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Home > My Child > Ages and Stages > 2 to 3 Years > What to Expect

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What to Expect: Your 2 to 3 Year Old

Developmental milestones describe what most children are capable of doing at a particular point in time. Developmental milestones also provide a snapshot of the new skills many children will be starting to master in the upcoming months or year. Knowing what children are capable of, and what they will be practicing, can help you provide appropriate experiences to enhance your child's development.

Remember, developmental milestones only provide benchmarks. Each child develops at his or her own pace. So, in any particular child some skills may emerge early, while others may appear later.

If you have any concerns about your child's development, consult your child's physician.


Typically Can:
  • Play with other children
  • At times, get frustrated and bite, hit or pull hair
  • Share a piece of food
  • Be aware of sex differences
  • Emerging Skills:
  • May be identifying his own sex
  • Taking turns in a song or game
  • Cooperating in putting toys away

  • Problem Solving

    Typically Can:
  • Better understand the similarities and differences of shapes and sizes
  • Sort groups of objects into sets
  • Complete simple puzzles
  • Name parts of the body
  • Engage in simple pretend play with others
  • Learn to listen and follow simple directions
  • Match familiar objects by choice
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Matching colours (red, blue, yellow)

  • Numeracy

    Typically Can:
  • Become aware of how numbers sound
  • Become aware of the verbal sequence of numbers
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Understanding that numbers stand for a certain quantity
  • Developing an understanding of one-to-one correspondence
  • Understanding ordinal numbers
  • Understanding the concept of time - "soon," "in a long time," but not "yesterday"
  • Counting up to five

  • Language

    Typically Can:
  • Use personal pronouns such as "mine," "me," and "you"
  • Express feelings verbally, such as "I’m mad"
  • Use size words correctly, such as big and little
  • Use his own name to refer to himself
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Using plurals in a generalized way, for example, foots
  • Making three-word sentences
  • Answering questions

  • Emotional

    Typically Can:
  • Demand her own way for much of the time
  • Be attached to a cuddly or favourite toy
  • Be rigid in the need for ordered routine and predictability, for example, what was done yesterday has to be done exactly the same way today
  • Name several emotions and identify them in others
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Displaying frustration and tantrums if he is not understood
  • May be developing sudden fears

  • Gross Motor

    Typically Can:
  • Run without falling
  • Walk backwards and sideways
  • Climb over furniture
  • Walk upstairs and downstairs alone, using both feet on one step
  • Jump in place, both feet off the floor
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Pedaling a tricycle
  • Hopping on one foot

  • Fine Motor

    Typically Can:
  • Build a tower of five or more blocks
  • Complete a simple inset puzzle
  • String beads
  • Hold a brush and paints on paper
  • Clutch a pencil with her whole hand
  • Emerging Skills:
  • Using small scissors to cut
  • Imitating folding paper in half
  • Scribbling a circle
  • Pulling up a zipper, but not doing up buttons
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