How is Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills Developing?

Fine motor skill is the coordination of small muscle movements, which occur in body parts such as the fingers, usually in coordination with the eyes. With motor skills of hands and fingers, the term dexterity is commonly used. Humans have a high level of manual dexterity that develops as we grow through the development and use of the nervous system. Infants and children develop at their own pace. Use this guide to know what to expect as your child grows. If you have concerns, consult your physician or an occupational therapist.

BY 3 MONTHS
Arm movements are mostly random
Hands are fisted, thumbs tucked in
Brings hands to mouth
Follows a moving person with eyes
Holds object in hand
Watches the movement of their hands/arms

BY 6 MONTHS
Arm movements are more purposeful
Hands are mostly open, thumbs out
Picks up object with one hand
Reaches and briefly holds a toy with both hands
Holds hands together at center
BY 9 MONTHS
Holds 2 objects, one in each hand
Transfers object from one hand to the other
Uses both hands to pick up large objects
Straightens elbows when reaching
Claps hands
Rakes small objects with fingers

BY 12 MONTHS
Puts small objects in cup or container
Points and pokes index finger
Turns book pages a few at a time

BY 18 MONTHS
Builds tower of 2 or more blocks
Holds marker in fist
Scribbles with crayon or pencil
Holds item with one hand and manipulates with other
Places 1-2 shapes in three-shaped puzzle
Places large pegs in pegboard

BY 24 MONTHS
Stacks 4-5 blocks
Turns pages of book 1 at a time
Places 3 shapes into three-shaped puzzle
Strings 2-3 large beads
Imitates vertical strokes
Starts to hold crayon with fingers and thumb

BY 3 YEARS
Strings 4 large beads
Turns single pages of book
Snips with scissors
Holds crayon with thumb and fingers
Imitates vertical and horizontal strokes
Rolls, squeezes, and pulls clay
Unscrews screw-top lids

BY 4 YEARS
Builds tower of nine small blocks
Draw or copies circle
Imitates cross
Manipulates clay
Cuts across paper with small scissors
Buttons and unbuttons large buttons
Puts on socks and shoes except for fasteners

BY 5-6 YEARS
Prints some capital letters
Prints first name
Shows hand preference
Colors inside the lines
Cuts out simple shapes
Copies triangle
Fastens snaps

BY 7-8 YEARS
By 7-8 years of age, fine motor skills are mostly proficient.
Practicing fine motor skills will help children to continue to refine their abilities.
For more information on our pediatric programs and how we can help your child, call us today!

At Pediatric Therapies, we are committed not only to helping your child realize his/her extraordinary possibilities, but also to focusing on the needs of your family. If you would like to know more about how we can help your child, give us a call today!