Fine Motor Skills for Toddlers Aged 12 – 16 Months

CME WebsitesChild Development, Toddlers 12 - 36 Months

At this level of development, your baby is favoring use of one hand. While viewing books, he or she will be pointing to pictures.

He or she will be gripping objects and releasing into a container. While one hand holds an object, the other hand explores and manipulates. Your baby is happy to build block towers, climb onto furniture, and climb stairs during this time. When offered markers or crayons, he or she will scribble spontaneously.

Parenting Tips for Fine Motor Skills:

You can help with baby developmental milestones.  Suggested play to help a baby 12 to 16 months of age develop fine motor skills:

  • To encourage marks and scribbles, tape a large piece of paper to a table, offer crayons.  Demonstrate and say “dot, dot, dot” while making marks.
  • To promote putting items into a container, use pots or a coffee can that will make interesting sounds as your child drops items into the container.
  • To promote stacking blocks, use a variety of stackable items such as tissue boxes, empty butter tubs, books, and shoe boxes before trying to stack smaller items.
  • To promote pointing with the index finger, use a ‘texture book’ where you child can poke a finger into cotton, fabric, and various interesting materials.
  • Place balls of Play-Doh into an ice cube tray or egg carton and show your child how to poke the material.
  • To encourage scribbling, use a Magna Doodle, Aqua Doodle, or sidewalk chalk on pavement.  Paper taped to table and scribbled on with crayons is great too!
  • To promote play with both hands, use bowls and a spoon for stirring.  Help your child remove the paper wrapper from a Popsicle or juice bar.  Hold a tambourine and hit it with other hand.  Even peeling a banana can be helpful and fun.
  • Toys don’t always come from stores. Make a small wad of masking tape, sticky side out. It’s very entertaining and will give your baby some good finger exercise.
  • Fill and dump, again and again. Give your baby a plastic container and a mix of toys and household items. Show your baby how to fill the container, and then dump everything out. The next day, change the items to keep it fun.
  • Homemade blocks. Fill saved pint and quart milk cartons with rice, and show your baby how to stack them up and knock them down.
  • Squeeze those little hands. Put a sponge ball or washcloth in the bath and show your baby how to squeeze out all the water.