Normal Handwriting Development Milestones

Parents are always concerned what their children should be doing to prepare for school readiness. Handwriting is the unspoken essential part of school preparedness. Unfortunately, today in school handwriting isn’t being taught as much as previous years. Below is a checklist of handwriting development skills that should be mastered by the given age. If your child has difficulty or isn’t completing the recommended skill by their age it is recommended you seek an occupational therapist with experience in developmental pediatrics to assist your child.


2-3 years

● Draws straight lines & circles

● Imitates cross drawing

● Begin snipping with scissors


● Draw a circle

● Copy a cross and square

● Begin holding in a tripod position

● Cut out age appropriate shapes


● Draws a cross

● Begin to copy name

● Start to color in lines

● Draw a recognizable person

● Cutting skills are more complex

● Begin to draw diagonal lines and a triangle

Occupational Therapy can help increase a child’s upper body and core strength to assist with building a “foundation” for better handwriting skills.

Carissa Jannicelli Pampanin, MS, OTR/L, SIPT is an occupational therapist at the Pediatric Therapy Center of NJ in Cedar Grove, with specialties in sensory integration and early intervention services for children