“Fine motor” refers to the movements we make with the small muscles of the hands. Children start to use their hands right at birth to explore their own bodies and the world around them. Their fine motor skills develop as their whole body starts to move and become more stable. They also learn to do more things with their hands as their cognitive and social/emotional skills improve.

Below are some of the typical developmental milestones for fine motor skills..

3-4 years, your child will:

  • Build a tower of 9-10 small blocks
  • Use playdough to make balls, snakes, cookies, etc.
  • Build things with large linking blocks, such as Megablocks or Duplo
  • Draw a circle by herself
  • Copy a cross (+)
  • Imitate you drawing a square
  • Start to hold a crayon or pencil with a mature grasp (like an adult)
  • Cut across a piece of paper
  • Start to cut along a straight line
  • Manage buttons
  • Put on most items of clothing by herself, but may still need help with shirts and jackets
  • Feed himself well with a spoon and fork
  • Start to use one hand consistently for fine motor tasks
  • Cut along a straight line with scissors
  • Start to cut along a curved line, like a circle
  • Draw a cross by herself (+)
  • Copy a square
  • Begin to draw diagonal lines, like in a triangle
  • Start to colour inside the lines of a picture
  • Start to draw pictures that are recognizable
  • Build things with smaller linking blocks, such as Duplo or Lego
  • Put on his own clothing, but may still need help with fasteners like buttons/zippers
  • Start to spread butter or cut soft foods with a small table knife (with supervision)
  • Start to learn to print some capital letters

4-5 years, your child will:

  • Start to use one hand consistently for fine motor tasks
  • Cut along a straight line with scissors
  • Start to cut along a curved line, like a circle
  • Draw a cross by herself (+)
  • Copy a square
  • Begin to draw diagonal lines, like in a triangle
  • Start to colour inside the lines of a picture
  • Start to draw pictures that are recognizable
  • Build things with smaller linking blocks, such as Duplo or Lego
  • Put on his own clothing, but may still need help with fasteners like buttons/zippers
  • Start to spread butter or cut soft foods with a small table knife (with supervision)
  • Start to learn to print some capital letters