At 18 months (and even now), it’s not easy to sustain Hannah’s interest in a particular activity. Her attention span is around 10-15 minutes maximum. So, to keep her busy, I would normally prepare at least two activities. Other in-between activities include reading, drawing, puzzles etc (no or minimal preparation required).
On a particular day, I might prepare puffy paint and let Hannah use kitchen utensils to make patterns and shapes. Her favourite utensil is definitely the food masher! She would say “PRESS!” while pressing the masher on paper.
To make puffy paint, simply mix hot water and cornstarch. Stir until the solution becomes gooey and you can add the food dye. To control the “gooeyness”, just add more cornstarch or water.
Snip and cut – introducing the scissors
Hannah would always hanker after my scissors when I prepare the craft materials. I wasn’t sure when to introduce the scissors to Hannah, for fear that she might hurt herself. So I did my research on the Internet, and realised that some parents and Montessori programs started introducing it as early as 18 months. I decided to give it a shot.
I bought a plastic craft scissors set from Daiso. It comes with six interchangeable blades. Firstly, I laid ground rules for Hannah when handling a pair of scissors: (1) No using of scissors without Mama or Papa’s supervision. (2) Never put fingers on the inner blades. (3) No running with scissors.
Next, I showed Hannah how to hold a scissors, and practice opening and closing the scissors. Then, I began letting her cut play-dough. Once she got the hang of cutting, we started to cut across pieces of heavy paper e.g. magazine covers and cards.
More info on scissor-cutting skills
Before learning to use the scissors, these are the pre-requisite skills needed:
- Able to use a fork or spoon
- Open and close the hand and grasp and release objects voluntarily
- Use hands in a leader/assist fashion e.g. one hand holding jar, the other opening the lid
- Stabilise the wrist, elbow and shoulder