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Learning & Behavior Issues

Child development chart: Preschool milestones

Every child grows and develops at his or her own pace. Still, child development tends to follow a fairly predictable path. Check out these general child development milestones for ages 2 to 5. If your child's development seems to be lagging behind in certain areas, share your concerns with your child's doctor.


Age 2

Age 3

Age 4

Age 5

Language skills

Links two words together

Identifies most common objects

Describes the uses of common objects

Uses compound and complex sentences

Speaks clearly enough for parents to understand about half the words

Says first name and age

Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand

Says full name and address

Knows some adjectives (big, happy)

Uses pronouns (I, you, we, they) and some plurals

Uses verbs that end in "ing" and some irregular past tense verbs, such as ran and fell

Uses future tense

Speaks about 50 words

Answers simple questions

Tells simple stories

Understands rhyming

Social skills

Becomes aware of his or her identity as a separate individual

Imitates parents and playmates

Cooperates with playmates

Wants to be like friends

May become defiant

Takes turns

Tries to solve problems

Follows rules

Becomes interested in playing with other children

Expresses affection openly

Becomes interested in new experiences

Understands gender

Separation anxiety begins to fade

Easily separates from parents

Becomes more independent

Wants to do things alone

Cognitive skills

Begins to play make-believe

Plays make-believe

Becomes involved in more complex imaginary play

Uses imagination to create stories

Begins to sort objects by shape and color

More confidently sorts objects by shape and color

Prints some capital letters and names some colors

Correctly names at least four colors and counts at least 10 objects

Understands some spatial concepts (in, on)

Understands more spatial concepts (over, under)

Understands more complex spatial concepts (behind, next to)

Distinguishes between fantasy and reality


Copies a circle

Draws a person with two to four body parts

Copies a triangle and other geometric patterns

Finds hidden objects

Understands the concept of two

Understands the concepts of same and different

Understands the concepts of time and sequential order

Physical skills

Walks alone and stands on tiptoe

Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet

Stands on one foot for at least five seconds

Stands on one foot for at least 10 seconds

Climbs on furniture and begins to run

Kicks, climbs, runs and pedals tricycle

Throws ball overhand, kicks ball forward and catches bounced ball most of the time

Hops, swings and somersaults

Builds a tower of four blocks or more

Builds a tower of more than six blocks

Dresses and undresses

May learn to skip, ride a bike and swim

Empties objects from a container

Manipulates small objects and turns book pages one at a time

Uses scissors

Brushes own teeth and cares for other personal needs

From Mayoclinic.com

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