Rise Blog

a child sews a felt ladybug onto a leaf
10 Examples of Fine Motor Skills

Ten Examples of Fine Motor Skills

Motor skills are something most of us do without even thinking about them. Motor skills are divided into gross and fine.

Gross motor skills include standing, walking, going up and down stairs, running, swimming, and other activities that use the large muscles of the arms, legs, and torso. We develop these mostly during childhood through play and physical activity.

Fine motor skills, on the other hand, involve the muscles of the fingers, hands, and wrists, and, to a lesser extent, toes, feet, and ankles. Coordination of hand, eye, and brain makes gaining these skills a little more complex than, for example, learning to crawl. Development of these skills is more ongoing, often throughout our whole lives.

Gaining these skills is more than a matter of chronological age or reaching a certain developmental stage. The individual skill must be learned, including the physical movements involved.

Examples of some activities of daily life that need fine motor skills and what they involve

  1. Clothing fastenings – buttons that are supposed to go into buttonholes or loops, zippers, snaps, ties, collar stays or button-down collars, and shoelaces
  2. Using tableware – a knife, fork, or spoon, both for personal use and the utensils used with serving dishes
  3. Opening and closing food containers – screw tops, carton spouts, plastic leftover containers, and boxes
  4. Twisting doorknobs – also locks, slide chains, and keys
  5. Personal care – shaving, brushing teeth, doing hair, applying makeup (especially eyeliner), putting on post-back earrings, inserting contact lenses, bathing, showering, and using the toilet
  6. Handwriting – holding a pen or pencil, printing vs. cursive writing, size of individual letters, consistent size of letters, and writing in straight lines
  7. Needlework – threading a needle, making the correct size and consistent stitches, casting on/off knitting, maintaining proper thread/yarn tension
  8. Video gaming – thumbing the joystick, pressing keys in rapid succession, and watching the screen and operating the controller at the same time
  9. Operating other electronic equipment – using a keyboard, a telephone or alarm system touchpad
  10. Musical instruments – coordinating both hands to play the instrument, putting fingers in the right places on strings, over holes, or on keys

Children show fine motor coordination and the skills that go with them as they grow older and develop.

If you want to know if your child or little loved one is meeting appropriate developmental milestones on or close to time or is an early or a late bloomer, please feel free to contact RISE Services. A talk with one of our developmental or early intervention specialists is always the first step to getting the facts. If they are deemed appropriate, there are a number of services available, including occupational therapy (OT), speech therapy, and physical therapy (PT).

The RISE facility closest to you can be found via our website: www.riseservices.org . Helping is what we’re here for.