Developmental milestones: 3-5 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 3 and 5 years your child will be galloping, catching large balls and should show good changes of direction. 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 3 and 5 years with a focus on physical and motor development.

Physical development

  • Developing the balance needed for standing on foot consistently
  • Can stop and change direction
  • Able to hop without putting the other foot down 5 times
  • Starting to learn to move sideways
  • Can confidently ride a balance bike
  • Catching a ball with reminders to keep their hands together

Cognitive development

  • Begins to understand opposites
  • Still focuses on self and does not understand tag games larger than one versus one
  • Very inquisitive, will ask lots of questions

Social development

  • Enjoys being silly and silly songs and words
  • Enjoys cooperative 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.

Activities in this age can involve a lot of imagination and storytelling. Imaging the different ways that animals move is a great way to inspire moving in different planes of motion. For example, walking like a crab encourages lateral steps, while jumping like a frog involves a deep squat and an explosive movement upwards. For storytelling, using characters from favourite shows and books can motivate children to move in different ways and engage in active play.