top of page

Fine Motor Skills

Fine Motor Skills

What are Fine Motor skills?


Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller muscle of the hands, commonly

in activities like using pencils, scissors, construction with lego or duplo,  doing up

buttons and opening lunch boxes.




What skills do ‘fine motor skills’ 



  • Academics skills:

    • Pencil skills (scribbling, colouring, drawing, writing)

    • Scissors skills (cutting)

  • Play:

    • Construction skills using lego, duplo, puzzles, train tracks

    • Doll dressing and manipulation

    • IT use (e.g. mouse and stylus manipulation)

  • Self care:

    • dressing – tying shoelaces, doling up sandals, zips, buttons, belts

    • eating – using cutlery, opening lunch boxes and food bags

    • hygiene – cleaning teeth, brushing hair, toileting.

How can you tell if my child has fine motor skill difficulties?

  • Avoidance and/or disinterest of fiddly finger skills.

  • Preferring  physical activity.

  • Interest in ‘passive’ activities. 

  • No interest in pencil or scissors skills.

  • Being ‘bossy’ in play and and asking others to  “draw a cat for me”.

  • Not persisting in the face of a challenge.

  • Reliance on parents to dress them or clean their teeth.

Why should I seek therapy if I notice difficulties with fine motor skills in my child?


Therapeutic intervention to help a child with fine motor difficulties is important as:

  • Help a child to complete age appropriate self care tasks, such as doing up buttons and zips.

  • Avoid a child becoming disengaged in an academic environment due to difficulties.

  • Avoid frustrations experienced by parents, teachers and children when a child is struggling to remain engaged in academic activities.

  • Help maintain and develop a positive sense of well being due to confidence in skills for preschool, school, play with peers and self care independence.

  • Ensure that a child doesn’t fall behind their peers in development of handwriting – a leading cause of academic under-performance.

  • Ensure that mouse control for IT tasks are developed (as children with poor pencil skills are often pushed towards  IT as an alternative written communication method).

What type of therapy is recommended for fine motor skills difficulties?


Diagnosis alone is NOT the solution. It simply opens the door to getting the help that is needed by arming all involved with the relevant information. 

If your child has difficulties with fine motor skills, it is recommended they consult an Occupational Therapist.

bottom of page