Use play dough as boundaries for cutting

For kids who have a hard time cutting anywhere near a line, try using play dough as a “road” for them to cut on. I used this on-the-fly earlier this week for a kiddo who has no concept of paying attention to lines when cutting, but he was able to follow directions to “keep your scissors on the road!”


Have them help you roll out the play dough and press it on the paper with their pointer finger…it sticks really well! (Wikki Stix work also, but not everyone has them just lying around and they don’t stick to paper quite as well.) You can adjust the width of the road to increase or decrease the challenge, and you can of course make any shape you want them to practice cutting. For more concrete guidance, try drawing the boundaries on the paper with marker so they have some guidance as to where to place the play dough in order to make their road. The more angles and curves, the trickier. You can also draw a thick line for them to keep their scissors on in the middle of the road. Try it out!

If you have more financial resources and prep time, you can also use glitter glue, puff paint, or craft foam to give kids physical boundaries for cutting. Find out how by clicking here.

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Mama OT In addition to being mama to two sweet little boys and wife to a crazy awesome husband, Christie is a Registered & Licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L). She holds a B.A. in Psychology with a Minor in Education from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA...Go Bruins!), and an M.A. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC OT). She has experience working as a pediatric OT in early intervention (birth to 3), clinic-based, and school-based settings. Her mission with is to encourage, educate, and empower those who care for children. Christie loves that she gets to PLAY when she goes to work, is hopelessly addicted to Kettle Corn, and is known for being able to turn virtually anything into a therapeutic tool or activity, from empty food containers to laundry and everything in between. Learn more about Christie and what inspired her to become an OT.

Occupational therapy (OT) is a holistic profession that helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities, also known as “occupations”. Some OTs help people diagnosed with disability, injury, or disease. Others help prevent disability, injury, or disease. Because of occupational therapy, people of all ages are able to say, "I can!" no matter what their struggle. Isn't that amazing?!

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Please provide appropriate supervision to the child in your care when completing any activities from this site. You as the grown-up will need to decide what types of products/activities on this list will be safe for your child. If you’re not sure, check with your child’s occupational therapist or pediatrician. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when implementing any ideas or activities from this site, particularly if there is any risk of injury (e.g., falling, crashing), choking (e.g., small parts), drowning (e.g., water play), or allergic/adverse reaction (e.g., materials/ingredients). The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site. 

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7 thoughts on “Use play dough as boundaries for cutting

  1. so excited to see this today. I just saw your blog the other day, when AOTA sent out an email talking about it. I work with babies 0 – 3 so this will be a great idea to try with my older kids who are starting to learn scissor skills… thanks for sharing.. I love your blog!!

  2. omg, I am so excited to see this idea on pinterest. I have been searching for an idea like this for my son, who is not able to pay enought attention on the paper and I have thought of glitter glue paint etc to line the “road” , but this is such a easily available idea.

    • Yay, hope it helps! You can also use Wiki Stix to create raised, tactile boundaries. But, yes, play dough is so easily available, I hope it works for you and for him.

  3. Pingback: Valentine's Day Fine Motor Craft - Mama OTMama OT

  4. We actually cut the play doh for practice. Make a long snake and cut away. Work in a Christian preschool so elbows in thumb up to the LORD!!!!!

So, whadya think?