Playing with toys help children improve fine motor skills.

Categories of Fine Motor Skills

by Amy Sutton

There are two categories of motor skills, gross and fine. Fine motor skills are small movements that people make using their feet, toes, lips, tongue, fingers, wrists and hands. Gross motor skills have more to do with bigger movements, like walking and jumping. Your busybody toddler or preschooler has been learning and growing every day and improving his fine motor skills along the way. This is no wonder, since you're such an awesome mom, because you encourage him and are his cheerleader every day.


There are a variety of skills that are involved in the category of fine motor skills. This includes pinching skills. Pinching can include grasping and picking up small things between your thumb and fingers. When your cutie patootie first started eating solids, you probably offered him dry cereal, like a circle-shaped cereal. He may not have been able to pick them up easily at first but then started to master it. This is because he improved his fine motor skills. Another type of fine motor skill preschoolers must learn is how to grasp and use writing tools, like pencils and crayons. This can take a bit of practice before some kiddos can do this. Coloring with your munchkin is great practice for her and can be fun for you both. It'll bring you back to your childhood, enjoy it!

Developmental Stages

Fine motor skills are normally achieved during various developmental stages in children. Your 20 to 24 month old toddler should be able to place four rings on a stick and build a small tower with four to six blocks before she plows it down. Toddlers 24 to 30 months are normally able to fold a piece of paper in half and imitate some basic markings with a pencil. 30 to 36 month old toddlers should be able to turn single pages in a book and hold crayons properly. Hopefully she's not showing off her skills by drawin on your walls! When your preschooler is 36 to 42 months, she should be able to string beads on a piece of string and dress her baby doll. Your 4 year old can likely build a tower with nine small-size blocks, copy a circle and hold a pencil the right way.


Not all kiddos reach these milestones at the same time. Some children have delayed development of fine motor skills. Don't panic if your little angel can't do all of the things his friends can, this happens with many kids. No two kiddos are alike. If you're concerned about delays, speak to your little man's pediatrician about it. There are tests that can be done to see exactly where your child sits as far as fine motor skills. Developmental delays can be caused by a variety of things, including developmental coordination disorder and hemiplegia.


If your little princess has fine motor skill delays that concern your pediatrician, he will often recommend therapy to get your child to where she needs to be. Early intervention is crucial if there are serious delays. Fine motor skill delays are often treated with occupational therapy. If your daughter needs occupational therapy, it doesn't have to be scary or something she dreads. It usually involves playing with toys that have different textures, puzzles, blocks and drawing with crayons. You can do these simple things at home with her too to help her polish up her fine motor skills. Get down on the floor with her and have fun being a kid again.

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