Fine Motor Skills of a 4-Year-Old

Updated February 21, 2017

Fine motor skills usually refer to more precise actions performed by the feet and head--for example, drawing or playing a musical instrument. The development and expansion of the central nervous system is directly connected to the maturation and dexterity of fine motor skills. According to the eNotes website and its article on fine motor skills, "The development of fine motor skills is crucial to an infant's ability to experience and learn about the world and thus plays a central role in the development of intelligence." Thus at age 4, there are certain fine motor skills your child should possess.

Writing and Drawing

At age 4, a child should be comfortable holding a crayon and should be able to use a thick pencil for scribbling or light printing. The child should be able to copy crosses and squares and some letters of the alphabet. Some children will be able to print their own name. At this age, they should be able to draw people that at least resemble stick figures. According to eNotes: "A human figure drawn by a four-year-old is typically a head atop two legs with one arm radiating from each leg."

Hand-to-Eye Coordination

At this age, children should be able to use safety scissors and cut on a line or follow an outline. Children should also be able to pour from a pitcher into a smaller vessel, such as a glass. Spills are common and acceptable, but the child should be able to complete this task. At this age children should be able to use clothespins to pick up small objects, an activity that can also polish their fine motor skills. Another activity that kids should be able to do at this age, which can also develop their hand-to-eye coordination, is threading beads on a string.

Other Fine Motor Skills

A child at the age of 4 should be able to accurately and efficiently use his utensils. A child should be able to dress herself and manage without too much difficulty most buttons, snaps and zippers. Some children at this age can already tie their shoes, which is slightly advanced. At the minimum, a child should be able to lace his own shoes at the age of 4. Four-year-olds should also comb and brush their hair without assistance. A child should be able to use clay to fashion simple figures such as trees, animals and people.

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About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."