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Fine Motor Skills

Many activities children participate in everyday involve fine motor skills - eating, getting

dressed, playing, coloring, and so on. Those tiny muscles in our hands allow us to complete activities we want and need to do daily. That is why it is so important to provide children with activities that will help strengthen those muscles and improve coordination so they can be independent little human-beings.

Fine Motor Development

It is important to note that all children will develop at different rates but it is helpful to understand the progression of skills so that you know what to expect next. Below you'll find the typical skills children learn at each stage of development.

Year One




Strong grasp reflex, random arm movements

1 to 2 months old

Briefly holds object placed in hand, reflexive grabbing on blanket

3 to 5 months old

Purposeful reaching and swiping with arms, brings hands to mouth

6 months old

Reaches while on belly, transfers objects between hands, grasps using palm, shakes toys

7 to 9 months old

Reaches in all directions, Pokes with index finger, uses a raking grasp, holds objects with thumb side of hand, places objects into a large container, finger feeds

10 to 12 months old

Holds objects with thumb and next 2 fingers, stacks 2-3 blocks, removes socks, starting to use a spoon and fork, pincer grasp by 12 months

Year Two



12 to 18 months old

Holds crayon with whole hand and thumb up, uses spoon with good accuracy

18 to 24 months old

Scribbles on paper, stacks 3-6 blocks, places simple shapes into form board, places objects in a small container, imitates vertical lines

Year Three



2 to 2.5 years old

Stacks 6-8 blocks, turns single pages in book, imitates vertical line, imitates horizontal line, imitates circle

2.5 to 3 years old

Strings large beads, holds crayon with thumb and fingers, snips paper with scissors

Year Four to Five



3.5 to 4 years old

Can place small pegs in holes, string small beads, hold pencil with 3 fingers, stack 9-10 blocks

4 to 4.5 years old

Can use scissors and cut straight and curved lines, can copy a cross

4.5 to 5 years old

Can fold paper in half making sure edges align, puts key in a lock, laces sewing cards


A child learns and grows so much in their first few years of life. As mentioned before it is important to remember that each child will develop at different rates. Giving children ample opportunities to engage with toys and everyday items will allow them to progress through all the skills mentioned above. If you have more questions about fine motor skills and development, email me at You can also join my facebook group for free resources, activity ideas, and education about all things occupational therapy at

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