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Fine Motor Development

Fine motor skills involve using our hands and fingers to complete activities. The small muscles of the hand must work together in order to complete refined movements. In order for a child to have strong fine motor skills they must have a strong and stable core. Our core muscles consist of our back, shoulder and stomach muscles.

There are signs to look for to determine if your child has weak core muscles:

  • Difficulty maintaining a "criss cross" position while seated on the floor

  • W-Sits while sits on the floor (read our blog on w-sitting for more information)

  • Appears to be clumsy or falls easily

  • Avoids playground equipment

  • Constantly slouching or sitting at the edge of their seat and leaning on the table for support

Some great activities to help your child build up their core strength are:

1. Crab Walking 2. Bear Walking 3. Swimming

4. Wheelbarrow Walking 5. Gymnastics

Gross Grasp Patterns

These grasp patterns are usually the first part of developing fine motor skills.

Palmar Grasp: 5 months

Radial Palmar Grasp: 7 months

Radial Digital Grasp: 8-10 months

Precision Grasp Patterns

Pincer Grasp: 11 months

Prehension Patterns

A palmar grasp (fisted grasp) is when a child holds the implement with a closed fist. Children use their whole arm when utilizing a fisted grasp. This is the most immature of the grasp patterns and is usually seen between 1-1.5 years old.

A digital pronate grasp is the next stage of developing a mature grasp. The implement is held with your fingers and your wrist is turned down towards the paper. Whole arm movements are also used. This grasp pattern is usually seen from 2-3 years of age.

A quadrupod grasp is the next to emerge and is seen in children 3-4 years old. There are four fingers on the implement. A static quadrupod grasp involves both finger and hand movements. A more mature quadrupod grasp (dynamic) is when movement is seen primarily with the fingers.

A tripod grasp is similar to a quadrupod grasp; however, the child holds the writing implement with three fingers. A dynamic tripod grasp is the most efficient grasp and is typically seen around 4.5 - 6 years of age.


  • Case-Smith, J., Allen, A. S., & Pratt, P. N. (2001). Occupational therapy for children. St. Louis: Mosby.


The content in this blog should not be used in place of medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes. All activities/exercises posted in this blog should be performed with adult supervision, caution, and at your own risk. Big Leaps, LLC is not responsible for any injury while performing an activity/exercise that has been posted on this blog. If you have any information on the content of our blog, feel free to contact us at

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