Happy Learners - Fine Motor Development 0-6 Years

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Fine Motor Development Chart Ages Birth to 6 Years

Children develop at very different rates and the chart is only a guide. Seek support from a professional if concerned about a child's development

0-3 months
  • hands most often remain closed
  • has involuntary grasp reflex when objects placed in palm
2-4 months
  • reaches for objects inaccurately
3-4 months
  • clasps hands together often
  • begins purposeful, visually directed reaching
3-7 months
  • can hold small objects in hand
4-8 months
  • can transfer objects from one hand to the other
  • can pick up cube/medium sized object easily
4-10 months
  • develops accurate forward and side reach
5-9 months
  • whole hand used to rake or scoop small objects to pick them up
7-9 months
  • intentionally able to drop/release objects
8-12 months
  • able to pick up small objects using thumb and finger/fingers
  • pokes and/or points with index finger
1-1½ years
  • holds crayon or pencil with whole hand, thumb up
2 years
  • holds crayon with whole hand, forearm turned so thumb is down
  • puts on shoes, socks, and shorts; takes off shoes and socks
  • can use a spoon by himself, keeping it upright
  • can draw and copy a vertical line
2½-3 years
  • strings large beads
  • snips paper with scissors
  • rolls clay/plasticine into "snake"
  • can draw and copy a horizontal line
3-3½ years
  • able to complete simple puzzles
  • can build a tower of nine small blocks or more
  • only needs help with buttons when getting
  • dressed/undressed
  • still confuses front/back for clothes, and right/left for shoes
  • can feed himself with little or no spilling
  • drinks from a cup/glass with one hand
3½-4 years
  • can pour his own drink from a jug if not too heavy
  • able to string small beads
  • can hold a pencil with a "tripod grasp" (3 fingers) but still moves forearm and wrist to write/draw/colour
4-4½ years
  • can use scissors to follow and cut both straight and curved lines
  • can manage buttons, zippers, and stud fastenings
  • can draw & copy a cross (vertical & horizontal intersecting lines)
4½-5 years
  • can hold fork using his fingers
  • can feed himself soup with little or no spilling
  • folds paper in half, making sure the edges meet
  • puts a key in a lock and opens it
5 years
  • can get dressed completely by himself, and usually tie shoelaces
  • cuts square, triangle, circle, and simple pictures with scissors
  • uses a knife to spread jam
  • uses a knife to cut soft foods
  • able to draw and copy a diagonal line
  • uses a "tripod grasp" (thumb & tips of first two fingers) & can now write, draw and colour using hand movement only
5½-6 years
  • can build a five block "bridge"
  • sufficient bilateral hand coordination to cut out complex pictures
  • able to copy a sequence of letters or numbers correctly
6 years
  • able to complete complex puzzles

By 6 years the majority of children will have developed their fine motor skills to be able to cope with everyday tasks like dressing & feeding themselves. They have the dexterity & eye-hand coordination to complete writing, art & craft activites. Fine motor ability continues to develop as children refine and practice skills.


Fine Motor Development

Fine Motor Development Chart

A PDF version of the above chart with space to tick off milestones achieved.

You may also be interested in the following pages:

Attention Milestones

Physical Development Introduction