Child development: Know what's ahead

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Every child grows and develops at his or her own pace. Still, child development tends to follow a fairly predictable path. Find out what language, social, cognitive and physical milestones to expect from ages 2 to 5.

Age 2

At age 2, your child might have completed these skills:

  • Language skills. Speak at least 50 words. Link two words together, such as "my cup" or "no juice". Speak clearly enough for parents to understand some of the words.
  • Social skills. Show more independence. Become defiant. Copy others. Get excited when with other children.
  • Cognitive skills. Play simple make-believe games. Begin to sort objects by shape and color. Find hidden objects.
  • Physical skills. Stand on tiptoes. Climb on furniture and begin to run. Kick a ball.

Age 3

At age 3, your child might have completed these skills:

  • Language skills. Speak 250 to 500 or more words. Speak in three-and four-word sentences. Correctly use pronouns (I, you, me, mine). State his or her first name. Speak clearly enough for strangers to understand much of the time.
  • Social skills. Take turns. Express affection openly. Easily separate from parents. Get upset with major changes in routine.
  • Cognitive skills. Turn book pages one at a time. Copy a circle. Do puzzles with three or four pieces.
  • Physical skills. Walk up and down stairs, alternating feet. Climb, run and pedal a tricycle.
Mar. 09, 2013 See more In-depth