As babies learn to control their large muscles, they gain the stability needed to begin to develop their fine motor skills. These include coordinated movements of the small muscles in the fingers, along with the eyes. Their natural curiosity leads babies to explore things with their hands and eyes, and then to play with toys by manipulating them. Older infants and young toddlers explore things with their mouths, too – so safety with toys is critical at this age. As toddlers grow, they begin to develop the dexterity and coordination to begin to use a fork and spoon, and to scribble or color with crayons and markers.

Fine Motor Skills at 4 months

  • Can hold a toy and shake it
  • Bats at dangling toys
  • Brings hands to mouth

Fine Motor Skills at 6 months

  • Brings toys to mouth
  • Tries to get things that are out of reach
  • Begins to pass toys from one hand to the other

Fine Motor Skills at 9 months

  • Puts things in her mouth
  • Moves things smoothly from one hand to the other
  • Picks up small food items between thumb and index finger

Fine Motor Skills at 12 months

  • Bangs two things together
  • Puts things into and out of containers
  • Lets go of toys intentionally
  • Uses index finger to poke or point

Fine Motor Skills at 18 months

  • Turns pages in board books
  • Scribbles spontaneously

Fine Motor Skills at 2 years

  • Uses on hand consistently in most activities
  • Holds paper with one hand while coloring with the other

Fine Motor Skills at 3 years

  • Imitates drawing circular lines and straight lines
  • Begins to hold pencil between first two fingers and thumb

Fine Motor Skills at 4 years

  • Draws a person with two to four body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Begins to copy some capital letters
  • Dresses and undresses self with help

Fine Motor Skills at 5 years

  • Copies shapes
  • Draws person with at least six parts
  • Prints a few letters and numbers
  • Dresses and undresses without help
  • Uses fork, spoon, and knife