Fine Motor Skills & Activities

Fine motor skills involve the coordination of small muscle movements of the fingers that enable functions such as writing, grasping small objects, and fastening clothing. Additionally, fine motor skills involve strength, fine motor control, and dexterity which are important in most school activities, as well as in life in general.

Fine Motor Development

2-6 months

  • Grasps a rattle, holds bottle with both hands
  • Clasps hands together
  • Reaches, pulls objects to mouth
  •  Pulls at clothes
  • Picks up objects using “raking” motion with fingers

6-9   months

  • Bangs object on table
  • Transfers object  hand to hand
  • Claps hands together
  • Feeds self finger foods

9-15 months

  • Holds small object between thumb and index finger (pincer grasp)
  • Marks on paper with crayon
  • Puts three or more objects into a container
  • Builds tower of two cubes
  • Drinks from cup/feeds self with spoon

15-18 months

  • Scribbling, imitates vertical stroke
  • Builds tower of four cubes, puts four rings on stick
  • Removes shoes and socks
  • Turns knobs

2-3 years

  • Copies a circle and a cross
  • Strings four large beads
  • Turns page in a book
  • Snips with scissors on a line
  • Buttons and unbuttons large  buttons

4-5 years

  • Copies a square
  • Prints own name with a tripod pencil grasp
  • Ties shoelaces
  • Cuts on line continuously

5-6 years

  • Copies a triangle
  • Cuts out simple shapes
  • Prints numerals from 1 to 5
  • Color within lines
  • Pastes and glues

Fine Motor Activities

Infants

  • Offer your baby a rattle to hold
  • Let your baby feel many different textures
  • Help teach your baby to pick up small objects by offering small bits of food

Toddlers

  • Show baby how to drop objects into a container
  • Show your baby how to bang two small objects together
  • Show your baby how to find a toy by pulling a cloth or blanket off a partly hidden toy
  • Encourage playing with blocks and nesting toys

2-3 years

  • Encourage play with puzzles, blocks, nesting toys and drawing materials
  • Show your child how to draw shapes such as circles, lines, faces and stick figures
  • Give your child an empty egg carton to use for “pockets” and have the child sort things such as different kinds of buttons, colors etc.
  • Encourage cutting, using child safety scissors
  • Sewing cards
  • Finger painting

4-5 years

  • Continue puzzles, drawing, sorting, cutting and gluing
  • Watercolor paints with a brush
  • Coloring books
  • Help your child print simple letters such as his name

5-6 years

  • Continue puzzles, drawing, sorting, cutting, pasting
  • Use clay  to help your child make objects and animals
  • Show your child how to make simple recipes, such as cookies from a mix
  • Help your child use a hammer, saw and nails with supervision

Sources: Denver Developmental Activities, Communications Works Developmental Milestones

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