Component 3: Fine Motor Development

Learning Goal 3.a: Children develop small muscle control, strength, and coordination.

By 9 months, most children:

  • Hold onto a toy when it is handed to them
  • Reach for, grasp, and shake things
  • Bring hands and objects to their mouth
  • Transfer a toy from one hand to another
  • Pat, shake, or hit objects
  • Mimic a hand clap or wave

By 18 months, most children:

  • Turn the pages of books and point to pictures while being read to
  • Hold objects in both hands
  • Pick up very small objects with their index finger and thumb
  • Bang two toys together
  • Play pat-a-cake without much help (such as someone moving their hands for them)
  • Begin to stack two to three blocks

By 24 months, most children:

  • Open cabinets, drawers, and boxes
  • String large beads
  • Turn containers over to empty out the contents
  • Remove lids from containers
  • Stack four to six large blocks/cubes
  • Attempt snipping with scissors

By 36 months, most children:

  • String large beads onto shoe laces
  • Turn knobs and unscrew lids, put lids on post, unwrap candy, etc.
  • Put three or four pieces into a puzzle board
  • Dig and scoop sand or water
  • Use scissors

By 48 months, most children:

  • String small beads onto shoe laces
  • Continues to fit together manipulatives and connecting toys (e.g., Legos, bristle blocks)
  • Use scissors with purpose

By 60 months, most children:

  • Fold a piece of paper with accuracy and symmetry
  • Work a puzzles of up to 10 pieces
  • Use simple tools (e.g., stapler, hole punch, scissors, tape dispenser)
  • Hold paper and begin to cut with scissors along a straight line