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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 2 to 3 Years > Intellectual Development

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Intellectual Development - Problem Solving: 2 to 3 years

Intellectual Development means being able to communicate, to think both creatively and abstractly, to pay attention, solve problems, and develop keen judgment and a lifelong readiness to learn.

Emerging Skills
  • Sort groups of objects into sets
  • Begin to understand the concept of time (for example, "soon" and "in a long time")
  • Better understand the similarities and differences of shapes and sizes
  • Able to complete simple puzzles
  • Find out more about What to Expect from your toddler, 2 to 3 years.


    Through the comfort and responsiveness of an adult, toddlers will learn how to handle their emotions and how to seek help when needed.

    Parents Can:
  • Use laundry routines as an opportunity to sort family members' clothing
  • Child Will:
  • Be able to identify his socks and shirts from another family members'
  • Feel a sense of family belonging
  • Begin to understand that similar objects can be grouped by size

  • Parents Can:
  • Go grocery shopping with their toddler and, together, put things away at home
  • Child Will:
  • Feel she makes a contribution to the family routines
  • Begin to understand which foods belong in the fridge and which ones go into a cupboard
  • Sort and name fruits and vegetables

  • Parents Can:
  • Make playdough with their toddler
  • Child Will:
  • Observe how dry ingredients change in texture through the process of "cooking"
  • Enjoy the sensory pleasure from mixing the ingredients

  • Play

    Through opportunities for play, toddlers will experience joyful, free, spontaneous moments of fun while also learning about themselves and others.

    Parents Can:
  • Provide different sized jars and lids and, together, find out which ones go together
  • Child Will:
  • Enjoy working with you to solve the problem
  • Gain confidence in trial and error
  • Begin to recognize common features that create sets

  • Parents Can:
  • Provide simple puzzles with three to six pieces
  • Child Will:
  • Develop trial and error skills (try actions out and see what happens, in that way learning by mistakes made in the course of play)
  • Enjoy the feeling of success
  • Gain confidence in her ability to put things together

  • Teach

    Through routines, and emotionally and physically safe and secure environments, toddlers can learn how to think, solve problems and communicate.

    Parents Can:
  • Make their own sorting game, using old lids and stickers, for example, animals, cars, shapes or colours. With their toddler, sort the lids by subject, colour or any other category
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand the concept of sorting and grouping
  • Experiment with sorting using colour as a category
  • Talk about things at home that are the same colour

  • Parents Can:
  • Offer experiences for their toddler to sort toys, for example, cars in one container and blocks in another
  • Child Will:
  • Begin to understand the concept of sorting and grouping
  • Experiment with sorting using size as a category, for example, putting all the big blocks in one pile and the little ones in another

  • Parents Can:
  • Play with playdough using different tools, cookie cutters and so on
  • Child Will:
  • Compare the different sizes and shapes of objects he creates
  • Experiment with different actions on the playdough, for example, rolling it with a rolling pin versus rolling it in his hand
  • Explore the many things that can be made with playdough

  • Social Development: 2 to 3 years
    Emotional Development: 2 to 3 years
    Intellectual Development - Language: 2 to 3 years
    Intellectual Development - Numeracy: 2 to 3 years

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