Fine and Gross Motor Development Milestones – From Birth to Seven Years by Chicago Occupational Therapy

What Should My Child Be Able to Do?

Children experience numerous changes and developments during the first few months and years of their lives. For parents, it can be an exciting time as they watch their children grow from infants to walking, talking little people! It can also be a confusing time for parents who may be concerned about the rate at which their children are acquiring certain skills, especially when compared to other children the same age.

Pediatric occupational therapists specialize in identifying delays in fine and gross motor development  in children, and providing therapy to help catch them up with their peers. Only a licensed OT can determine a deficit and provide treatment, but the below list can help parents determine if they should seek a professional opinion.

By 3 Months

  • Raises head and arms or supports body with arms during “tummy time”
  • Plants feet onto firm surfaces and pushes onto it
  • Brings hands to mouth
  • Open and closes fists/grasps a rattle or object

By 7 Months

  • Rolls over (front to back/back to front)
  • Sits up without assistance
  • Finger-feeds self
  • Transfers objects from one hand to the other

By 12 Months

  • Crawls on hands and knees
  • Pulls self to a standing position
  • Takes 2-3 steps independently
  • Puts objects into a container
  • Bangs two objects together

By 18 Months

  • Walks alone and pulls toys while walking
  • Spoon feeds
  • Pours objects out of a container
  • Uses an open or sippy cup

By 24 Months

  • Carries a large toy/several toys while walking
  • Scribbles/draws and demonstrates handedness (right- or left-hand preference)
  • Kicks a ball
  • Walks up/down stairs with support
  • Builds a tower of 4+ blocks

By 3 Years

  • Climbs and runs well
  • Pedals a tricycle
  • Walks up/down stairs using alternating feet
  • Draws lines vertically and horizontally, and scribbles circles
  • Holds a crayon or pencil in a writing position
  • Turns pages of a book one at a time

By 4 Years

  • Hops and stands on one foot
  • Throws a ball overhand and catches a bounced ball most of the time
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws simple shapes, and people with 2-4 body parts
  • Begins to copy capital letters

By 5 Years

  • Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer
  • Hops/somersaults/swings and begins to skip
  • Prints uppercase letters
  • Uses a fork and spoon
  • Cares for own toileting needs
  • Cuts along a line consistently

By 6 Years

  • Can move in time to music/beat
  • Likes to climb/balance, may take risks to do so
  • Learns to skip with a jump rope
  • Can hold and use a pencil correctly
  • Can tie shoelaces and operate buttons and zippers
  • Writes the alphabet

By 7 Years

  • Activities become more sport-specific
  • Can do a cartwheel or other advanced acrobatics
  • Proficient with paper and pencil tasks
  • Able to organize multi-step sequences