Fine Motor Development 0-6 Years

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Fine Motor Skill Development

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

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2-4 months

reaches for objects inaccurately

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3-4 months

clasps hands together often
begins purposeful, visually directed reaching

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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

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4-10 months

develops accurate forward and side reach

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5-9 months

whole hand used to rake or scoop small objects to pick them up

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7-9 months

intentionally able to drop/release objects

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8-12 months

able to pick up small objects using thumb and finger/fingers
pokes and/or points with index finger

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1-1½ years

holds crayon or pencil with whole hand, thumb up

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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

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2½-3 years

strings large beads
snips paper with scissors
rolls clay/plasticine into "snake"
can draw and copy a horizontal line

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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

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½-4 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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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Fine Motor Development

Fine Motor Development Chart

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

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You may also be interested in the following pages:

Attention Milestones

Introduction to Language Development

Physical Development Introduction

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