Developmental Highlights

Age Pre-Writing Skills Scissors Skills

0-1 year

• Basic foundation (prerequisite) abilities:
• Upright posture for arm use
• Reach
• Grasp and release
• Attends visually to others' scribbling

• Basic foundation (prerequisite) abilities:
• Upright posture for arm use
• Ability to use hands for different functions
• Grasp and release
• Open and close motions of the hand
• Beginning of isolated finger movement (poking, rubbing, pushing with forefinger or thumb)
• Beginning eye-hand coordination-visual monitoring or reach and grasp

1-2 years

• Supinates (palm up) forearm and hand to orient for grasp
• Banging of crayons → spontaneous scribbling
• Sensorimotor → appreciation of line/background contrast
• Horizontal, vertical, and circular repetitive strokes
• Bilateral scribbling
• Scribbles with whole-arm movement
• Palmar-supinate crayon grasp
• Crayon held in fingers instead of palm by 1½ years

3-4 years

• Stabilization of forearm for movement of hand as a unit for drawing
• Nonwriting hand adjusts position of marker in writing hand, stabilizes paper for drawing, and turns paper to accommodate drawing strokes
• Paper stabilized with fist or side of assisting hand
• Preference for one hand, but hand switching continues
• Colors within lines (not always successful)
• Copies horizontal lines and circles (3 years)
• Imitates plus signs with weak horizontal line
• Traces lines and diamond shapes
• Combines forms
• Draws mandala
• Copies large capital letters
• Restricts coloring to paper
• Uses static tripod grasp

• Hand switching common
• Cuts in forward direction with lateral (sideways) control to stay on lines
• Cuts on straight and simple curved lines and cuts out circles
• Changes direction of scissors with shoulder, elbow, and wrist movements (elbows often up)
• Manipulates paper with assisting hand
• Pronated (palm down) forearm position → midposition forearm so scissors are perpendicular to paper with thumb on top
• Scissors grasped with thumb in one loop and index, middle, or both in other loop - thumb moved in isolation, all other fingers bent

5-6 years

• Copies triangles, diamonds, and crosses
• Some write letters, words, and names from memory
• Letters formed idiosyncratically, reversals common, little awareness or control of spacing
• Uses dynamic tripod grasp
• Fine localized movement of finger joints for small controlled strokes
• Desire to write

• Fingers and wrist of assisting hand manipulate paper to position it for cutting corners and complex shapes
• Scissors held with mature arm position: scissors perpendicular to floor, upper arms stabilized against trunk
• Elbows rise slightly for large changes in cutting direction
• Cuts complex shapes
• Fingers and wrist of nondominant hand manipulate paper for cutting curves, corners, and complex shapes
• Some children use mature scissors grasp: thumb in one loop, middle finger through other loop, index finger stabilizing lower loop; all fingers flexed except thumb