Fine Motor Skills Checklist for Preschoolers (Ages 3-5 Years Old)

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Have you ever wondered what fine motor skills your preschool-age child should be working on? Fine motor activities at this age are important for building future academic success in the school environment. Today I am sharing a fine motor skills checklist for preschoolers, specifically ages 3-5 years old.

Fine Motor Skills Checklist for Preschoolers, ages 3-5 years old.

Fine Motor Skills Checklist for Preschoolers Ages 3-5 Years Old

A child’s fine motor skills allow him to use small muscles, such as the fingers and hands, in such tasks as writing, drawing, manipulating coins and small toys, and buttoning beads on a string.

I've divided these developmental milestones into ages 3, 4, and 5. At the end of the post, you can get a free one-page download of this checklist to have in your home, classroom, or therapy practice.

Fine Motor Skills for 3-Year-Olds

  • Draws a circle after being shown a model
  • Cuts a piece of paper in half
  • Copies pre-writing straight lines of vertical and horizontal, and circle shapes
  • Laces a lacing card
  • Unbuttons large buttons
  • Cuts a long, wide line with 1/2″ accuracy.
  • Strings 1/2 inch beads

Fine Motor Skills for 4-Year-Olds

  • Copies a cross shapes, right and left oblique lines “/” “\”, square, and X shapes
  • Touches the tip of each finger to their thumb
  • Colors within a picture with no more than 1/4″ deviations from the coloring lines
  • Cuts big circles with scissors
  • Moves the paper while cutting along a line
  • Completes puzzles of 4-5 pieces
  • Uses a fork correctly
  • Gets dressed and undressed without help

Fine Motor Skills for 5-Year-Olds

  • Grasps a pencil correctly (see pencil grasp development here)
  • Begins to print their name
  • Copies a triangle-shape
  • Cuts out a circle
  • Opens a lock with a key
  • Draw a diamond shape when given a model
  • Draws a person with at least 6 different body parts
  • Ties their shoes

Activity Ideas for Fine Motor Development

Block Towers 

Using blocks to build a tower or other designs helps build hand-eye coordination, visual perceptual skills, and more! You can get more ideas on block tower designs here

Encourage crawling and gross motor skills

Crawling and other gross motor skills help build strong shoulder and core muscles that help support your child's development in the small muscles of the arm and hand.

Using Tongs 

Tongs can easily be added to a sensory bin or other fine motor activities to help encourage pincer grasp and improve strength in the small muscles of the hand. 

Scooping Activities 

This can be done by doing cooking or baking activities, including scoops in a sensory bin, etc. You can use measuring spoons, ladles, or measuring cups and small bowls. 

Play Dough 

Play dough can be used to make pictures, pre-writing lines and shapes, letters of the alphabet, and more. It is a great way to help improve the small muscles of the hand and wrist. 

Zip and Unzip 

Learning how to zip and unzip is an important skill for everyday life skills of dressing. 

Twisting and untwisting lids 

This is another important everyday life skill, especially if your child attends preschool and will go on to Kindergarten. Being able to open the lids of containers and snacks makes lunchtime run a little more smoothly. 


Pegboards are a great way to work on pincer grasp and finger dexterity.

Using a Knife 

You may be nervous about teaching your child to use a knife, but you can do this with nylon knives or small paring knives that aren't as sharp. You can read more about introducing knife skills to your child here

Focus on pre-writing skills for handwriting development 

Focusing on sensorimotor activities for handwriting development should be the focus of preschoolers. Sensory activities such as shaving cream and play dough help build an interest in forming pre-writing lines, strokes, and shapes.

You can read more about pre-writing line development here.

Follow this up with some handwriting practice with paper and a small pencil, perfect for smaller hands. 

You can get more fine motor activity ideas for preschoolers here. 

If you feel your child has a delay in fine motor development, talk to their pediatrician or doctor and ask for an Occupational Therapy evaluation. Early Intervention is so important at this age and Occupational therapy practitioners are experts in fine motor development.

Free Printable – Fine Motor Skills Checklist for Preschoolers

Fine Motor Skills Checklist for Preschoolers, ages 3-5 years old.

To get your free fine motor skills checklist for preschoolers, just enter your e-mail address in the form below and click the green “click here” button.

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Pre-writing skills checklist for teachers, parents, and therapists. Free digital download to use at home, in the classroom or therapy sessions.

Heather Greutman, COTA

Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with experience in school-based OT services for preschool through high school. She uses her background to share child development tips, tools, and strategies for parents, educators, and therapists. She is the author of many ebooks including The Basics of Fine Motor Skills, and Basics of Pre-Writing Skills, and co-author of Sensory Processing Explained: A Handbook for Parents and Educators.

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One Comment

  1. Seema sukhwani says:

    I have a preschool n this checklist help to identify children that how much he grow

CONTENT DISCLAIMER: Heather Greutman is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant.
All information on the Website is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for medical advice from a physician or your pediatrician. Please consult with a medical professional if you suspect any medical or developmental issues with your child. The information on the Websites does not replace the relationship between therapist and client in a one-on-one treatment session with an individualized treatment plan based on their professional evaluation. The information provided on the Website is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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All activities outlined on the Website are designed for completion with adult supervision. Please use your own judgment with your child and do not provide objects that could pose a choking hazard to young children. Never leave a child unattended during these activities. Please be aware of and follow all age recommendations on all products used in these activities. Growing Hands-On Kids is not liable for any injury when replicating any of the activities found on this blog.

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