Sensory-Motor Developmental Milestones

1 to 3 months
  • Reflexive grasp on item placed in hand; unable to voluntarily release
  • Follows person or object from midline
  • Notices hands; brings hands to mouth
  • Swipes at objects without accuracy
  • Props self up on forearms
  • Brings head up momentarily when placed on tummy
4 to 6 months
  • Brings objects to mouth
  • Reaches with both hands
  • Holds head up when placed on tummy
  • Able to begin sitting when propped with pillow or supported
  • Transfers objects between hands
  • Shows interest in solid foods
7-9 months
  • Sits without support; catches self with extended arms when falling over
  • Reaches for items without falling over
  • Pushes up onto straight arms when on belly
  • Developing alternate arm/leg movement (creeping and crawling)
  • Turns head to track objects visually
  • Uses palm to grasp food items for self-feeding
  • Holds and bangs utensils
  • Pincer grasp beginning to develop (9 mo) for manipulation of small foods such as cheerios
10-12 months
  • Crawling with alternating arm/leg movement
  • Beginning to pull up into standing
  • Movement in and out of many positions on the floor
  • Clapping hands during nursery rhymes
  • Using both hands to purposefully play with objects
  • Grasp and release medium shaped objects into open containers
  • Drinks from straw; able to drink from open cup with spillage
12-18 months
  • Independent walking develops
  • Squatting to play, pick up items on floor
  • Helps with dressing/undressing
  • Holds crayon to scribble
  • Fits toys into shape containers
  • Opens and closes containers
  • Points to pictures in books
  • Self-feeds using utensils with spillage
19-24 months
  • Starts jumping with feet leaving ground, Runs, Kicks ball
  • Able to walk and pull toy behind
  • Stacks blocks, attempts puzzles
  • Turns pages of book
  • Displays desire for independence in tasks
24-36 months


  • Snips with scissors
  • Traces, colors in large shapes without accuracy
3-4 years


  • Uses static tripod grasp on crayons to draw
  • Colors within lines
  • Copies simple shapes
  • Uses scissors to cut across straight lines
  • Constructs 3D design from model
  • Throws ball and hits target
  • Self-dressing (puts on socks, shoes*, shirt; pulls down pant; unzip coat)

*assistance for correct orientation still needed


5 Years
  • Uses dynamic tripod grasp
  • Completes up to 10 piece puzzle
  • Cuts shapes such as square with scissors
  • Copies own name
  • Plays well in twosome
  • Attempts to join others in play
  • Independently dresses

Sources:Occupational Therapy for Children (Case-Smith),,