Child Development Stages
The Toddler Years: 1-3 Years Old

child development stages

As kids pass through the child development stages of the toddler years, some fundamental gross and fine motor skills, cognitive skills, and social skills emerge.

Fun toddlers activities are perfect for kids at this age because they give the little ones a chance to try out their new skills and master some new ones.

Kids develop at a fast and furious pace from about 1-3 years of age, picking up skills of locomotion, body awareness, and the ability to manipulate objects.

It’s an exciting time for children as they explore the world around them and start interacting with others.

toddlers activities

There’s a progression of child development milestones that children typically pass through.

Below, there's a list of behaviors that kids demonstrate at each age.

These milestones are general, and every child will progress through them at a slightly different rate.

However, they’ll give you a good idea of what to expect along the way.

1-3 Years

1 Year
1.5 Years
2 Years
2.5 Years
3 Years

Child Development Stages
1 Year Old

Walks holding on to an object

Stands momentarily without support

Walks alone – maybe just 2-3 steps

Sits down without help


Creeps on hands and knees

Moves from sitting to crawling

Moves from sitting to lying on stomach

Pulls self up to stand

Uses pincer grasp – grabs with index finger and thumb

Puts objects into container

Takes objects out of container

Helps when getting dressed by extending an arm or leg

Releases objects voluntarily

Pokes with index finger

Tries to imitate scribbling

Responds to simple verbal request

Tries to imitate words

Explores objects in many different ways – shaking, banging, throwing, dropping

Finds hidden objects easily

Looks at correct picture when the image is named

Imitates gestures and people

Begins to use objects correctly – drinking from cup, brushing hair, talking on a phone

Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys

Child Development Stages
1.5 Years Old

Walks backward

Adult-like reaching and grasping

Good at releasing objects

Pulls, pushes, and dumps things

Pulls off clothing

Turns pages

Stacks 2 blocks

Carries a stuffed animal or doll


Walks without help

Runs stiffly while looking at the ground

Identifies an object in a picture book

Laughs at silly actions

Looks for objects that have been moved out of sight

Puts a round object in a round hole

Follows simple 1-step directions

Solves problems by trial and error

Says 8-10 understandable words

Asks for something by pointing or by using one word

Brings toys to share with

Acts out a familiar activity while playing

Plays alone with toys

Competes with other children for toys

Recognize self in the mirror or in pictures

Child Development Stages
2 Years Old

Walks up and down stairs

Drinks from a straw

Feeds self with spoon

Helps wash hands

Puts arms in sleeves with help

Builds a tower with 3-4 blocks

Tosses or rolls a large ball

Bends over to pick up a toy without falling

Takes steps backward

Likes to take things apart

Explores surroundings

Points to 5 parts of a doll when asked

Knows several hundred words

Uses 2-3 word sentences

Imitates and plays simple pretend games

Listens to short rhymes

Takes turns in play with other children

Enjoys listening to books being read

Remembers simple stories, rhymes, and songs and joins in actions

Shows a preference for either left or right hand

Threads big beads on a string

Puts pieces into a puzzle tray

Looks at books and points to the pictures

Watches and becomes engrossed in activities

Divides toys into simple categories

Knows own gender

Loves playing with other kids but may have trouble playing with kids same age

Child Development Stages
2.5 Years Old

Sits on bike and scoots with both feet

Runs with flat feet and short strides, but not able to stop easily or control speed very well

Briefly stands on tiptoes

Jumps a short distance off the ground

Hops briefly on one foot

Moves around an obstacle

Draws big circles, short lines, and little squiggles

Snips paper but can’t cut around things

Can pour, but spills

Likes the feel of sand or rice running through fingers

Can turn pages of books

Likes to keep hands busy

Climbs a playground ladder and uses slides

Jumps from bottom step of the stairs without losing balance

Learns about 50 new words a month

Knows about 1,000 words

Can say names of pets and family

Dresses self but can’t do zippers, buttons or socks very well

Makes up simple stories

Remembers yesterday’s events and significant events from more distant past

Compares height of two objects and says which one is bigger, but not always correctly

Sorts things based on one characteristic

Walks on a low wall if someone holds hand

Child Development Stages
3 Years Old

Handles objects with better control

Draws lines with more control

Copies circles and crosses

Stacks small blocks

Holds pencil properly

Strings beads

Cuts with scissors

Balances on one foot for 3-4 seconds

Walks on a 1” straight line

Walks on a 4” wide beam using alternating steps

Feeds self

Opens doors

Holds a glass in one hand

Washes and dries hands

Folds paper if shown how

Throws a ball overhead

Tries to catch a large ball

Puts on shoes, but can’t tie laces

Walks on tiptoes

Kicks a ball forward

Jumps with both feet

Pedals a tricycle

Pays attention for about 3 minutes

Knows some numbers

Knows where things usually belong

Laughs at silly ideas

Matches circles and squares

Looks through a book alone

Matches an object to a picture of that object

Match objects that have same function

Counts 2 to 3 objects

Follows simple one-step commands

Finds first letter of name on signs

Makes 3-5 word sentences

Uses plurals

Names at least 10 familiar objects

Names at least one color correctly

Helps with simple tasks

Plays spontaneously with 2 or 3 children in a group

Hops on one foot up to 5 seconds

Catches a bounced ball

Moves forward and backward with agility

Draws a person with 2-4 body parts

Begins to copy some capital letters

Understands concepts of “same” and “different”

Mastered some basic grammar rules

Jumps 5-10 times on both feet and 2-5 times on one foot

Jumps over a hurdle 3-4 inches high

Walks a 3” beam 6 feet forward and 3 feet backward

Walks along a wall without holding on to anything

Continues to add 50 words a month to vocabulary

Can use the negative, like “I don’t”

Constantly asks “why” questions

Builds towers of 8 blocks

Pours accurately

Loves the feeling of water, sand, and dough

Washes face

Brushes teeth

Puts together a 4-6 piece puzzle

Remembers where you have left things

Finds it hard to share and is protective about possessions

Initiates games with other kids

If you’d like to see the development milestones at other ages, click on the following links:

Birth-1 year 
3-6 years

You might also be interested in the following topics:

Child Development Stages: Motor Phases
Play and Child Development
Child Brain Development

Fun activities for toddlers and older kids

>> >> Child Development Stages: Toddlers

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