Fine and Visual Motor Development

While all children develop at their own pace, it is always helpful to review developmental milestones if you have any concerns regarding your child’s motor development.   You can find a chart for developmental milestones from birth-6 years here:

There are several activities you can do at home to help your child develop their fine and visual motor skills.

Activities for younger students (K-2):

Tracing & drawing simple and complex shapes and/or different lines: straight, diagonal, curvy, round

Mazes, Dot to Dots

Color by Number

Small pegboards

Using tweezers or tongs to pick up and place small items


Beading & Lacing

Activities for older students (Grade 3 and up):

Grid drawing

Coloring patterns-Geometric, Mandalas, Mosaic

Advanced Dot to Dots (50+)

Smaller stencils

Perla Beads


Although children begin to develop cutting skills in pre-school, many students will struggle with cutting in later grades as they are required to cut out multiple shapes of increasing complexity.  Cutting with scissors requires many pre-requisite skills such as shoulder, elbow and wrist stability, hand strength, sufficient grasp and release, bilateral coordination and separation of the 2 sides of the hand.  There are several ways to help your child with cutting at home:

-Graduate the thickness of the paper they use.  The thicker the paper, the more feedback they receive and the slower they must go while staying on a line.  A good reference point would be to start with card stock (I like to use old file folders or paint chips from the paint store), construction paper, paper bags, then traditional paper.

-You can also experiment with cutting different media such as straws, fabric, sandpaper, aluminum foil, play dough or theraputty.

-Lots of hand/finger strengthening using play dough, modeling clay, squirt guns, tongs, tweezers

-Teach children to cut with “2 thumbs up and elbows down”.  Put stickers on their thumbnails. Elbows should be down at their sides (to avoid overuse of shoulder muscles and prevent fatigue).

-Bilateral activities such as stringing beads, tearing up paper (can start with newspaper or tissue and work up in thickness) and sewing.

-If a child has several things to cut out on 1 piece of paper, try cutting the paper in half as it will be easier for them to work with and maneuver.  Highlight or darken cutting lines.

-When cutting out a shape, teach your child to “cut past the corner” so they don’t end up turning their scissor too soon and cutting the corner off.