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What You Need to Know about Developing Your Child’s Fine Motor Skills

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Fine Motor Skills are the small movements you make when using your hands, fingers and thumbs to complete tasks that require accuracy and precision.  It is important to help develop the hand and finger muscles that are needed to coordinate these movement patterns from an early age. This will help children to be able to feed themselves, dress themselves and eventually write.

Here are some simple ideas to help develop your child’s fine motor skills. Initially your child may need “hand over hand” guidance to be able to complete the task, but gradually reduce the amount of support they need to encourage them to be independent.

0-4 months

  • Encourage your baby to grasp and release toys e.g. bells.

4-12 months

  • Encourage your child to pass a toy from one hand to the other.
  • Picking up raisins, rice or peas using their finger and thumb.  This is called a “pincer grip”.
  • Encourage your child to turn the pages of a book
  • Sorting different shaped toys and stacking rings

1-2 years      

  • Posting – Cut slots into a shoe box lid of varying sizes and orientation and encourage your child to post buttons of different sizes through the holes.
  • Threading beads onto a shoelace to make a necklace.
  • Drawing with one finger in the sand to help isolate the index finger.
  • Rolling, squeezing and poking play dough.
  • Stacking blocks.
  • Playing with insert puzzles
  • Pulling apart Lego or Duplo blocks to help build up strength.
  • Using tweezers to pick up cotton balls and put in a pot.
  • Scribbling on paper using a crayon

2-3 years

  • Making horizontal and vertical marks on paper and progressing on to circles.
  • Weaving thread in and out of holes.

3-4 years

  • Drawing in between lines on a page e.g. a trail
  • Cutting along lines
  • Practicing doing up buttons, zips and laces

Are you concerned about your child’s fine motor skill development?  Our highly specialised paediatric physios are able to see your child at home and we can often arrange the first appointment within 24 hours.  Call us on 0207 884 0374 or email