Hand and finger skills include your child's ability to grasp, pick up and transfer objects, point, draw, write, get dressed and use cutlery.

The development of these skills also requires good vision, so these skills are considered together - please refer to the section on 'Concerns about your child's vision'.

What should my child be doing?

The typical sequence of developing these skills is as follow with average ages:

  • 4 months - reaching out for toys
  • 6 months - grasps toys using the whole palm of their hand
  • 7 months - transfers toys from one hand to another
  • 10 months - picks objects up using thumb and first finger (pincer grip)
  • 18 months - makes marks with a crayon
  • 18 months to 4 years - building towers with blocks (tower of 3 around 18 months, to more than 6 after 2 years).
  • 2-5 years - able to copy and draw more complicated shapes (start lines, circles, cross, then square and triangle).

How can I help?

Provide your child with a range of age appropriate toys (such as blocks, crayons, books, puzzles) which encourage your child to use their hands - to reach for toys, hold them, pass them from hand to hand and play and use them).

When should I be concerned?

  • Delay in gaining key skills by certain ages:

- Reaching for objects by 6 months

- Transferring toys from one hand to another by 8 months

- Using a pincer grip (first finger and thumb) to pick up small objects by 12 months.

  • Does not use both hands equally when they are younger than 18 months (children should not become right or left handed until they are older than 18 months).

Where can I get help?

If you have any concerns about your child's hand skills, speak with your health visitor or GP.

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