1–1.5 years old: Fine motor skill development

1–1.5 years old: Fine motor skill development

Your toddler’s fine motor skill development at 13–18 months old. Follow your toddler’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: 1–1.5 years old

At this age:

  • Your toddler gives objects to others when asked (verbally or non-verbally).
  • They can use a fork (clumsily) to feed themself.
  • They can place 2.5 cm blocks into large containers.
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.
  • Your toddler can fit simple geometric shapes into a wooden puzzle board.
  • They drop small objects into empty bottles.
  • They use objects as tools (e.g., to hammer another object).
  • Your toddler can stack two or more building blocks.
  • They can hold large crayons and will attempt to draw by moving them back and forth on paper.

Over the next few months, your toddler will begin to do the following:

  • Knock boxes over to spill their contents.
  • Throw balls.
  • Turn the pages of board books.
  • Take apart toys (e.g., snap-lock beads, building blocks) and try to unscrew lids, with or without success.
  • Knead, pat, and smooth modelling clay.
  • Draw lines and circles on sheets of paper.
Find out how to support your child’s fine motor skill development through books. (In French)

How can you help your toddler progress?

Every child is different and develops at their own pace. That said, you can help foster your toddler’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 benefit your toddler’s fine motor skill development.

When you let your toddler eat with their fingers,
they become more independent and resourceful. They’re proud of what they can do. Touching different foods also helps them learn about what they’re eating.
When you read picture books to your toddler and encourage them to turn the pages,
they learn to use their small finger muscles with your help.
When you give your toddler plastic containers that they can stack or nest,
they slowly figure out how objects fit together.
When you give your toddler sheets of paper and large crayons,
they get to practise drawing while exploring patterns and colours.
When you give your toddler different plastic containers and lids, and ask them to find the lid that goes with each container,
they have fun making noise with these objects and learn to assess size.
When you help your toddler complete a large wooden puzzle,
they learn how objects fit together and get to practise their new fine motor skills.


Naître et grandir

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


Photo: GettyImages/damircudic



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  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • 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