5 months old: Fine motor skill development

5 months old: Fine motor skill development

Your baby’s fine motor skill development at 5 months old. Follow your baby’s milestones step by step.

Fine motor skill development allows babies to learn how to use the little muscles in their hands and fingers to perform subtle movements, such as reaching for, grabbing, and handling small objects.

Fine motor skill development: 5 months old

At this age:

  • Your baby is beginning to rotate their wrists so their palms face up or down. They’ll eventually apply this skill to actions such as turning a handle or opening or closing a screw-on lid.
  • They keep their hands open most of the time.
Remember that not all children develop the same skills at the same speed. The material on this website is for general information purposes only. If you’re concerned about your child’s development, speak with a doctor.
  • They have better hand-eye coordination and can more easily grab hold of and handle objects they lay eyes on.
  • They like to grab or shake things with either hand.
  • They let things fall and then pick them up.
  • They tend to touch their chest and their bottle. They can bring a pacifier to their mouth with jerky movements.
  • They’re starting to explore their body. For example, they’ll touch their feet or use their hands to bring their feet to their mouth.

Over the next few weeks, your baby will begin to do the following:

  • Bang objects on the table.
  • Pick up objects (e.g., building blocks) with their fingers outstretched, specifically using their ring and pinky fingers.
Find out how to support your baby’s fine motor skill development through books. (In French)

How can you help your baby progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your child’s development by adopting the Comfort, Play, and Teach parenting approach, which can easily be integrated into your daily routine. The table below outlines small, age-specific actions you can take that will help develop your baby’s fine motor skills.

When you leave familiar soft toys within easy reach of your baby’s play area,
they learn to grab hold of them with more confidence.
When you hand your baby objects as you play together,
they develop their fine motor skills as they grasp and release the objects with increasing assurance.
When you invent finger games with your baby, massage their hands, or sing songs that involve actions,
they discover all the things their fingers can do.
When you give your baby different toys to hold and look at,
they practise grasping objects of various shapes and sizes.
When you drum on a plastic dish or a tabletop,
your baby learns that hands can do more than just hold things: they can also make noise.
When you give your baby a noise-making toy so they can hold it, shake it, and pass it back and forth between their hands,
they have fun learning to transfer objects from one hand to the other and get better at performing this action.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté, occupational therapist
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: September 2019


Photo : GettyImages/miodrag ignjatovic



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  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien: de 0 à 6 ans. Montreal, Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018.
  • Canadian Paediatric Society. Caring for Kids. “Your child’s development: What to expect.” www.caringforkids.cps.ca
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles: Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca