Fine Motor Skills

To many people, fine motor development means the way a child holds and uses pencils, crayons, and scissors, but fine motor development is much more. Fine motor skills are the small movements of the hands in co-ordination with the eyes. The development of fine motor control is a process of refining gross motor skills and they develop as the neurological system matures. Fine motor skills do not develop over-night, but with time and practice. It is more fun to learn while you play and this is especially important when practising fine motor skills.

All fine motor activities are built upon four important skills. These four skills must be learned before a child can go on to more complicated tasks. They are:

  • Grasping objects
  • Reaching out to objects
  • Releasing objects deliberately
  • Turning the wrist in various directions

Fine Motor Skills Milestones

By one year
Reaches, grasps, puts object in mouth
Picks things up with pincer grasp (thumb and one finger)
Transfers object from one hand to the other
Drops and picks up toy Points
Stacks objects
Removes pegs from a pegboard
Puts objects in a container

By two years
Builds tower of six small blocks
Places rings on a peg
Places five pegs in pegboard
Turns pages two or three at a time
Holds large crayon in fisted grasp
Scribbles
Imitates vertical stroke with crayon
Turns knobs
Throws small ball
Paints with whole arm movement, shifts hands, makes strokes
Pulls large popbeads apart
Threads large beads
Unwraps things

By three years
Turns single pages
Snips with scissors
Holds crayon with thumb and fingers (not fist)
Uses one hand consistently in most activities
Imitates circular, vertical, horizontal strokes
Paints with some wrist action – makes dots, lines, circular strokes
Rolls, pounds, squeezes, and pulls playdough
Builds a nine block tower
Strings small beads
Unscrews lid of a jar
Makes snips with scissors
Unbuttons

By four years
Builds tower of nine small blocks
Hammers in nails and pegs
Copies circle / cross
Manipulates playdough easily – rolls balls, snakes and makes biscuits

By five years
Cuts on line continuously
Copies cross and square
Prints some letters and numbers
Screws together a threaded objectAttempts tripod grasp on a pencil
Builds 10 block tower

By six years
Cuts out simple shapes
Copies triangle / square and first name
Colours within lines
Uses a tripod pencil grasp
Has decided on hand preference – is left or right handed
Pastes and glues appropriately
Completes a lacing card

By seven years
Copies diamond / rectangle
Copies printed letters
Ties a bow
Draws a line with a ruler

This information is a general guide, please keep in mind that each child is unique and develops skills at their own rate. If you are concerned about your child’s development, please ask your health visitor, doctor or child’s teacher for advice.

drawing

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