How to Conduct Activities with Sharp Objects
Cooking activities are a fun, exciting way to get our early years interested in trying different foods. Similarly, using scissors in craft activities benefits children greatly, from strengthening hand muscles to building their hand-eye coordination and visual perception. However, early years children using sharp objects comes with a lot of risks. So how do we safely navigate risk assessing activities in the with sharp objects?
Education, Education, Education
While it may seem easier to keep our little ones away from sharp objects as much as possible, positively enabling them to handle sharp objects in a safe way is much more beneficial to their overall safety. If a child has been using scissors in their early years setting and then manages to get hold of some scissors at home, they will be much more aware of how to handle them safely, rather than experimenting with a new object and potentially injuring themselves.
A staple of all good early years settings, children’s safety scissors are designed to keep children as safe as possible. They have blunt ends to avoid puncture wounds, smaller handles for tiny hands and generally have less sharp blades than adult scissors (although this sometimes makes cutting more difficult!).
While the temptation with children’s knives is to go for something plastic and blunt, that may not actually help much. If children are struggling to chop vegetables, they may become frustrated and disinterested, and persisting in using a blunt knife can cause slipping and pinched fingers. Children’s knives are designed to reduce the risk of cuts while still being sharp enough to be used for cooking activities. For example, this Kinderkitchen Dog Knife has a fun, practical shape (the dog ears guard little hands from creeping on to the blade during use) and, while still not as sharp as adult knives, is sharp enough for soft foods and the perfect introduction to knife safety for your early years.
While giving children the independence to carry out their own task without too much help from an adult (unless they need it!), demonstrate the task yourself a few times before, and during, the activity. This will give your early years the information they need while enabling them to take control of their own work.
When risk assessing any activity involving sharp objects, make sure you are fully aware of all the hazards that may come up. For example, checking all scissors for any damage or faultiness so they don’t break during use, making sure children won’t be working too close together and have their own ingredients or craft supplies to avoid any potential injuries while reaching for items and arranging the work area so all children can be seen at one time.
For more information on risk assessing activities in your setting, take a look at some of That Nursery Life’s previous articles:
- How To Risk Assess Activities in Your Setting
- How To: Involve Children in Risk Assessments
- Conducting Risk Assessments for Cooking Activities
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