5–6 years old: Fine-motor-skill-development

5–6 years old: Fine-motor-skill-development

As kids grow, their movements become more precise. Follow your child’s fine motor skill development from age 5 to 6.

Fine motor skill development allows your child to use the little muscles in their hands and fingers to pick up and handle small objects. It also involves learning to use both hands at the same time to perform manual tasks.

Fine motor skills: 5–6 years old

At this age:

  • Your child’s drawings are more accurate and detailed. For example, they may draw people with arms and legs, bodies that are taller than they are wide, or hands with a specific number of fingers.
  • They can colour in a simple shape, such as a square, without going outside the lines.
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 can cut out shapes with right angles (squares, rectangles, triangles) as well as round shapes (circles).
  • They can fold a sheet of paper in half by lining up the corners.
  • They can hold a pencil between their thumb and index finger.
  • They can do up their laces by tying them into a knot. Around age 6, if someone shows them how, they’ll start tying them in a bow.
  • They can buckle a belt.
  • The dominance of one hand becomes more obvious and you can tell if your child is right- or left-handed.

Little by little, your child is beginning to do the following:

  • Draw figures and objects that are easy to recognize because of certain details (e.g., a person’s hair or eye colour, the windows and doors on a house).
  • Write and copy words spontaneously. Show a growing interest in writing, even though they don’t always write the letters of the alphabet properly.
  • Tie their shoes properly, zip up a jacket, or button a coat with greater ease, initially with the help of an adult, then on their own.
  • Work on crafts that require more precise movements, such as folding, cutting, and gluing.
  • Use a knife (with a round tip) with more precision to cut their food or spread butter on a piece of bread.

How can you help your child progress?

Your child is unique and will develop at their own pace. They have strengths and weaknesses and are becoming increasingly self-aware. You can help your child develop their fine motor skills with these simple everyday actions:

When you provide your child with materials that encourage them to draw (e.g., pencils, paper),
they develop more precise hand movements and their hand-eye coordination.
When you give your child little challenges when it’s time to get dressed, such as asking them to button at least half the buttons on their jacket,
their movements become more accurate and they develop their autonomy.
When you show your child how you tie your own shoes,
you set an example and give them a method to practise.
When you play tic-tac-toe with your child,
they get to practise using a pencil and experimenting with game strategies.
When you ask your child to help you make the grocery list by cutting out pictures of different food items in a flyer,
they get to practise their cutting skills and feel involved in family life.
When you ask your child to help you cut food or spread jam on toast with a round-tipped knife,
they develop their dexterity using everyday objects.
When you encourage your child to use toy tools like a hammer or saw, or ask them to style their doll’s hair,
they practise using both hands at the same time and develop their dominant hand (right or left).
When you ask your child to help set the table and give them realistic challenges (e.g., asking them to carry a pot to the table using both hands),
they develop their hand strength and dexterity and learn to be careful with their movements.


Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Sonya Côté and Andreia R. Malisia, occupational therapists
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
Updated: September 2021


Photo : iStock.com/nimis69



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  • Bouchard, Caroline, and Nathalie Fréchette. Le développement global de l’enfant de 0 à 5 ans en contextes éducatifs. Presses de l’Université du Québec, 2008, 488 pp.
  • Ferland, Francine. Le développement de l’enfant au quotidien : de 0 à 6 ans. 2nd ed., Éditions du CHU Sainte-Justine, 2018, 264 pp.
  • Université de Montréal. “Portail enfance et familles : Les étapes de développement de l’enfant de la naissance à l’adolescence.” www.portailenfance.ca