Developmental Milestones for Fine Motor Skills

November 10, 2022

Important Fine Motor Milestones Your Child Should Be Meeting as They Grow

If you’re a parent, you know how important it is for your child to hit their milestones, and you want them to hit them on time. While some milestones are easy to identify, such as rolling over or sitting up, fine motor skills milestones may be more challenging to spot in a growing child – especially infants. 

Hitting fine motor milestones on time is crucial to your child’s future coordination and movement, but you need to know what you’re looking for. We’ll explain important fine motor milestones your child should meet as they grow. 

What Are Fine Motor Skills Milestones?

Fine motor skills usually refer to the vital things you do with your fingers and hands, such as pinching, waving, writing, and picking things up. To track proper child development, health professionals have set a timeline in which important fine motor skill accomplishments should be happening. These are known as fine motor skills milestones.  

Fine Motor Skills Milestones Your Child Should Be Meeting

If you want to know specific fine motor milestones your infant or child should be meeting, About Play is here to help. We’ll list major milestones they should be accomplishing at specific points in their development. It's important to remember that every child develops differently, so if you notice that your child is a little late on one or two milestones, it may not be cause for concern. That said, if you have any question, remember that Early Intervention is free and easily accessible here in South Carolina. 

Birth - 6 Months Old

  • Reflexive grasp (when an object is placed in an infant's palm, their fingers reflexively grasp the object) - at birth
  • Visual tracking (eyes can follow an object to the right and left sides past the midline) - 2 months
  • Global ineffective reach for objects (when an object is held in front of an infant, they’ll reach for that object) - 3 months
  • Voluntary grasp - 3 months
  • Reach with both hands at the same time for an object - 4-5 months
  • 1-Handed palmar grasp - 5 months
  • Controlled reach with one hand - 6 months
  • Raking grasp (all fingers at the same time) to pick up small objects - 6 months

6 - 12 Months Old

    • Reach, grasp, and put objects in mouth - 7 months
    • Transfer object from one hand to the other - 7 months
    • Pincer grasp (the ability to hold something between the thumb and first finger) - 7-8 months
    • Drop and pick up toys - 9 months
    • Clap hands - 9 months
    • Controlled release of objects - 10 months
  • Release an object into an adult’s hand upon request - 10 months
  • Place objects into a container - 11 months

1 Year - 17 Months Old

  • Use signing to communicate - 12 months
  • Feed themselves with minimal assistance (messes and spilling will occur) - 12 months
  • Let go of an object and pick it up again - 12-14 months
  • Turn a page of a book - 12-14 months
  • Remove or dump objects out of a container - 12-14 months
  • Use one finger to point at objects - 12-14 months
  • Make small marks on paper - 12-14 months
  • Build a two-block tower - 15-17 months
  • Scribble spontaneously - 15-17 months

1 ½ - 2 Years Old

  • Build a four- to six-block tower
  • Turn a few pages at a time in a book
  • Push or pull objects
  • Hold and drink from a regular cup (not a sippy cup) independently

2 - 3 Years Old

  • Snip with scissors
  • Hold crayon with thumb and fingers (not a fist)
  • Use one hand consistently throughout most activities
  • Paint with some wrist action
  • Roll, pound, squeeze, and pull playdough
  • Eat without assistance
  • Remove a screw/twist lid on containers
  • Build an 8-block tower
  • Imitates horizontal strokes on paper

What To Do if Your Child Has a Fine Motor Milestone Delay

If you think your child might have a developmental delay regarding their fine motor milestones, it’s best to act as soon as possible. Don’t worry – when it comes to your child, you don’t have to tackle issues alone.

First, reach out to BabyNet to find out what your next steps should be. BabyNet is South Carolina’s interagency early intervention system for infants and toddlers under three years of age with developmental delays. Their mission is to ensure your child gets the best care possible to set them up for success in the future.

You can also contact early intervention services, such as About Play, to receive a professional evaluation. They’ll work with your child one-on-one to determine their specific needs and set realistic goals. 

Last but certainly not least – play. Playing helps children learn an array of life skills. It teaches them to cooperate with others, embrace their creativity, solve problems, and improve their fine and gross motor skills. 

Aside from these steps, the best advice we can give is to have a positive attitude and equip yourself with essential knowledge regarding developmental delays. Share this information with the important people in your child’s life and let them know what's going on and how they can help. 

About Play Is Here To Help

If you're worried your child has missed more than one of these crucial fine motor milestones, it may be worth connecting with an early interventionist. The About Play team is here to answer any questions you might have and help guide you through any challenges and get your child the support they need to learn and grow. To get started, contact us online today


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