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If it seems like your little one has gone from barely being able to hold a crayon to creating refrigerator-worthy collages overnight, you’re probably not imagining things. Young minds—and motor skills!—grow faster than we realize. And as any parent who has shopped for school supplies can attest, the list of tools for keeping kids creatively challenged does, too. “Kids have different needs at different ages,” explains Stephanie Brown, senior product manager of kids scissors at Fiskars. “A 2-year-old can snip the edge of a piece of paper, while a 3-year-old can cut it in half, and a 4-year-old can begin to cut shapes.”

That’s why it’s important to match kids with the right tools at the right age—especially when it comes to scissors. The correct pair can help eliminate frustration and encourage self-expression while still offering protection from cuts and pokes. “Kids need dedicated time to flex creative muscles, practice critical thinking, and explore problem-solving—these skills are so critical for today’s children as they grow up in a rapidly evolving world,” says Brown. “It’s our job to give them the tools to fuel those creative-thinking skills.”

Below, we’ve rounded up the best scissors for little hands and imaginative minds of every age, plus a few fun ideas for how to use them.

For Preschoolers (2–3)

For toddlers, just learning to hold a pair of scissors can be an exciting milestone in the development of early motor skills; they’re only beginning to understand how they can use their hands. “Two- and 3-year-old children are working on developing hand-eye coordination and bilateral coordination,” explains Brown. “Their brains are already doing so much work, and we want to remove any barriers to success.” For that reason, Brown recommends the Fiskars Starter Scissors, which are new this season and ideal for children ages 2-plus; they feature safe all-plastic blades and a built-in spring to help with the opening motion, allowing little ones to concentrate on learning the closing and cutting motions. The Fiskars Training Scissors, which are ideal for children 3-plus, have symmetrical handle loops to minimize struggles with how to hold; safe, plastic-covered blades; and an on-off spring to help with the opening motion as needed. Give your wee one something soft to “cut” for practice, like natural play dough. Cutting the pasty cubes is a breeze—and the cleanup will be easy.

For Elementary Schoolers (4-plus)

“Four-year-old children quickly become adept scissors users,” says Brown. They’re generally ready to try their hand at cutting straight lines and shapes on a range of “big kid” materials like textured construction paper, card stock, and even soft foam paper. Kindergartners and first graders might especially love “bleeding” tissue paper, which is whisper thin and fun to slice and creates a tie-dyed, watercolor effect when its strips are drizzled with water over white paper. For a project like that, Brown recommends Fiskars Blunt-Tip or Pointed-Tip Kids Scissors (5 inches), which have ergonomic handles and metal blades. “Our safe metal blades ensure kids experience success cutting a wide variety of classroom materials,” she explains. We take edge grind into account when developing kids’ scissors, making them safe for younger children and then a bit sharper for older ones—that’s one of the elements that we change, along with the handle size, as children move through our range of scissors.”

For Tweens (12-plus)

A sixth grader’s projects can take on a surprising amount of sophistication—suddenly your tween might be creating intricate dried flower collages or cutting fabric appliqués to be sewn onto clothing as patches. Or they might spend an afternoon cutting bandanas or old T-shirts into strips and braiding them into bespoke friendship bracelets for their squad. “We love the idea of gathering a bunch of materials found at home and letting their imaginations run wild by building something brand-new,” says Brown. Kids this age can cut almost anything, from fabric to poster board—basically adult-level cutting. However, keep in mind that their hands may still not be as big as a grown-up’s. “Our Student Scissors are smaller than adult scissors, so they’re perfect for those older children who are somewhere in the middle,” says Brown. Look for options like nonstick blades and Softgrip features—and bonus points if the handle comes in a cool design, like the Fiskars Sparkle Nonstick Softgrip Student Scissors (7 inches). Ideal inspiration for more creative projects down the line, no doubt.