chose to do it first every day and spent quite a bit of time mastering their cutting skills. I introduced this activity to my three-year-old son earlier this summer and was surprised at how long he worked on it. His concentration was deep and intense as he tried to master a completely new skill. How wonderful it is in a Montessori environment to be allowed to spend an extended amount of time perfecting skills and learning without being told it's time to stop and do the next thing!
An extension of this activity is to have children use their cuttings to make a collage on a piece of construction paper using glue. I have also suggested to parents that they could save the cuttings to use as confetti when they send cards to family members. I don't know if anyone ever did this. However, I think it could be fun to receive a card with handmade confetti. I guess the fun factor depends on the recipient. I assume that most grandparents would appreciate a card with confetti made by their grandchild; daddy's boss---------maybe not so much! :0)