Developmental milestones: 2-3 years old

Developmental milestones are checkpoints in your child’s physical, cognitive and behavioural growth. It is important to be aware of certain milestones in your child's development, but it is not something that you should place intense focus on. For example, between 2 and 3 years old your child will be jumping in place and able to walk on their tiptoes. Being aware of these milestones allows you to understand if your child is on the right trajectory, or if a particular milestone may be missing or significantly delayed, then to seek professional advice. 

Below is a list of major milestones that typically appear between 2 and 3 years with a focus on physical and motor development.

Physical development

  • Able to jump and get both feet off the ground
  • Can walk up and down steps, usually placing both feet on each step
  • Uses both feet at the same time to propel a ride-on toy
  • Able to walk backwards and sideways
  • Throwing technique begins to develop
  • Can zip and unzip
  • Can hold pencil with thumb and fingers

Cognitive development

  • Can match and sort shapes
  • Attention span lengthens
  • Uses trial and error to solve problems

Social development

  • Will engage with play with others
  • Acts out emotions through play

This information is taken from Toddler’s First Steps. For more information and a more complete list of developmental milestones, please visit HealthLink BC.

Engaging in games and activities that involve stopping, turning and changes of direction are great at this age. A game like Keep the Bucket Full can be a lot of fun and keeps the children engaged while moving. At this age, allowing children to move in multiple directions and in environments with lots of moving objects is a great way to develop anticipation skills.

For example, running towards your child so they have to move or stop to allow you past develops the movement skills to change direction, as well as the cognitive skills of anticipation, spatial awareness and collision avoidance. Trying as many games and ways to move as possible is also important.