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 on his/ her own.

Let’s take a look at what are fine motor skills in child development and what are examples. But, at first, let us get a bit deeper into what fine motor skills mean?

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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 are 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.

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

Importance of Fine Motor Skills

The little muscles that regulate the hand, fingers, and thumb are used in fine motor abilities. They assist children with key tasks such as feeding themselves, handling toys, buttoning and zipping clothing, writing and drawing. The capacity to perform self-care and daily duties boost a child’s self-esteem and confidence.

It’s critical to begin working with youngsters on developing their fine motor abilities as soon as possible. As children grow older, their fine motor skills will develop and improve.

Some youngsters may find it difficult to complete tasks that require fine motor abilities. When they are unable to do daily duties, they may become angry and unhappy. A kid, for example, could struggle to grip scissors and cut along a dotted line. As a result, individuals may become upset with the work and skip cutting activities because they believe they are too difficult.

Fine Motor Activities for Kids

To strengthen their tiny fingers and promote hand-eye coordination, you can urge your baby to participate in fine motor exercises. These enjoyable exercises assist toddlers and preschoolers in preparing for writing and other daily activities.

Colourful Pom Poms

Sorting pom poms by size and colour is a fun activity for kids. Watch them scoop up and sort many small multicoloured pom-poms onto a muffin baking sheet or an ice cube container using tweezers or chopsticks.


Kneading, pressing, pulling, and shaping playdough into forms is a lot of fun. This popular pastime gives your fingers a good workout. Older kids can learn how to slice, press, and compress play dough into a variety of forms with playdough tools.

Eyedropper Painting

Eyedropper or capillary painting employs the pincer grasp to vacuum up water-based colour and compress it paper or paper towelling, making it ideal for 2.5-year-old children and up.

Cutting Out Shapes

Cutting out shapes with a set of child-friendly paper cutters is a simple task for supervised youngsters aged 2 and above. Draw various shapes on multicoloured paper, such as mazes, triangles, rectangles, and wave-like lines, then watch your youngster cut them out.

Playing with Loose Parts

Children’s interest and fine motor skills can be developed by introducing loose parts such as pine cones, bricks, pebbles, chopsticks, forks, string, metal bowls, paper, and beads.

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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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 unbutton 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 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.

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


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

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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

Benefits 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 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 is a passive type of activity requiring low or no fine motor skills.

# Cutting or pencil skills do not interest these kids.

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.

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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 a 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.

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 kids and if they see any symptoms, they should take proper care of them.

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 kids on 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, enrollment in the right skill-developing workshops children can overcome various difficulties and reach milestones. Click here to visit The Real School Of Montessori now!

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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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