Fine Motor Development Milestones

Use the following Fine Motor Skills Development milestones based on age groups as a general guideline to assess your child’s fine motor skills and help your child develop healthily in his or her early childhood.

We suggest parents to ask the following questions while you access your child’s fine motor skills.

  • Is your child able to adequately perform the various activities involved in the fine motor skills by his or her age group listed bellow?
  • Are your child’s fine motor skills developing “normally”?
  • Does your child need “extra help” developing these skills?

Age Group Milestones (0 – 6 years)

0-3 Months

  • Hands most often remain closed
  • Retain an object if placed in palm
  • Play with hands
  • Play with some baby toys that produce sound

3-4 Months

  • Can reach for objects on purpose but inaccurately
  • Be able to clasp hands together often

4-8 Months

  • Hold small objects in hand
  • Pass objects from one hand to the other
  • Pick up medium sized object easily
  • Sometimes place objects in mouth
  • Use pads of fingertips to grasp small objects
  • Pull objects out of container

9-10 Months

  • Develops accurate forward and side reach
  • Use fingers, palm, whole hand to scoop up cereals, raisins etc.
  • Drop or release objects intentionally
  • Place objects in containers
  • Pull a string to activate a toy

10-12 Months

  • Pick up small objects using fingers
  • Point with index finger
  • Place one peg into a hole repeatedly

12-18 Months

Hold a crayon with whole hand

2 Years

  • Hold a crayon with thumb and fingers
  • Put on shorts, socks, and shoes
  • Take off shoes and socks
  • Use a spoon
  • Draw and copy a vertical line
  • Stack large objects

2 1/2- 3 Years

  • String large beads
  • Cut paper with scissors
  • Roll clay into “snake”
  • Draw and copy a horizontal line
  • Throw a ball

3-3 1/2 Years

  • Complete simple puzzles
  • Build a tower of nine small blocks or more
  • Get himself or herself dressed and
  • undressed independently; only needs help with buttons and zippers; sometimes still confuses front or back for clothes, and right or left for shoes
  • Feed himself or herself with little or no spilling, drinks from a cup with one hand

3 1/2- 4 Years

  • String small beads
  • Pour drink from a pitcher if not too heavy
  • Hold a pencil with 3 fingers, but moves forearm and wrist to write, draw and color

4-4 1/2 Years

  • Use scissors to cut both straight and curved lines
  • Manage snaps, buttons, and zippers
  • Draw and copy a cross with one vertical and one horizontal intersecting line

4 1/2- 5 Years

  • Hold fork using fingers
  • Feed soup with little or no spilling by himself or herself
  • fold paper in half, making sure the edges meet
  • Put a key in a lock and open it

5 Years

  • Get dressed completely by himself or herself
  • Tie shoelaces
  • Use a dull knife to cut soft foods
  • Draw and copy a diagonal line
  • Cut square, triangle, circle, and other simple pictures with scissors
  • Since small muscles of hand have developed, can use a “tripod grasp” with thumb & tips of 1st two fingers and uses fingers only to write, draw and color
  • Copy simple shapes

5 1/2- 6 Years

  • Cut out complex pictures accurately following the outline
  • Copy a sequence of letters and numbers correctly
  • Complete complex puzzles

By 6 years old, children’s fine motor skills have developed sufficiently enough to complete feeding, dressing and writing tasks properly and efficiently. They have developed adequate skillfulness in the use of the hands and body, their bilateral coordination and eye-hand coordination are developed well to complete cutting and writing tasks. Children will continue to develop and refine these skills; however the foundation is laid down within the first six years. This is why parents should assure that your child’s fine motor skills developed are in the normal range during your child’s early childhood.

Parents can do a lot of things to help your child’s Fine Motor Skills Development, to provide your child sufficient crayons, papers, toys, games, and activities and let him or her practice and enhance these skills during his or her early childhood are crucial for your child’s future success in both personal life and professional life.

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