Fine Motor Developmental Milestones 

Are you concerned about your child's fine motor development or sensory difficulties? It is very common for parents to wonder if their child is developing at age-appropriate levels. The information below indicates the typically developing fine motor milestones from birth to six years of age, according to Super Duper, Inc.. If you have concerns about two or more items within one age group, an occupational therapy assessment may be necessary. Auburn Therapy and Learning Center is happy to answer your questions!

Birth to 3 months

• Hands are fisted
• Grasping reflex when placing a finger or   object in hand
• Brings hands to mouth
• Watches the movements of his/her hands


3 - 6 months

• Movements are mainly purposeful and  more symmetrical
• Reaches for toys with both hands
• Hands are primarily open with thumbs out
• Holds toys with palm and fingers but not thumb
• Brings hands to midline
• No longer stares at his/her hands
• Looks at objects a few feet away

6 - 9 months

9 - 12 months

• Transfers objects hand to hand
• Straightens elbows when reaching
• Rakes pellet-sized items with fingers
• Holds items with fingers and thumb
• Claps hands

• Points with index finger
• Uses a neat, tip to tip pincer grasp on small pellet-sized items
• Places items into an open container or into adult’s hand

• Stacks two to three small blocks
• Holds crayon in closed fist (power grasp)
• Scribbles with a crayon using whole arm movements
• Turns pages in a cardboard book (more than one at a time)
• Holds object with one hand and manipulates it with the other
• Places small items in a closed-neck bottle
• Places one to two shapes in a three-shape geometric puzzle
• Places large pegs in a pegboard

12 - 18 months

18-24 months

• Stacks three to five blocks
• Snips paper with scissors
• Strings two to three beads
• Imitates vertical and circular scribbles
• Turns pages of a book one at a time
• Places three shapes in a three shape  geometric puzzle

2-3 years

• Imitates simple horizontal and vertical  block designs
• Imitates a circle and vertical and  horizontal lines
• Unscrews screw-top lid
• Begins manipulating small items within  the hand
• Cuts paper into two pieces
• Holds crayon with fingers, not fist  (pronated grasp)
• May use one hand consistently in  most activities

3-4 years

• Stacks five to seven small blocks
• Imitates circle and cross
• Manipulates clay and dough (pinches, rolls balls, snakes)

4-5 years

• Copies a square and cross
• Cuts on a straight line
• Begins to use thumb and index finger to hold pencil/crayon (tripod grasp)
• Touches each finger to thumb
• Buttons and unbuttons one button
• Stacks 10 plus small blocks

5-6 years

• Colors inside the lines
• Cuts out simple shapes
• Copies triangle
• Writes first name
• Handedness well established
• Mature, adult grasp of pencil well established (dynamic tripod)

*By 7 to 8 years of age,  children generally are proficient with most fine motor skills. As with many skills, practice  improves performance;  therefore, refinement of already acquired fine motor skills  can continue into adulthood.