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Fine motor skills: 2 to 5 years

Fine motor skill development: 2 to 5 years old

What are fine motor skills?

Generally thought of as the movement and use of hands and upper extremities, fine motor skills include reaching, grasping and manipulating objects with your hand. Fine motor skills are used throughout childhood and adult years.

This is a list of fine motor skills children should demonstrate between the ages of 2 and 5 years. 

2-3 years old  

  • Likes to draw; holds crayon with fingers 
  • Able to imitate designs like a circle or a cross 

2 years old

  • Has hand control to build block towers 
  • Can string beads on a shoelace 

3 years old  

  • Able to make a Cheerio or macaroni necklace 
  • Beginning with scissor skills 

4 years 

  • Scissor skills show improvement - Able to cut simple shapes 
  • Able to do simple puzzles (6-10 pieces) 

5 years 

  • Able to draw, paint and color (can draw a person with all body parts) 
  • Learning printing & cursive handwriting 
  • Can button and unbutton 
  • Develops good finger skills 
  • Able to place small objects (e.g., 1/4 inch beads) in a bottle quickly 
  • Starting to work with other mediums for art like clay, paper mache, etc. 
  • Likes video games and computer activities 

What if I am concerned about my child's fine motor skill development?

This information is a general guide to help you determine if your child is progressing at the rate expected for his or her age. Please keep in mind that each child is unique and develops skills at their own rate. If you are concerned about your child's development, a physician or pediatric therapist may be able to assist with an evaluation. 

To make an appointment with a pediatric therapist, call one of these locations: 

Note: Occupational Therapy addresses problems related to cognitive, daily living, motor, sensory processing, social and visual/perceptual skill development.  

Information provided by Sallie Tidman, OT/L, Director of Therapy Services, and Melanie Koch, Occupational Therapist.