It is of the utmost importance that children learn to use the muscles in their tiny hands, wrists, and fingers while they are toddlers. Strong fine motor skills are necessary for developing important life skills as a child grows older, such as tying their shoes, writing, and using table utensils.  The Therapy Center for Children says during the ages of 12-48 months, the average toddler should begin showing that they can accomplish these tasks, such as:

12-18 Months  

  • Grasping/holding small objects with their thumb and fingers
  • Holding a crayon with their whole hand

18-24 Months

  • Use a spoon for feeding
  • Draw and copy vertical lines
  • Put on/take off shoes and socks

24-36 Months

  • String large beads
  • Snip paper with scissors
  • Roll clay into a snake
  • Draw and copy horizontal lines

36-42 Months

  • Complete simple puzzles
  • Build a tower of blocks
  • Dressing except for buttons
  • Feeding with little spilling

42-48 Months

  • Place small pegs in small holes
  • String small beads
  • Hold pencil with three fingers (moves forearm/wrist to draw)

Occupational therapists work with children to strengthen their fine  motor skills, as well as gross motor skills, so they can begin to improve function and gain confidence.