Please please please.....
Let your older toddlers and preschoolers explore with scissors. :-) Of course, supervise...it's when they aren't supervised when problems happen. I've seen many kindergarten scenarios where a child hasn't really ever picked up a pair of scissors because they "might hurt themselves, or cut their hair, or...". Why I say to "please let them explore" goes beyond they needing to practice so they don't get behind their classmates in kindergarten. Scissors are a great tools for building dexterity, control, etc of the fingers. And you know what...I haven't met one young child who has not enjoyed the repetition and cause-effect of snipping paper. This activity buys a busy mommy quite a bit of time!
So how do you "teach" your child to cut.
Number 1) let them explore.
I find that most children do not need an actual cutting program to learn how to cut. :-)
If you are concerned about them hurting themselves, start with a pair of plastic scissor and playdough snakes.
To help young children be successful use construction paper or cardstock, not much lighter-not much heavier then either of those.
T.'s activity today...
This was actually a glitter glue exploration. (He told me "it's hard to cut where the sugar is." !!! Love it!) Lately I've gotten in a habit of letting him explore with "art" on paper and then we turn it into a cutting exploration and then we turn the little pieces into a pasting exploration. Making use of all that lovely work! 3 different trays-3 different days. Typically I cut the same size strips, pretty thin, one snip and it's cut. Today I arranged strips from thinnest to thickest on the tray and encouraged him to go from the thinnest strips to the thickest strips. By the time he got to the thick ones he had to use two snips to get it cut apart.
Our next step is to start to include thick marker lines and see if he'll start snipping on the lines. :-)