The Development of Hand Function, Grasps & Drawing Skills

  • 12 Months to 2 Years

Development of fine pinch grip and precise release of small objects

  • Both hands develop skilled function and work together
  • Crayon is held initially in the palm (Palmar Supinate or Dagger grasp pictured right).

Movement mainly occurs from shoulder, the arm and hand move as a unit.

  • Makes marks on paper with crayon
  • Vigorous scribble in imitation
  • Scribbles spontaneously
  • Draws a stroke then obliterates by scribbling
  • Imitates drawing a vertical line


  • 2 Years To 3 Years
  • Crayon or tools may be held across all fingers, with the palm facing down. Digital Pronate grasp (pictured right) movement mainly occurs at the elbow, the forearm and hand move as a unit.
  • Imitates drawing a circle
  • Copies a horizontal line
  • Copies a vertical line
  • Draws 2 or more strokes when attempting to copy a cross


  • 3 Years To 4 Years
  • The fingers (often all four) are held on the pencil shaft opposite the thumb. Quadropod grasp (pictured top right).Movement can occur from the wrist, the hand moves as a unit with the fingers static. Static Tripod grasp (pictured bottom right). Adjustments to the pencil are made with the opposite hand (3½ – 4 years).
  • Copies a circle
  • Imitates a horizontal cross
  • Imitates a zig zag line
  • Joins two dots
  • Draws a diagonal stroke by following a continuous dotted line
  • Traces over a diamond shape (rounded corners)
  • Draws a man with a head and one other body part e.g. arms, legs
  • Traces and stays on most of the time a 7cm wide horizontal line.


  • 4 Years To 6 Years
  • Child developing ability to manipulate objects between the fingers and palm and rotate objects with the fingers.
  • Uses a Static Tripod grasp (pictured right) of a pencil consistently
  • Developing fine control to manipulate a pencil
  • The thumb, index and middle fingers work as a unit for precise control of the pencil, the ring and little fingers provide support. Horizontal movement across the page occurs at the wrist elbow and shoulder (4½ to 6 years).
  • Copies a diagonal line, a square, a diagonal cross, circle and triangle
  • Draws a man with a head, arms and legs
  • Colours in a simple picture staying mainly within the lines (no more than 0.6 cm)
  • Draws a man with a head, trunk, arms, legs, feet and three facial features
  • Connects a series of dots to make a simple drawing

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