Early Learning and Child Care Renfrew County

Fine Motor Skills

Fine motor skills refer to one's ability to grasp and utilize an object with their hands. This is important in almost all activities of life such as dressing, bathing, writing and cutting. Consequently fine motor skills are of the utmost importance in the classroom and throughout life.

Children develop fine motor skills step by step at an uneven pace, with periods of little progression which is normal. If however you feel your child may have a delay in his/her fine motor skills contact your Family Physician for more information regarding occupational therapy services.

Fine Motor Developmental Milestones

Birth to 3 Months

  • Arm movement is mostly random and asymmetrical
  • Hands are fisted
  • Grasps a finger or object is placed in hand
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Watches the movements of his/her hands

3 Months to 6 Months

  • Movements are mainly purposeful and more symmetrical
  • Reaches for toys with both hands
  • Hands are primarily open with thumbs out
  • Holds toys with palm and fingers but not thumb
  • Brings hands to midline
  • No longer stares at his/her hands
  • Looks at objects a few feet away

6 Months to 9 Months

  • Transfers objects hand to hand
  • Straightens elbows when reading
  • Rakes pellet-sized items with fingers
  • Holds items with fingers and thumb
  • Claps hands

9 Months to 12 Months

  • Points with index finger
  • Uses a neat, tip to tip pincer grasp on small pellet-seized items
  • Places items in an open container or into adult's hand

12 Months to 18 Months

  • Stacks two to three small blocks
  • Holds crayon in closed fist
  • Scribbles with a crayon using whole arm movements
  • Turns pages in a cardboard book (more than one at a time)
  • Holds object with one hand and manipulates it with the other
  • Places small items in a closed-neck bottle
  • Places one to two shapes in a three-shape geometric puzzle
  • Places large pegs in a pegboard

18 Months to 24 Months

  • Stacks three to five blocks
  • Snips paper with scissors
  • Strings two to three beads
  • Imitates vertical and circular scribbles
  • Turns pages of a book one at a time
  • Places tree shapes in a three shape geometric puzzle

2 Years to 3 Years

  • Imitates simple horizontal and vertical block designs
  • Imitates circle and vertical and horizontal lines
  • Unscrews screw-top lid
  • Begins manipulating small items within the hand
  • Cuts paper into two pieces
  • Holds crayon with fingers, not fist
  • May use one hand consistently in most activities

3 Years to 4 Years

  • Stacks five to seven small blocks
  • Imitates circle and cross
  • Manipulates clay and dough (pinches, rolls balls, snakes)

4 Years to 5 Years

  • Copies a square and cross
  • Cuts on a straight line
  • Begins to use thumb and index finger to hold pencil/crayon (tripod grasp)
  • Touches each finger to thumb
  • Buttons and unbuttons one button
  • Stacks 10 plus small blocks

5 Years to 6 Years

  • Colours inside the lines
  • Cuts out simple shapes
  • Copies triangle
  • Handedness well established
  • Mature, adult grasp of pencil well established

Fine Motor Activities
Pre-Printing Skills
Pencil Skills
Scissor Skills