Dell’s favourite toy at the moment are a small pair of scissors. I usually have some with me — even when we’re out and about — and they’re a great distraction for Dell when she finds she can’t join in with her older sisters’ games.

Delaney plays with scissors outdoors, January 2013
Wherever we park, the scissors are a great toy to take outside. They provide hours of contented play with minimal harm done to the plants around us.

As we spend time outdoors, I’m learning to let go of my arbitrary notions about what are “inside” toys and which can be played with outside. Last year, we watched as our girls used their sticky-tape to enhance their outdoor games, and this year we’re seeing the same with scissors.

Delaney plays with scissors outdoors, January 2013
Dell is happily occupied outside for hours if she has a pair of scissors with which to trim nearby plants.

The girls still love to personify items, and in our bus we have “Daddy scissors”, “Mummy scissors” and “Baby scissors”. I try to carry a pair of “Baby scissors” with my current crocheting kit, but I’m not the one using them most of the time.

Delaney plays with scissors outdoors, January 2013
Not only do the scissors work for cutting things, with a bit of care they're a pair of tongs!

Delaney plays with scissors outdoors, January 2013
With help from me (and her scissors), Dell picks up little bits of rubbish that she finds on the ground and disposes of them in the bin.

The girls love it when I call to them and ask for their crocodile to “take a bite”. This means that I need someone to cut my wool for me, and Dell has gotten very precise at cutting at the exact spot I request.

Taking the scissors outside is a great way to continue to build Delaney’s fine motor skills — without all the small bits of paper to clean up! The only collateral damage in months of play has been a small cut in one shirt and some nicks on soft toys as they’ve been held a bit too tightly with the scissors.

Delaney and Calista play with scissors outdoors, January 2013
Two scissors are better than one. Working together, the girls trim the weeds.

If you have a small child who likes to cut things in the home, you may find — like us — that taking the scissors outside is very freeing! Dell can prune to her heart’s content and it’s barely noticeable, the mess biodegrades quickly, and a little girl is happy doing a familiar activity wherever we pull up. Go for it!