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'.



How will my child be using their hands?

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).

Note: there is a range of normal ages at which children may acquire these skills but, it is only a rough guide and all children develop at a different rate.

Please see following section on when you should be concerned. 

What can I do with my child

Provide your child with a range of age appropriate toys or objects such as blocks, crayons, puzzles or cardboard boxes e.g. an empty cereal box. You could ask at your local library if they have any age appropriate toys you could borrow. 

This will 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 some help?

If you are worried about your child’s progress please speak to your Health Visitor or GP.

The sooner you talk to someone, the sooner you can get help for you and your child. 

Page last updated on: 16th February 2023