A child is typically able to do the following:
By age one
- Recognizes name
- Says 2-3 words besides "mama" and "dada"
- Imitates familiar words
- Understands simple instructions
- Recognizes words as symbols for objects: Car - points to garage, cat - meows
- Smiles spontaneously
- Responds differently to strangers than to familiar people
- Pays attention to own name
- Responds to "no"
- Copies simple actions of others
Between one and two
- Understands "no"
- Uses 10 to 20 words, including names
- Combines two words such as "daddy bye-bye"
- Waves good-bye and plays pat-a-cake
- Makes the "sounds" of familiar animals
- Gives a toy when asked
- Uses words such as "more" to make wants known
- Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
- Brings object from another room when asked
- Recognizes self in mirror or picture
- Refers to self by name
- Plays by self; initiates own play
- Imitates adult behaviors in play
- Helps put things away
Between two and three
- Identifies body parts
- Carries on 'conversation' with self and dolls
- Asks, "What's that?" And "where's my?"
- Uses 2-word negative phrases such as "no want"
- Forms some plurals by adding "s"; book, books
- Has a 450 word vocabulary
- Gives first name, holds up fingers to tell age
- Combines nouns and verbs "mommy go"
- Understands simple time concepts: "last night", "tomorrow"
- Refers to self as "me" rather than by name
- Tries to get adult attention: "watch me"
- Likes to hear same story repeated
- May say "no" when means "yes"
- Talks to other children as well as adults
- Solves problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
- Answers "where" questions
- Names common pictures and things
- Uses short sentences like "me want more" or "me want cookie"
- Matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little
- Plays near other children
- Watches other children; joins briefly in their play
- Defends own possessions
- Begins to play house
- Symbolically uses objects, self in play
- Participates in simple group activity
- Knows gender identity
Between three and four
- Can tell a story
- Has a sentence length of 4-5 words
- Has a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words
- Names at least one color
- Understands "yesterday," "summer", "lunchtime", "tonight", "little-big"
- Begins to obey requests like "put the block under the chair"
- Knows his or her last name, name of street on which he/she lives and several nursery rhymes
- Joins in play with other children; begins to interact
- Shares toys; takes turns with assistance
- Begins dramatic play, acting out whole scenes
Between four and five
- Has sentence length of 4-5 words
- Uses past tense correctly
- Has a vocabulary of nearly 1,500 words
- Points to colors red, blue, yellow and green
- Identifies triangles, circles and squares
- Understands "In the morning" , "next", "noontime"
- Can speak of imaginary conditions such as "I hope"
- Asks many questions, asks "who?" And "why?"
- Plays and interacts with other children
- Dramatic play is closer to reality, with attention paid to detail, time, and space
- Plays dress-up
- Shows interest in exploring sex differences
Between five and six
- Has a sentence length of 5-6 words
- Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
- Defines objects by their use (you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
- Knows spatial relations like "on top", "behind", "far" and "near"
- Knows her address
- Identifies a penny, nickel and dime
- Knows common opposites like "big/little"
- Understands "same" and "different"
- Counts ten objects
- Asks questions for information
- Distinguished left and right hand in herself
- Uses all types of sentences, for example "let's go to the store after we eat"
- Chooses own friends
- Plays simple table games
- Plays competitive games
- Engages in cooperative play with other children involving group decisions, role assignments, fair play