There are many developments that take place in a child, fine motor skill development is one of those. Now, what is fine motor development? When a child learns to use the smaller muscles like those present in the hands, wrists and fingers, it is believed that they have achieved fine motor skills. In simpler words, this development makes the child able to make movements using his/ her small muscles.

Proper development of these skills makes the child self-dependent. As the smaller muscles start to work, the kid becomes able to do minimum self-care activities by his/ her own. Let’s take a look at what are fine motor skills in child development and what are the examples. But, at first, let us get a bit deeper into what do fine motor skills mean?

What does Fine Motor Skill Mean?

In simpler words, fine motor skills mean the tiny movements of the fingers, wrists, hands, toes, feet, tongue and lips. The muscle moving actions in the body is referred to as motor skills.

With fine motor skills, another skill that develops is large motor skills. Now, what are large motor skills? The larger movements of legs, feet, arms or the entire body come under this group.

Example of Motor Skills

Examples of Motor Skills:

  • Scribbling, drawing, colouring, writing
  • Holding scissors and cutting
  • Doll dressing
  • Tying shoelaces
  • Doling up sandals
  • Opening and closing buttons, zips, belts
  • Opening bags, lunch boxes
  • Brushing hair
  • Cleaning teeth

What are Fine Motor Skills in Childhood?

Children develop these skills at their own pace. Some may develop some skills later than others and there’s really nothing to worry about. From the age of 1 to 2 months, kids gradually start acquiring these skills and the learning process continues through preschool and elementary school.

Following are some of the important fine motor skills that should develop in childhood.

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fine motor skills development

The Palmar Arches

This muscle movement allows inward palm curling. This build-up helps in finger movement thus ensuring the ability to write, grip and unbuttoning clothes.

Wrist Stability

This helps the kids to move their fingers with control and stability. This movement is generally developed by the early school years.

Intrinsic Growth

Performing minor tasks using hands where the tip of the index finger and middle finger get in touch with the thumb.

Two-way Hand Skills

Coordination of both the hands at the same time for executing various actions.

Scissor Skill

This skill is generally developed in a kid by the age of 4 years. This efficiency strengthens hands and develops hand-eye coordination.

Fine Motor Skills in Childhood

Timeline of Fine Motor Development in Kids

Let’s see at what age kids develop what skill but these are not fixed for all.

0 to 3 Months

  • Placing hands or bringing hands to mouth
  • Relaxed hands
  • Voluntary clench

03 to 06 Months

  • Tries to reach the toys
  • Holding and shaking toys using both hands
  • Moving toys from one to another hand
  • Holding hands together

06 to 09 Months

  • Starts to get a handle on things by “raking” with the hand
  • Tries to reach toys while sitting
  • Grasping small things with fingers
  • Squeezing things using hands
  • Touching fingers
  • Touching things using the index finger
  • Clapping

09 to 12 Months

  • Using fingers to feed themselves
  • Using your thumb and index finger to grab little objects
  • Banging things
  • Holding a toy with one hand
  • Dropping and picking of toys

1 to 2 Years

  • Building block tower
  • Eating with a spoon
  • Scribbling on paper
  • Page-turning one at a time
  • Using fingertips and thumb to hold a crayon
  • Placing shapes inboard

2 to 3 Years

  • Washing hands
  • Correctly using fork and spoon
  • Doorknob in turning
  • Zipping and unzipping clothes
  • Snipping with scissors
  • Stringing large beads
  • Placing and removing lids from canisters

hand eye coordination


3 to 4 Years

  • Buttoning and unbuttoning clothes
  • Tracing shapes on paper
  • Paper Cutting using scissors
  • Dot connecting

4 Years to Older

  • In between line colouring
  • Mazes completion
  • Shape cutting

Importance of Fine Motor Skills

Each and every development is necessary for the proper growth of skills. Without the proper development of these skills, children may find the problem in performing their regular activities and even his/ her academic performance can get affected.

Following are some of the difficulties a child can face without proper fine motor coordination:

  • Shirking or lack of potential in the engagement of skills using a fiddly finger.
  • Avoiding tasks that require sitting down and preferring physical activities.
  • Interest in activities like watching videos, television that is a passive type of activities requiring low or no fine motor skills.
  • Cutting or pencil skills do not interest these kids.

motor skills toy


Other Symptoms that Show Lack of Fine Motor Coordination

  • Not trying to fix a problem and asking parents to do that instead.
  • Not willing to clean their teeth or dress up without their parents’ intervention.
  • Can not or trouble in colouring in between lines.
  • Struggle in block building.
  • Can not eat by themselves.
  • Clumsy movements.
  • Drops objects.
  • Struggling with tying shoelaces.
  • Can not hold a toothbrush or spoon properly.

Incorporating Motor Skills Activities

It is important to incorporate motor skill activities in children’s daily routine as that can be beneficial for them to make progress socially, academically and personally.

Following are some of the motor skill activities that parents can incorporate:

  • Playing board games involving rolling dice.
  • Asking kid’s assistance in lunch preparation like mixing, stirring, pouring ingredients etc.
  • Painting fingers.
  • Solving puzzles together.
  • Pouring water or other drinks in the glass.
  • Setting the dinner table together.
  • Encourage kids to place rubber bands around cans.
  • Involve the children in dot-connecting games.
  • Inserting puzzles.

fine motor coordination

Parental Concern for Kids Lacking Fine Motor Skills in Childhood

All skills do not develop around the same age in all children but sooner or later, the skills need to get developed for the proper growth of the kids. Children who are showing symptoms that indicate a lack of fine motor skills development requires attention. Parents should take a closer look at the activities of their kid and if they see any symptom, they should take proper care of that.

Parents and teachers who are in charge of taking care of the children should have a clear understanding of the timetable of skill development. Parents should incorporate motor skill activities in the kids daily routine and they can also consider enrolling their kid to various workshops that can help the kid grow their skills.


For proper living and learning, fine motor skills play an important role in child development. With proper incorporation of motor skills activities, daily house activities, enrolment in right skill-developing workshops children can overcome various difficulties and reach the milestones.

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About the Author


Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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