top of page

Developmental Milestones for 2-5 years old

All kids develop at their own rate, and there’s no need to worry when kids are slow to develop some of these skills.

Milestones are a great way at helping to keep track of your child’s learning and development. Check out these developmental milestones below to get a better idea of which skills are typically expected at various stages from age 2 to 5. Keep in mind that kids develop at different paces. So if your child is late to do a few of these things, don’t panic.

2-3 years

Physical (gross motor)

  • Can throw and kick a ball, may even try to catch with both hands

  • May also be able to stand on tiptoes and take a few steps when asked to

  • Can walk up stairs holding railing

Physical (fine motor)

  • Tries new actions such as brushing teeth and combing hair.

  • Uses fingers to hold crayons and utensils instead of fisted (Children typically begin grasping items with their palms when they first learnt how to open and close their hands. As they learn to control their fingers, they may then be able to start using their fingers to hold crayons and utensils instead of with their fists.)


  • Typically have a vocabulary of around 200 words,

  • Can start to combine 2-4 words to speak in short sentences

  • May also start to understand plurals and use basic pronouns such as me and you.


  • Pretend plays with objects e.g. pretending a box to be a boat or a cone to be a hat

  • May start to talk about things that happened in the past

  • Can fix 3-4 pieces puzzles

  • Can group toys by type, size and colour

  • Follow 2-steps directions


  • Starts mimicking adults and other children’s actions

  • May start to test boundaries just to see what happens

  • May have more temper tantrums when frustrated

Redflags to look out for (2 years old)

  • Doesn’t speak at least 15 words

  • Doesn’t use 2 word sentences

  • Doesn’t imitate actions or words

  • Doesn’t follow simple instructions

3-4 years

Physical (gross motor)

  • Can run, hop and stand on one foot

  • Can walk backwards and climb stairs one foot after another

  • Kick and throw a small ball, may also try to catch a big ball

  • Pedal and steer a bicycle or tricycle

Physical (fine motor)

  • Draw a circle with crayon, pencil or marker

  • Build a tower of 6 or more blocks


  • Extends the use of basic grammar (An easy way to see is that if they try to apply learnt grammar rules onto a new word e.g saying “mouses” instead of “mice”)

  • May use 5-6 words in a sentence

  • May speak 2-3 sentences in a conversation

  • Asks “wh” questions


  • Can recite 1-10 and count item by item

  • Can narrate favourite stories

  • Understands the concept of “same” and “different”

  • Can follow 3-steps directions


  • Starts to involve other children in their play

  • Can start showing care and concern to other children who may be in distress

  • Able to take turns even if they don’t want to

  • Shows a variety of emotions more than happy, sad, and angry

4-5 years old

Physical (gross motor)

  • Able to throw and bounce a ball

  • Able to jump over objects and climb playground ladders

  • Walk up and down stairs without difficulties

  • Can jump with 2 feet lifted off the ground together

Physical (fine motor)

  • Able to get dressed with minimal help

  • Can draw and copy basic shapes, wavy lines and crosses

  • Attempt to write strokes that appears like letters

  • Begins to have better coordination cutting with scissors

  • Stacks at least 10 blocks

  • Strings beads without difficulties

  • Able to pinch and mould clay into various forms


  • May have a vocabulary of up to 1000 words

  • Makes up stories, songs and nonsensical words, talks about the things they are doing

  • Able to pronounce most sounds accurately, however may still have some difficulties with s, w, r sounds

  • May argue even though not logical

  • May adjust speech according to the age of the person being talked to


  • Sorts things by size, shape and colour

  • Understand more concepts such as height, size, opposites

  • Begins to understand the difference between what’s real versus pretend

  • Counts up to 20

  • Starts to understand logical sequencing of events

  • Understands more abstract ideas e.g bigger, lesser, later, soon

  • Able to put in order height e.g. from smallest to largest

  • May be able to stay on task for 10-15 minutes


  • Plays more with other children

  • Display a wider range of emotions

  • Able to display more cooperative behaviour like sharing and taking turns

  • May try to find simple ways to resolve conflicts in situations

All kids develop at their own rate, and there’s no need to worry when kids are slow to develop some of these skills. But if they aren’t meeting the majority of these milestones along the way, talk to a professional to find out what’s going on, if there’s any concerns about developmental delays, and how to help your child progress.

Written by: Marjorie

1,360 views0 comments


bottom of page