2 - 3 YEARS

The following list of developmental milestones should be used as a guideline in following your child's overall development. Many children develop faster in some areas and leave other areas lagging behind, only to find a sudden burst of development in these slower areas, later on. No two children develop at the same rate, or in the same order of abilities.

This checklist should serve the following two purposes:
1. Use the checklist as a guide of developmental areas you should be stimulating, through play or even through daily activities.

2. Should you find that your child is not developing according to several items on the checklist, it is advised that you consult with a General Practitioner (GP), Pediatrician, Occupational Therapist, etc. for further advice.

Each child is unique and should be celebrated as such!

(Fine and Gross Motor)

  • These little ones are moving faster and with increasingly improving coordination. They appear to become more comfortable with motion. Their fine motor coordination starts allowing them to manipulate small objects with more control.

  • Most 2 - 3 year olds can:

    • Jump on one spot with both feet lifting off the ground (closer to 3 years)
    • Run forward
    • Carry an object while walking
    • Walk up stairs alternating feet (often still using the rail for support)
    • Stand on one foot, with support
    • Walk on their tiptoes
    • Ride a tricycle (3 years)
    • Kick ball forward
    • String large beads on a string
    • Hold a crayon with their thumb and fingers (no longer using the fist grip)
    • Draw a circle
    • Build a tower of four blocks (2 years), increasing to nine blocks (3 years)
    • Turn 2-3 pages at a time for two year old & 1 page at a time for 3 year olds
    • Paint using a wrist action
    • Paint dots and lines
    • Unbutton large buttons (by age 3)
    • They can roll-out, pull and squeeze clay dough

(Thinking and Reasoning Skills)

  • At this age, the little ones spend much of their time exploring and making sense of the world around them

  • Between the ages 2 - 3 years, most children:

    • Group objects by category
    • Respond to simple directions
    • Name objects (in picture form), and identify many objects within one picture
    • Recognise a familiar picture and know if it is upside down
    • Stack rings on peg in order of size
    • Can repeat two numbers in a row (3 years old)
    • Relate what they are doing to others
    • Observe and imitate adult actions, for example driving a car





  • Through their ongoing exploration of the world, the 2 – 3 year old becomes more independent and enjoys the power of doing things for him/her self.

  • Most 2 - 3 year olds:

    • Indicate toileting needs
    • Are aware of their gender identity
    • Dress and undress themselves to varying degrees, except for buttoning
    • Are able to unbutton large buttons (by age 3)
    • Be quite assertive and say no to adults' demands / requests
    • Defend their possessions (very seriously!)
    • Start to evaluate their nature and behaviours as bad, good, etc.
    • Are aware of their feelings and of other people’s feelings (can talk about this by 3 years)
    • Start showing fear of certain objects or places (especially when it is dark)
    • Enjoy playing their own games in the presence of other children
    • Watch other children playing and then join in the play for short periods of time
    • Enjoy group activities such as singing and dancing
    • Begin to mimic real life scenarios such as house-house


  • There is rapid development in speech and language around the ages 2 - 3. This is very rewarding for everyone involved in the child’s life because frustration levels in the child are lowered as he/she gains more command of the language and is able to express needs more specifically

  • Most 2 - 3 year olds:

    • String known words together to form short phrases
    • Can follow two commands of on, under or behind (e.g., "Stand on the rug.")
    • Knows most parts of the body
    • Begin to use adverbs and adjectives (e.g. fast, high, big, soft, etc.)
    • Point to common objects when they are named (2 year olds)
    • Name objects based on their description
    • Enjoy listening to stories (especially their old favourites!)
    • Recount events that happened that day
    • Respond to "what?" and "where?" questions

Click here to play a visual guessing game with your child.