3-5 Years Developmental Checklist

Children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when your child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones listed below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don't be alarmed if your baby's development takes a slightly different course.

Important Milestones by the end of 3 Years

Movement
  • Climbs well
  • Walks up and down stairs, alternating feet (one foot per stair step)
  • Kicks ball
  • Runs easily
  • Pedals tricycle
  • Bends over easily without falling
Hand and Finger Skills
  • Makes up and down, side to side, and circular lines with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Builds tower of more than 6 blocks
  • Holds a pencil in writing position
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids, bolts
Language
  • Follows a two-or-three part command
  • Identifies most common objects
  • Understands placement in space ("on" "in" "under")
  • Uses 4 to 5 word sentences
  • Can say name, age, and sex
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they) and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Strangers can understand most of her words
Cognitive
  • Makes mechanical toys work
  • Matches an object in her hand or room to a picture in a book
  • Plays make-believe with toys, people
  • Sorts objects by shape and color
  • Completes puzzles with four pieces
  • Understands concept of "two"
Social
  • Imitates adults and playmates
  • Spontaneously shows affection for familiar playmates
  • Can take turns in games
  • Understands concept of "mine" and "his/hers"
Emotional
  • Expresses affection openly
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions
  • By 3, separates easily from parents
  • Objects to major changes in routine
Developmental Health Watch

Alert your child's doctor or nurse if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Frequent falling and difficulty with stairs
  • Persistent drooling or unclear speech
  • Cannot build a tower of 5 blocks
  • Difficulty manipulating small objects
  • Cannot copy a circle by age 3
  • Cannot communicate in short phrases
  • No involvement in "pretend" play
  • Does not understand simple instructions
  • Little interest in other children
  • Extreme difficulty separating from mother or primary caregiver
  • Poor eye contact

Important Milestones by the end of 4 Years

Children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when your child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones listed below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don't be alarmed if your baby's development takes a slightly different course.

Movement
  • Hops and stand on one foot up to five seconds
  • Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
  • Kicks ball forward
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Catches bounced ball most of the time
  • Moves forward and backward with agility
Hand and Finger Skills
  • Copies square shapes
  • Draws a person with two to four body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Begins to copy some capital letters
Language
  • Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
  • Tells stories
Cognitive
  • Correctly names some colors
  • Understands the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
  • Tries to solve problems from a single point of view
  • Begins to have a clearer sense of time
  • Follows three part commands
  • Recalls parts of a story
  • Understands the concepts of "same" and "different"
  • Engages in fantasy play
Social
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Plays "mom" or "dad"
  • Increasingly inventive in fantasy play
  • Dresses and undresses his/herself
  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts
  • More independent
Emotional
  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be "monsters"
  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings
  • Often cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality
Developmental Health Watch

Alert your child's doctor or nurse if your child displays any of the following signs of possible developmental delay for this age range.

  • Cannot throw ball overhand
  • Cannot jump in place
  • Cannot ride a tricycle
  • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers
  • Has difficulty scribbling
  • Cannot stack at least four blocks
  • Still clings or cries whenever parents leave
  • Shows no interest in interactive games
  • Ignore other children
  • Doesn't respond to people outside the family
  • Resists sleeping, dressing, and using the toilet
  • Lashes out without any self control when angry or upset
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