Developmental Milestones

Developmental Milestones 

At the age of 3, most children can: 
o Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps 
o Can name most familiar things 
o Understands words like “in,” “on,” and “under” 
o Says first name, age, and sex o Names a friend 
o Says words like “I,” “me,” “we,” and “you” and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats) o Talks well enough for strangers to understand most of the time
o Carries on a conversation using 2 to 3 sentences
o Can work toys with buttons, levers, and moving parts 
o Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people 
o Does puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces o Understands what “two” means 
o Copies a circle with pencil or crayon 
o Turns book pages one at a time 
o Builds towers of more than 6 blocks 
o Screws and unscrews jar lids or turns door handle
o Copies adults and friends 
o Shows affection for friends without prompting 
o Takes turns in games 
o Shows concern for a crying friend 
o Understands the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers” 
o Shows a wide range of emotions 
o Separates easily from mom and dad 
o May get upset with major changes in routine 
o Dresses and undresses self
o Climbs well 
o Runs easily 
o Pedals a tricycle (3-wheel bike) 
o Walks up and down stairs, one foot on each step


At the age of 4, most children can:
o Knows some basic rules of grammar, such as correctly using “he” and “she” 
o Sings a song or says a poem from memory such as the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” or the “Wheels on the Bus” 
o Tells stories 
o Can say first and last name
o Names some colors and some numbers 
o Understands the idea of counting 
o Starts to understand time 
o Remembers parts of a story 
o Understands the idea of “same” and “different” 
o Draws a person with 2 to 4 body parts 
o Uses scissors 
o Starts to copy some capital letters 
o Plays board or card games 
o Tells you what he thinks is going to happen next in a book
o Enjoys doing new things 
o Plays “Mom” and “Dad” 
o Is more and more creative with make-believe play 
o Would rather play with other children than by himself 
o Cooperates with other children 
o Often can’t tell what’s real and what’s make-believe 
o Talks about what she likes and what she is interested in
o Hops and stands on one foot up to 2 seconds 
o Catches a bounced ball most of the time 
o Pours, cuts with supervision, and mashes own food


At the age of 5, most children can:
o Speaks very clearly 
o Tells a simple story using full sentences 
o Uses future tense; for example, “Grandma will be here.” 
o Says name and address o Counts 10 or more things 
o Can draw a person with at least 6 body parts 
o Can print some letters or numbers 
o Copies a triangle and other geometric shapes 
o Knows about things used every day, like money and food 
o Wants to please friends 
o Wants to be like friends 
o More likely to agree with rules 
o Likes to sing, dance, and act 
o Is aware of gender 
o Can tell what’s real and what’s make-believe 
o Shows more independence (for example, may visit a next-door neighbor by himself [adult supervision is still needed]) 
o Is sometimes demanding and sometimes very cooperative 
o Stands on one foot for 10 seconds or longer 
o Hops; may be able to skip 
o Can do a somersault 
o Uses a fork and spoon and sometimes a table knife 
o Can use the toilet on her own 
o Swings and climbs


www.cdc.gov/ActEarly 
Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2019 West Corporation. All rights reserved.