Development of a Two Year Old

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The following is a list of skills a child attains between his/her 2nd and 3rd birthday. These skills are listed under the approximate age that most children will learn them. It is important to realize that children develop normally at different rates, so your child may attain these skills a couple months earlier or later than they are listed. If your child is late in learning several skills in his/her age level, you may want to discuss the delay with your doctor or county Birth to Three early intervention teachers.

24-27 • 28-31 • 32-36 • Songs & Games

24 – 27 Months

  • Motor Skills
    • walks up and down and down stairs alone, holding rail or wall
    • jumps from bottom step with feet together
    • kicks ball
    • unscrews a jar lid
    • goes up and down a small slide
    • stands on tiptoes
    • catches large ball
    • builds tower of six cubes
    • holds crayon like an adult
  • Cognitive Skills
    • assembles three piece puzzles
    • recognizes many pictures in a book
    • identifies rooms in own house
    • can name and point to familiar adults in photos
    • can find at least six different body parts
    • listens to entire story
    • when asked, your child can show you how mommy drives a car, grandma washes dishes, etc.
  • Language
    • uses own name when referring to self
    • uses three word sentences
    • imitates words spontaneously
    • has vocabulary of 50 words or more
    • uses words for food or drink
    • can find and name pictures of common objects
  • Social
    • chooses a toy and begins to play
    • uses word “mine” to defend property
    • prefers to play near, but not always with other children
    • pretends to do familiar activities – talking on phone, sleeping
  • Self-help
    • unwraps food
    • helps put things away
    • uses spoon and fork with some help
    • enjoys bath time
    • cooperates with tooth brushing
    • enjoys messy play (sand, paint, playdoh)
    • takes off some clothes without help (socks, sweatpants, t-shirts, etc.)

28 – 31 Months

  • Motor Skills
    • builds 8 cube tower
    • imitates folding paper
    • walks on tiptoes
    • throws ball 5 to 7 feet
    • draws a circle
    • walks backwards and sideways
  • Cognitive Skills
    • matches toys by color
    • understands concept of one (give me one ______)
    • matches 3 shapes
    • understands most action words (sit, jump, etc.)
    • joins in nursery rhymes and songs
    • listens to entire story
    • can select the biggest or smallest toy
  • Language
    • will follow requests to put a toy in, on, or under
    • answers questions regarding functions of body parts (what do you see with?)
    • answers where, what, who questions
    • uses size words
    • vocabulary of 200 words or more
    • speaks in 3 – 5 word sentences
  • Social
    • can tell the difference between boys and girls
    • identifies self in mirror
    • plays with other children and starts to share with reminders
  • Self-help
    • washes hands
    • undresses without help
    • dresses with some help
    • wipes nose with help
    • may refuse to eat many foods
    • shows awareness of wet/dirty diaper
    • enjoys bath time
    • enjoys messy play (sand, paint, playdoh)

32 – 36 Months

  • Motor Skills
    • rides tricycle using pedals
    • goes up and down stairs alternating feet
    • stands on one foot and balances for 1 – 5 seconds
    • runs well
    • cuts with scissors
    • hops on one foot
    • imitates building a 3 block bridge with blocks
  • Cognitive Skills
    • matches 4 shapes
    • flips book right side up when upside down
    • stacks rings in correct order
    • completes a 4 piece puzzle
    • listens to entire story
    • understands concept of 2 (give me 2 _________)
    • points to several colors when named
  • Language
    • gives first and last name when asked
    • participates in story telling
    • recites a few nursery rhymes and songs
    • asks what, where, and why questions
    • vocabulary of 300 – 1000 words
    • speech is easy to understand
  • Social
    • shares toys
    • takes pride in own achievements
    • plays simple group games (Ring Around the Rosy)
    • enjoys make-believe play
  • Self-help
    • knows proper place for own things
    • pours liquid from small container
    • uses fork well
    • washes and dries hands without help
    • enjoys bath time
    • enjoys messy play (sand, paint, playdoh)
    • can tell adult when he needs to use toilet and has some accidents
    • understands and stays away from common dangers (hot stove, hot food, knives, street)


Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle little star.
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high.
Like a diamond in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little star.
How I wonder what you are.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
And on his farm he had some chicks, E-I-E-I-O.
With a chick, chick here and a chick, chick there.
Here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a chick, chick.
Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.
*Additional animals and sounds:
duck - quack
cow - moo
dog - woof
pig - oink
cat - meow

Where is Thumbkin
Where is Thumbkin? Where is Thumbkin?
(Hide both fists behind your back.)
Here I am. Here I am.
(Bring one fist out, showing your thumb, bring second thumb out.)
How are you today sir? Very well I thank you.
(Pretend thumbs are talking to each other.)
Run away. Run away.
(Return fists behind your back.)
*Follow the same actions using the pointer, ringman, tallman, pinky, and the whole family (all of the fingers).

Put Your Finger On Your Shirt
(tune to: If You’re Happy and You Know it)
Put your finger on your shirt, on your shirt.
Put your finger on your shirt, on your shirt.
Put your finger on your shirt.
Put your finger on your shirt.
Put your finger on your shirt, on your shirt.
(You can use any article of clothing or body part with this song, i.e. nose, hair, arms, sock, pants, shoes, etc.)

If You’re Happy and You Know It
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap).
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap).
If you’re happy and you know it, then you’re face will surely show it.
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands (clap, clap).
*Other verses:
Stomp your feet
Shout hurray