Fine Motor Development Checklist





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One of our most important priorities in our program is to ensure children develop fine motor control. Some examples the questions we ask ourselves, and, are asked of us...

  • Is he/she on target or delayed?
  • Is he/she able to adequately perform the variety of fine motor skills listed?
  • Will he/she need "extra help" developing these skills?
  • Does he/she need an early intervention or Occupational Therapy referral?
  • Is he/she developing "normally"?
  • Has he/she missed any fine motor skills along the way?
  • How do I know if he/she is just slower to develop or is significantly delayed?

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.). 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/her age, then an 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.)

Use this fine motor development chart to assess YOUR child's fine motor skills.

Fine Motor Development Checklist
(Ages 0-6)

Age Range

Developmental Task


12-18 MONTHS

  • holds crayon with whole hand, thumb up



  • holds crayon with thumb and all fingers, forearm turned so thumb is pointing down
  • puts on shoes, socks, and shorts; takes off shoes and socks
  • can use a spoon by themselves, 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 themselves dressed/undressed independently; only needs help with buttons; still confuses front/back for clothes, and right/left for shoes
  • can feed themselves with little or no spilling, drinks from a cup/glass with one hand


3 1/2- 4 YEARS

  • can pour his/her 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/her 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 but not always clearly
  • 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