Developmental Milestones For Ages 1-2 Years of Age

By AASLDecember 3, 2020

Childhood development is complex. Between fine motor and gross motor development, and the variability between children, it’s not always easy to tell if your child’s development is considered “typical.” If you’re worried that your child’s writing and pre-writing development may be atypical, here is a tool for you to use. These are the developmental milestones in writing that average children meet by certain ages. Also, there are lists of indications that your child’s fine motor/handwriting development may be atypical.

1. Between 12 and 18 months, typical development includes:

  • Scribbling with a crayon, marker or pencil – Babies will usually do this when imitating an adult or older child who’s doing the same thing. At this age, in addition to imitating scribbling, babies will also begin to show ability to make purposeful marks (instead of just banging the crayons or markers against the paper).
  • Crayon in the fist – Not all fists are for fighting! A closed fist is how children hold crayons, markers, etc. at this age.
  • Scribbling on non-paper surfaces – Hey, if your child is writing on your wall, that may not be great for your wall, but it tells you his pre-handwriting development is on point!

2. At 18 months to 2 years, typical milestones include:

    • Staying within the sheet – Children this age will be able to paint, color or draw without going outside of the paper.

Try this with an 18 x 22 inch paper and see how it goes! Anything smaller might be too tough for a typical child.

  • Pre-Writing Strokes – By 2 years old, children should be able to imitate drawing vertical lines.
  • Finger & thumb grip – A typical child will begin to hold crayons, pencils and pens using his or her fingertips and thumb, even though they’ll still actually draw by moving the arm.
  • Whole arm drawing – Most children will move their whole arms back and forth when drawing or scribbling.

You may want to talk to an occupational therapist if you have a 2-yr-old who hasn’t met the following milestones…

  • Is still holding crayons with a fisted grasp instead of his or her thumb and finger
  • Is unable to purposefully scribble and imitate a straight vertical line
  • Tends to bang or eat crayons, markers, and pencils rather than scribbling with them
  • Scribbles a little bit, but can’t stay on a sheet of 18 x 22 paper

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We created AASL because we desire to provide something more to our clients than what is just traditionally provided inside the 4 walls of a therapy room.  We created AASL because we desire to provide a level of care where our clients feel like an extension of our family, knowing they are getting the best, skilled, compassionate support for their child.

Case-Smith, J., & OBrien, J. C. (2014). Occupational Therapy For Children. St. Louis: Mosby.

DISCLAIMER: Information published about one particular disorder does not necessarily apply to every individual who has the disorder discussed in this article. Treatments, therapies and suggestions are highly individual and must be customized to the needs of each person to be effective. Do not make changes to your/your child’s treatment plan as a result of what you read in this article (or any content published by AASL) without consulting your/your child’s physicians and therapists. This content does not necessarily reflect the opinions of All About Speech and Language or its therapists. To understand the opinions and recommendations of your/your child’s AASL therapist, schedule an appointment with your therapist to discuss your concerns.

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