Skill Building with the Expressive Arts

“I’m putting them all out to see which one is my favorite,” said the three year old. He was mesmerized by the assortment of shiny colored scissors, arranging them purposefully on the rug in the Expressive Arts room.


“Which one is your favorite” he asked, touching his own personal choices and reciting the color of each.

Observing his beautiful arrangement, I sensed his visual enjoyment.

In the Expressive Arts room, it’s difficult to distinguish the art materials from the tools used to work with them. The multi-colored scissors and brightly-colored tape add to the pleasure of art-making and the skills being developed.

“Look at this,” his classmate called out proudly. He had just cut a piece of tape for his “ghost catcher.” He grasped the ends of the long piece of tape in both hands and kept it from curling as he connected it to his artwork.


Fine motor skills are developed and strengthened as the children are motivated to cut and connect in the making of their creations.

As he taped, the boy enthusiastically relayed a long story on the mechanics of his “ghost catcher.” He elaborated playfully on how each part would first vacuum up and then trap the ghosts.

Storytelling and verbal skills, in addition to physical ones, are encouraged and strengthened as the preschoolers attend joyfully to their art-making.


  • Bins of tools or a display that is accessible to the children encourages and invites their use.
  • With easy accessibility, safety rules are also needed. Use repetition to make clear what is allowed to be cut (paper, tape, fabric, etc.) and what is not allowed (hair, skin, clothing, etc.)
  • Younger children will need monitoring for safety reminders.
  • Strong limits are encouraged for misuse. In Expressive Arts, using a scissor as a weapon instead of a tool will result in putting it away for the day. Having to learn to tear tape, or having to ask a friend to cut for you, is a kinesthetic memory that encourages proper use.
  • Creating an environment of safety gives the children the freedom to expand creatively and have a lot of fun.

Product Recommendations from Discount School Supply®:

Fiskars® for Kids Blunt Tip Scissors – Set of 12 (Item # CLST)

Printed Craft Tape – Set of 10 Rolls (Item # PRINTED)


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Recycling the Holidays | Teaching Peace With Elyse

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