Development at 2-3 years

Personal and Social Skills   Crian+ºa_brincar

  • Says “I love you”
  • Interacts with other children in simple games
  • Verbalizes toilet needs
  • Continues to develop competence and independence in self-help skills (brushing teeth, feeding, dressing)
  • Helps pick up and put away toys


  • Continue to provide comfort and a safe, peaceful environment.
  • Praise child when child indicates toilet needs.
  • Play simple games with child (Ring around the Rosie, Hide-n-Seek).
  • Help child play dress up.
  • Develop special interactions or “I love you” rituals (a special tickle upon greeting each other, a special nickname).
  • Respect child’s expression of independence, but provide guidance and limits. (Allow child to paint with water on sidewalk or porch floor, but not on inside wall.)

Language and Understanding Skills

  • Follow two-step directions (“Pick up your shoes and put them in the closet.”)
  • Takes part in simple conversations (Responds to “What’s your name?”)
  • Answer simple what questions
  • Regularly uses two- or three-word sentences (“Me want juices.”)
  • Begins to make choices (which shirt to wear, whether to play outside or inside)
  • Asks many questions


  • Allow child to make limited decisions (choosing some foods at mealtime, choosing one of two shirts to wear).
  • Ask child to follow directions. (“Pick up your doll and put it on the shelf, please.”)
  • Listen to and talk with child.
  • Read picture books for 10 minutes each day with child and talk about the pictures.
  • Point out colors of objects in pictures.
  • Give simple answer to child’s questions.
  • Label shelves and toy boxes/bins with picture and name of toy.
  • Sing songs and nursery rhymes.

Small Muscle Skills

  • Uses spoon and cup independently
  • Turns handle to open door
  • Completes simple insert puzzle (4 to 6 pieces)
  • Unscrews lids
  • Builds 6- to 8-block tower
  • Snips paper with scissors


  • Provide simple puzzles for child to complete.
  • Provide child with small safety scissors and paper to snip.
  • Provide sand, pudding, or finger paint for writing with finger.
  • Provide many containers with tops to open and close.
  • Provide a busy box or purse with simple hooks to undo, compartments to open, and other things for child to manipulate.

Large Muscle Skills

  • Rides and steers wheeled toys
  • Pushes or pulls door open
  • Walks up stairs holding rail


  • Arrange for child to play games with others (London Bridge Is Falling Down, Tag).
  • Encourage child to practice throwing balls and beanbags.
  • Provide practice in riding a tricycle.
  • Show child how to jump over a chalk mark or hose laid flat on the ground.
  • Run with child in safe places.

Let child roll on grass or sand