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Milestones to love: Hands-on activities will help your toddler develop fine motor skills

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Children develop fine motor skills at their own pace. There are plenty of fun activities to help your child grow not only their fine motor skills, but also their social and academic skills.

Your child’s fine motor skills play a crucial role in their development.

Fine motor skills are defined as the use and movement of smaller muscles in the hands, fingers and wrists. These skills enable your child to become more independent in daily activities such as teeth brushing, using utensils to eat and even getting dressed.

Children develop these skills at their own pace, which is perfectly OK. There are plenty of fun activities to help your child grow not only their fine motor skills, but also their social and academic skills.

Motor Skills Milestones

6-12 Months

  • Child can clap hands
  • They can touch things using their index finger
  • They start to feed themselves finger foods


  • Help them move a toy from one hand to another
  • Finger painting
  • Stack blocks or other objects

12 Months to 2 Years

  • Your child can scribble on paper
  • They are eating with a spoon
  • They are beginning to use a pincer grasp when holding crayons and markers


  • Have your child help with dinner by showing them how to stir or pour ingredients
  • Help your child practice zipping or buttoning their own clothing

2 to 4 Years

  • Your child can wash their hands without assistance
  • They can correctly hold and use eating utensils
  • Your child can trace shapes on paper and use scissors


  • Crafts including the hole punch or scissors
  • Writing letters or drawing paths with sidewalk chalk or on indoor chalkboards
  • Sorting small objects such as buttons by size or color

Research shows that the first three years are the most important time for learning in a child’s life. Providing support and services early improves a child’s ability to develop and learn. Also, it may prevent or decrease the need for special help later.

The goal for early intervention in Nebraska is to “open a window of opportunity” for families to help their children develop to their full potential.

It's never too early to ask questions about your child’s development. Take advantage of free early intervention services through your school district. Call 402-597-4936 or visit our website at

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