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Musically Montessori: Learning to Use Scissors by Playing the Castanets!

UNTIL JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, I DIDN'T REALIZE THE MAGICAL CONNECTION BETWEEN LEARNING HOW TO PLAY CASTANETS AND LEARNING HOW TO USE SCISSORS!  Looking for a fun Montessori-style musical cutting activity for your group? See my Freebie link at the end of this article! 



This week we have been playing castanets in our Montessori Music classes as we continue with our "Echo Singing" and "Echo Rhythms" exploration. With a castanet in each hand the children were able to make the castanets look like they were "talking to each other" and answering like an echo. As we were practicing the movement of manipulating the castanets, a four year old looked up at me and said, "It's like scissors!"

Okay, do you still think you might need a rationale for playing rhythm instruments with your little kids? 

Playing castanets is a bit of a challenge for young children, and the motion they are mastering uses the same muscles that are needed to cut with scissors, which is also a bit of a challenge for young children. I have discovered over the years that children need lots of practice manipulating child-size scissors and lots of practice exercising those muscles of the hand. Violá!  I discovered a fun magic ingredient in the process of learning how to use scissors!
These wooden castanets are available at Amazon: Link here

Just like using scissors, playing castanets has a step-by-step progression that I have observed in music class with young children aged 2 1/2- 6 yrs. It's a magical connection!

WHOLE HAND GRASP
The easiest for the youngest is placing the castanets on the floor and pressing down with the full opened hand. (whole hand grasp) This brings the sound out without having to use the smaller muscles of the fingers. 



Photos from Kiran's Montessori

I have observed that children generally go through a similar process of steps in developing their skills using scissors. The first time a young child picks up scissors they often hold the scissors with more of a full hand hold using both hands, rather than using the fingers of one hand.

Photo from Adobe Stock

MANIPULATING WITH FINGER HOLD
With more practice, the child begins to use the muscles of the fingers to grasp the castanets in a more refined manner. 

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company 

Likewise, the child begins to use the muscles of the fingers to grasp the scissors in a more refined manner. 

Photo from Adobe Stock

REFINING THE PINCER GRASP
USING THE MUSCLES OF THE FINGERS
With more exploration, the child begins to manipulate the small muscles of the fingers to not only grasp the the castanets, but to squeeze so them so that they make a sound. 


Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company

ADJUSTING AND REFINING 
THE FINE MOTOR SKILLS
After the child has gotten the idea of how to hold the scissors,  child will begin cutting by manipulating the scissors rather than the paper. 

Photo by Adobe Stock

MASTERY OF SKILLS
After more practice, the child has developed the coordination of the muscles of the hand and the connection to the beat of the song...mastery!

Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius for Magical Movement Company

Now, we can observe that the child has mastered the art of using scissors when s/he has not only developed the skill of grasping the scissors but also of moving the paper rather than moving the scissors!  

Photo from Adobe Stock


LOOKING AT THE PROGRESSION
OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT








Just in case you are looking for more musical activities that increase the cognitive development in the child, specifically to learn how scissors work, you will enjoy this video with a song about cutting with scissors!

SING AND DANCE: SCISSORS!



Now, for my favorite part of music...dancing! This video is a recording of one of my favorite dances for preschool aged children. "The Scissors Dance performed by Shenanigans." Scroll down to see the motions for this dance. And, here is the link to download this music: Scissor Dance at Amazon



Scissor Dance

How to do this dance:
   For Part A:
A1. Step right foot to right, close left foot to right foot. (like scissors)
A2. Repeat
A3. Clap 3 times (with the clapping in the music)
A4. Step left foot to left, close right foot to left foot. (like scissors)
A5 Repeat 
Repeat all of part A

  For the Part B: 
B1. Take 2 slow steps forward
B2. Make 3 quick jumps backwards
Repeat all of part B 3 times more.

I learned this simple dance in my Orff-Schulwerk training many years ago and I have done this dance with many Preschool groups over the years. Very fun!

I invite you to visit my Magical Movement Company Facebook Page, "Montessori Magic Friday"  to check out my FREE DOWNLOAD to go along with your activities for scissor work with your group!



You can also access my new Freebie Collection at my website by subscribing to my Newsletter, where you can download this activity and many others! Here is that link: Free Resources for Educators 

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Thanks for visiting my blog today and I hope you have gotten some ideas for activities with your group!


Advertising Disclosure: Magical Movement Company may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. Thanks for your support! 





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