Ultimate Free Fine Motor Skills Checklist Printable!

Free fine motor skills checklist. Fine motor milestones include manipulating small objects using the small muscles of the hand and wrists. Additionally, fine motor skill development depends on gross motor skills development. Today, we’ll review fine motor skills in children. Then download the FREE printable fine motor skills checklist at the bottom of this article.

Little girl coloring on a piece of paper while lying on the floor.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a nominal fee from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support. See my disclosure policy for more info.

Fine Motor Skills and Other Developmental Milestones

Children develop at different rates and at different times. But it’s easy to worry when your child shows signs of developmental delays. Fortunately, you can support your child’s fine motor skills development.

As we walk through the typical developmental milestones, know it’s a general guide. Further, note how earlier milestones impact later ones.

Fine Motor Skills Checklist

The following list contains examples of fine motor skills by age range.

Birth to 3 Months

The following fine motor skills develop in the first year of life.

  • Hands in the palmar grasp reflex
    • when you place your finger in their hand and the baby grasps it automatically
  • Watches hands and brings them to their mouths
  • Follows faces with their eyes (within a few inches)
  • Eventually, hold objects with hands

3 to 6 months

  • reaches with two arms
  • move objects between hands
  • pushes up on elbows to tummy
  • brings their hands to mouth
  • sees things up to three feet away
fine motor skills check list in blue and red font with a close-up of a child's hand painted in red, yellow, blue, and green paint with a smiley face on it (all against a white wall)

6 to 9 months

  • hold on to objects with both hands
  • moves objects with fingers
  • hold a bottle
  • leans on hands when sitting
  • pokes with the index finger

9 to 12 months

  • turn pages of a book a few at a time
  • pincer grasp develops
  • can hold two small objects in the baby’s hand
  • can place an object in a container/cup

1 year to 18 months

  • claps hands together (bilateral coordination)
  • builds a tower 2 blocks high
  • scribbles with crayons
"free printable fine motor skills checklist" in red and navy text with a photo of a baby doing tummy time and another photo below it with a student writing with a pencil

18 months to 2 years

  • holds crayon with fingertips and thumb
  • turn single pages of a book
  • builds 3-4 block towers
  • drinks from a cup independently

2 to 3 years

In this age group, the movements of the hands become more precise and kids may be able to:

  • turns doorknob or twists objects
  • the pincer grasp is stronger
  • holds a container with one hand and takes the top off with the other hand
  • snips paper with scissors
  • string large beads
  • holds a spoon
close-up of chubby hand of a child putting together an alphabet puzzle

3 to 4 years old

In this fourth year of life, your child’s hand-eye coordination grows.

  • copy/draw a circle with a model
  • unbutton large buttons
  • sorts objects
  • cut along a line within 1/2 inch

4 to 5 years old

The smaller muscles of the hands are getting stronger when kids use their hands and fingers with intentional movement. For example, they start to:

  • copy simple shapes
  • cut larger circles with scissors
  • touch each finger to the thumb
  • uses a fork correctly
  • complete a 4 piece puzzle

5 to 6 years old

At this stage, kids develop greater fine motor control as their eye-hand coordination integrates more fully.

  • Hop on one foot
  • holds a pencil with the proper grasp
  • copies a triangle
  • may tie their shoes

6 years and older

In general, as long as they’ve hit the major milestones, kids will generally:

  • Copy the first name
  • Put together a 16-20 piece puzzle
  • Print letters of the alphabet
  • Write the digits 0-9
  • Build structures with blocks

Add more fun to building with blocks by using these Preschool Block Challenge activity pages. Or this Free Dragon Puppet Printable is full of fine motor skill activities.

Occupational Therapy

Again, this is meant to be an education sheet and not medical advice or a diagnostic tool.

If you’re concerned with your child’s development, speak with your child’s pediatrician. If your insurance company doesn’t require a referral, consider contacting a PRIVATE occupational therapist.

Ask your friends for a recommendation, or look in your local Facebook Group for a highly recommended OT. A quality occupational therapist will do a complete evaluation of your child’s gross motor skills, reflexes, sensory processing, and fine motor skills.

Tummy Time Matters Even if Your Kid is 12

As mentioned earlier, your child’s fine motor development is heavily influenced by their earlier gross motor development. And that applies to a 3-year-old as much as it does to your 12-year-old.

Gross motor development starts with tummy time. While we think of tummy time for infants between the ages of 0-6 months, tummy time matters for all kids (and adults). Let me tell you why.

