This study describes the orderly changes in manipulation over the first 6 months in capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). By 6 months of age, all the basic forms of manipulation seen in adults have appeared. Actions that occur frequently in the first 8 weeks are gentle and involve sustained visual orientation and aimed reaching. Later actions are more vigorous, and involve grasping. Large increases in the rate of activity are evident over the period of development studied. The increase from the first 8 weeks to the second may be due to (a) an increase in the amount of time spent alert and active, (b) a decrease in the amount of time spent in a ventral position, (c) improvements in postural control and stamina and (d) the onset of independent locomotion. Changes in form can be attributed primarily to postural factors and to neuromuscular development (precisely aimed and controlled movements appearing in the 5th and 6th months).