Coordination and Motor Skills: What to Expect at Different Ages

By Amanda Morin
Email Email
Chat's logo Chat's logo

When do kids start using crayons? Tying shoes? Riding a bike? All kids develop coordination and motor skills at slightly different rates. But kids tend to reach certain milestones at certain ages.

See when kids typically develop coordination and motor skills.

Infants and Babies

By 2 months

  • Begin to push up when on tummy

  • Start making deliberate movements with arms and legs

By 4 months

  • Hold head upright

  • Bear weight on legs when feet are flat on the floor

  • Push up from tummy to elbows

By 6 months

  • Sit without support

  • Rock on hands and knees

  • Roll over

  • Move objects from one hand to the other

By 9 months

  • Creep, crawl, scoot, and may start to pull to standing position

  • Point at things

  • Reach for and grab a toy

  • Start picking up small pieces of food

By 12 months

  • Drink from a sippy cup

  • Shake and throw objects

  • Stand with support and may start to stand unassisted

  • Take a few steps while holding on to a person or a piece of furniture

Toddlers and Preschoolers

Ages 18 months–2 years

  • Walk forward and backward

  • Run

  • Eat with a utensil

  • Hold a thick crayon or marker

  • Walk up and down stairs holding railing or person’s hand for support

  • Throw a ball

Ages 3–4 years

  • Alternate feet on the stairs

  • Jump with two feet

  • Put together a simple puzzle

  • Use door handles

  • Draw circles, squares, and very simple people

  • May ride a tricycle

Grade-Schoolers

Ages 5–6 years

  • Run, hop, skip, and jump

  • Perform basic dance moves

  • Throw and kick a ball, and catch it with two hands

  • Copy shapes and letters

  • Brush own teeth

  • Use spoons and forks the right way

  • May start to play a musical instrument

Ages 7–8 years

  • Ride a bike without training wheels

  • Show sports skills like catching a small ball

  • Do chores like sweeping or making the bed

  • Tie shoes and button and zip independently

Ages 9–10 years

  • Coordinate movements like dribbling and shooting a basketball

  • Use tools and draw with less frustration

Middle-Schoolers and High-Schoolers

Ages 11–15 years

  • Refine movements like those used in team sports

  • May try to develop strength and endurance due to increased muscle mass—especially in boys

  • May be clumsy because of growth spurts

Ages 16–18 years

  • Become more agile and less clumsy, making it easier to do things like type on a keyboard and build complicated projects

  • Refine visual-spatial coordination to help judge distance and speed and react quickly when driving

If your child isn’t on track with all of these milestones, don’t panic. All children develop differently. Talk to your child’s health-care provider about what you’re noticing to get a better sense of how your child is doing.

If you’re concerned about your child’s progress, learn about trouble with motor skills and coordination in kids. Make a list of specific things you’re noticing, and find out what to do next.

About the Author

About the Author

Amanda Morin 

worked as a classroom teacher and as an early intervention specialist for 10 years. She is the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education. Two of her children have learning differences.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH 

is a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Did you find this helpful?

Up Next

Stay Informed

Sign up for weekly emails containing helpful resources for you and your family.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Please wait...

By signing up, you acknowledge that you reside in the United States and are at least 13 years old, and agree that you've read the Terms and Conditions. Understood.org does not market to or offer services to individuals in the European Union.