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Age 3 Motor Development Milestones

Learn what motor development milestones a child should reach by age 3 from Watch Me Grow founder Shirael Pollack in this Howcast video.


Motor development refers to gross motor skills, which are big muscles, like running, walking, throwing, catching, kicking a ball. And fine motor skills, which are your intrinsic hand muscles, and your ability to manipulate objects.

Every child develops at a different rate, but typically by age three, this is the time where in the motor development area, your child is now walking with a more agile pattern, more like an adult. They're running, they really love the playground. This is the time where you really want to get your child into the playground. They love to climb the ladders, they're doing the slide independently, they're riding a tricycle, really those big muscles are kicking in. They're kicking a ball with greater ease, they're throwing a ball.

It's a great time, again, to be in the playground. In terms of fine motor skills, your child's not just scribbling spontaneously anymore. They're able to copy simple shapes, like a circle. They're also able to complete three to four piece simple puzzles. And they have really great hand muscle strength, where they can pick up the little pegs of the puzzles and put them in. And they're also able to now use clay and finger paint.

So again, it's a really great time also to do more arts and crafts, and get them involved in a lot of different mediums, crayons, colors, finger paints, Play-Doh, get them, hands messy. And again, these are typical milestones reached by age three.

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