Abstract Twelve 4-month-olds, twelve 8-month-olds, and twelve 12-month-olds were videorecorded at home in face-to-face interactions with their mothers and in structured situations designed to elicit pointing and reaching gestures. Pre-pointing (index finger extension) occurred in all age groups but was not mapped onto indicative situations; it was elicited most by arousing situations in 4-month-olds. Its form showed continuity across age groups in that pre-points were not bimanual at any age, but there was also discontinuity in form in that pre-points by 12 months were prolonged rather than brief and were predominantly right-handed. Undirected pre-reaching was also more frequent in arousing situations and dropped out after 4 months. Poking, pointing in a book, and pointing to an object did not occur in the majority of infants until 12 months. Despite shared components between early movements and mature pointing, changes in both form and function cast doubt on interpretations of early finger extension as “pointing”.