Through tummy time, infants explore their bodies and the world around them. As such, they begin developing their gross motor, fine motor, and sensory processing systems.

Fine Motor Skills Start with The Core

Reaching, grasping, pulling, and sitting are related to gross motor development.

As it relates to strength, tummy time develops critical core muscles. This happens when babies need to:

  • lift head and neck off the floor
  • reach and grasp objects in different locations
  • flip over from one side to another

Eventually, those hours and hours on the floor strengthen the neck and core muscles. This leads to the point that the baby…

  • sits up,
  • stands,
  • crawls,
  • and walks

Tummy time also directly impacts fine motor skills such as:

  • Ocular motor development
    • small muscles of the eyes
      • When in a tummy time position, following things with the eyes is developed.

Again, these skills are the foundation for later fine motor skills development. Early childhood time on the floor is critical.

Earlier Motor Development Impacts Learning

When kids don’t have ample tummy time as infants, it’s common to see weaknesses in other areas related to both gross and fine motor development.

Without a strong core, later-developing gross and fine motor skills may be impacted negatively.

  • Poor Eye-Tracking
  • Ocular motor development is a fine motor skill that develops during tummy time in early childhood.
    • Difficulty with eye tracking and eye movement impacts reading and writing.
    • Teachers may complain that the child isn’t focused on them in class.
    • Difficulties sitting upright in a chair for long
    • Challenges with concentration and other ADHD symptoms
    • Resistance to fine motor skills such as pre-writing skills
    • Challenges crossing midline

Here’s an example.

Posture, Tone, and Fine Motors Skills

Little boy with sandy blond hair sitting on a wood table hunched over attempting to tie  the laces of his blue and red shoe.

When a child is weak in core and neck strength (referred to as “low tone”), they have poor postural control.

This weakness impacts the dexterity and strength of the hand, wrist, and arms, leading to trouble with handwriting skills and other everyday tasks.

A 9-year-old with difficulties tying their shoe or manipulating small buttons clothing likely needs to work on core issues to improve these fine motor skills.

Sensory Processing

Both gross and fine motor skills are also highly impacted by your child’s sensory systems. More specifically, the proprioceptive and vestibular systems.

A child struggling with proprioception and vestibular awareness may appear clumsy in their gross motor movements. For example, bumping into people or walls.

These same sensory processing difficulties will also impact fine motor skills as challenges with proprioception impact how much pressure the hands apply to writing utensils, for example.

Early Intervention, OT, and PT

We all know that early intervention is powerful. However, if your child is older, there’s nothing to fear.

Regardless of age, get a proper assessment by a PRIVATE occupational therapist (not school-based). Once they complete a full evaluation, they’ll work with you to create a plan. It will likely include occupational and/or physical therapy.

Fortunately, any good therapist will work with you to support you with information and tools to help you work with your child at home. Small changes and exercises you can do at home will help your child grow in their fine motor skills.

To motivate your child to learn to hold a crayon or pencil, make it personal to them. Try these editable name-writing pages.

Fine Motor Skills Checklist & Resources

For some ideas of the different ways to support your child at home, check out Heather Gruetman’s book, Basics of Fine Motor Skills.

Her book is filled with solid information about the why behind child development.

Then she shares activities to develop fine motor skills as well as how to support missed developmental milestones such as crawling.

Recap: Fine Motor Skills Checklist

In the end, every child will develop different skills at their own pace. This is to be expected. However, when more than one developmental milestone is missed or lagging, speak with your child’s doctor.

The importance of fine motor skills development can not be emphasized enough.

However, it’s essential to understand that strong fine motor skills are developed over time and in combination with gross motor and sensory processing development.

So, Friend. What do you think? Be sure to download the FREE Fine Motor Skills Checklist. In this together!

caucasian woman wearing black v-neck long-sleeved shirt sitting crossed legged with a black and white havanese dog in her lap

About the Author:

Lindsay is a trauma-informed educator with a Master’s Degree in Teaching. Her mission is to support moms to equip neurodivergent kids (ADHD, Autism, Dyslexia, Anxiety) to thrive as exactly who they’ve been created to be. Wait until you hear the story that led to it all…

FREE Printable Fine Motor Skills Checklist!

fine motor skills checklist in white text on red background with sample images of a printable checklist

1 thought on “Ultimate Free Fine Motor Skills Checklist Printable!”

Leave a Comment