Fine Motor Developmental Milestones (0-6 years old)

  • These are approximate and general age expectations. It is important to recognize that some skill development is dependent upon the child’s level of exposure and teaching (i.e. forming letters, writing name, tying, scissor skills, drawing).



    • Random arm movements

    • Reflexive hand to mouth contact in side-lying

    • Strong grasp reflex

    • Hands open as arms stretch out


    1-2 Months:

    • Briefly retains objects places in hand

    • Reflexive scratching and clutching of blanket

    • Head turns and eyes fixate on the hand of an outstretched arm


    3-5 Months:

    • Purposeful reach and swipe with arms

    • Begins to reach forward and with both arms

    • Strong hand to mouth pattern


    6 Months:

    • Can reach while on belly without losing balance

    • Consistent, purposeful reach with vision guiding

    • Transfers object from hand to hand

    • Finger feeds biscuit

    • Consistent grasp with palm

    • Shakes and bangs toys 


    7-9 Months:

    • Reaches in all directions

    • Plays using arms (“So Big”, Peek a Boo”, “Pat a Cake”)

    • Pokes with index finger

    • Rakes tiny object with fingers

    • Grasps with the thumb side of the hand

    • Releases objects from hands, and into large container

    • Assists with cup and spoon feeding

    • Finger feeds greater variety of food sizes and shapes


    10-12 Months:

    • Grasps using thumb and next two fingers

    • Pincer grasp with pad of thumb and index finger at 10 months

    • Pincers with tip of thumb and index finger at 12 months

    • Places on block on top of another 

    • Removes socks, finger feeding and cup drinking improve

    • Imitates adult’s use of tools (brushing hair)

    • Uses hands to push, pull, squeeze, and rotate

    • Bangs two blocks/cubes together


    12-24 Months:

    • Points with index finger

    • Places many objects into a container 

    • Places simple shapes into form board (simple puzzle)

    • Places tiny objects into small container

    • Uses both hands together at middle of body

    • Stacks 2-6 block tower

    • Scribbles spontaneously

    • Imitates a vertical stroke

    • Imitates a circular stroke


    2-3 Years

    • Stacks a tower of 6-8 blocks

    • Turns single pages in book

    • Imitates, then copies drawing a vertical line, horizontal line, and a circle

    • Pushes, winds, slides to activate toy

    • Unscrews and screws jar lids

    • Strings several large beads (1-1.5 inches)

    • Holds crayon with thumb and fingers

    • Begins to snip paper (with teaching for holding scissors)


    3-4 Years

    • Stacks tower of 9-10 blocks

    • Imitates a 4-block design

    • Folds and creases paper

    • Completes 3-8 pieces inset puzzle

    • Strings small beads

    • Holds pencil with thumb and fingers

    • Imitates, then copies a cross (+)

    • Draws a 2 part person

    • Grossly colors one imagine on a page and attempts to stay within lines

    • Uses scissors to cut forward on a thick line (6 X ¼ inch)

    • Snaps clothing

    • Uses spoon and fork with little to no spilling

    4-5 Years

    • Imitates a 4-6 block design

    • Laces swing card

    • Copies diagonal line

    • Imitates a square and triangle

    • Imitates and X

    • Draws a 3 part person 

    • Buttons front opening clothing

    • Opens all fasteners

    • Uses scissors to cut out a circle, square, and triangle

    5-6 Years

    • Builds complex structures with legos, tinder toys, or similar toys

    • Completes 10-25 piece interlocking puzzle

    • Copies a triangle

    • Imitates, then copies a rectangle

    • Connects two dots with a straight line

    • Colors numerous small areas with attention to accuracy and color

    • Copies, then prints first name from memory

    • Copies letters and numbers

    • Draws a person with head, facial parts, arms, legs, trunk, hands and feet

    • Uses scissors to cut out simple, then complex figures

    • Draws simple picture

    • Ties laces into a bow (with teaching)

    • Cuts soft food with safety knife