Fine Motor Development Chart: Helping You Recognize Fine Motor Delays In Your Child
Use this fine motor development chart to assess YOUR child's fine motor
Oh, the questions we ask ourselves, and, are asked of us...
Is he on target or delayed?
Is he able to adequately perform the variety of fine motor skills listed?
Will he need "extra help" developing these skills?
Does he need an early intervention or Occupational Therapy referral?
Is he developing "normally"?
Has he missed any fine motor
skills along the way?
How do I know if he is just slower to develop or is significantly delayed?
On and on the questions may go
Well, let me simplify this for you. It's easy... generally, the more
skills he HASN'T developed for his age group (which includes all prior age
group skills listed), the more his delay will be
This is why I have
broken this fine motor development chart into stages based on age. Find
your child's age and make sure he can do, or has done, the fine motor skills listed.
You need to know, there are many specific factors and components involved
in proper fine motor development. Believe me, I will not "bore" you with
all the "nitty-gritty" details (i.e.. postural control and stability; hand,
wrist, and shoulder movement and development; intrinsic muscle development;
the different types of developmentally appropriate grasps, etc.). We
will leave that to the Occupational Therapists!
What I DO want you to know, is WHAT fine motor skills are developmentally
important, and WHEN they should have developed by. In other words... a
GENERAL fine motor skills checklist. Use this fine motor development
chart as a general guideline (not an official diagnosis).
If your child is unable to do MULTIPLE fine motor tasks listed for his
age, then an
occupational therapy or
early intervention referral may be appropriate. If a referral is made,
standardized tests and professional clinical observations will be used to
determine if your child has an official fine motor delay. Until then...
(Also, keep in mind this fine motor development chart is a good "guide"
for buying toys... just look at the next developmental milestone and you will
easily know what kinds of toys to buy that will develop those skills.)
Fine Motor Development Chart:(Ages 0-5)
hands most often remain closed
has grasp reflex (grasps objects involuntarily if placed in palm)
reaches for ("swipes at") objects inaccurately
3-3 1/2 MONTHS
clasps hands together often
3 1/2- 4 MONTHS
begins purposeful, visually directed reaching
can hold small objects in hand
can transfer objects from one hand to the other
can pick up cube/medium sized object easily
develops accurate forward and side reach
"rakes" or "scoops" small objects to pick them up (i.e. using
fingers/palm/whole hand to scoop up Cheerios, raisins etc.
intentionally able to drop/release objects (get ready for the
able to pick up small objects using thumb and finger/fingers
pokes and/or points with index finger
holds crayon with whole hand, thumb up
holds crayon with thumb and all fingers, forearm turned so thumb is
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
2 1/2- 3 YEARS
strings large beads
snips paper with scissors
rolls clay/playdoh into "snake"
can draw and copy a horizontal line
3-3 1/2 YEARS
able to complete simple puzzles
can build a tower of nine small blocks or more
can get himself dressed/undressed independently; only needs help
with buttons; still confuses front/back for clothes, and right/left for
can feed himself with little or no spilling, drinks from a cup/glass
with one hand
3 1/2- 4 YEARS
can pour his own drink from a pitcher if not too heavy
can place small pegs into small holes
able to string small beads
can hold a pencil with a "tripod grasp" (3 fingers), but moves
forearm and wrist to write/draw/color
4-4 1/2 YEARS
can use scissors to follow and cut both straight and curved lines
can manage buttons, zippers, and snaps completely
can draw and copy a cross (one vertical and one horizontal intersecting lines)
4 1/2- 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
can get dressed completely by himself, and usually tie shoelaces
cuts square, triangle, circle, and simple pictures with scissors
uses a knife to spread food items (jelly, peanut butter, mayo etc.),
uses a dull knife to cut soft foods
able to draw and copy a diagonal line
uses a "tripod grasp" on writing utensils (thumb & tips of 1st two
fingers) and uses fingers only (because small muscles of hand have
developed) to write/draw/color
5 1/2- 6 YEARS
can build a five block "bridge"
sufficient bilateral hand coordination to cut out complex pictures,
accurately following the outline
able to copy a sequence of letters or numbers correctly
able to complete complex puzzles
Therefore, by 6 years old, a child's fine motor skills have developed
sufficiently enough to complete writing, dressing, and feeding tasks
properly and efficiently. A child will now have adequate dexterity,
bilateral coordination, and eye-hand coordination to complete writing and
Children will continue to develop and refine these skills, but the
foundation is developed and laid down within the first six years. This
is precisely WHY a child will need toys, games, and activities to
practice and enhance these skills during his early childhood.
If your infant/toddler/preschooler/kindergartener is unable to complete the age
appropriate tasks, please understand the importance of getting help and using
additional practice. These skills listed on this fine motor development chart
are a CRITICAL guide to proper fine motor skill development. If your child is
falling behind, please talk to his teacher or occupational therapist! They will
thank you later. ;0)
Click Here To Find Out If Your Child May Need An Early Intervention Referral
Click Here For Handwriting Help
Click Here For Activities To Develop Scissor Skills
Click Here For Pre-Writing Skills Activity Ideas
Click Here To Return To Fine Motor Skills Activities Page
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