Birth to 3 months
- Smiles and coos.
- Recognizes faces, touch, voices and smell.
- Grips your finger or a toy placed in his or her hands.
- Makes sounds, facial expressions and movements to communicate that he or she feels sleepy, hungry, happy or uncomfortable.
- Relies on you to respond to signals and provide comfort.
3 to 6 months
- Rolls over from front to back.
- Sits with help and holds head steady.
- Responds to you with a few different sounds.
- Pushes up to see people and things around him or her.
- Drools; may start teething.
- Settles into a more regular sleeping and eating schedule.
- Plays “peek-a-boo”; plays with fingers and toes.
- Reaches for, grasps and explores objects with fingers, hands and mouth.
- Uses smiles and laughter to recognize you and to appreciate playtime.
6 to 9 months
- Rolls over from back to front.
- Copies your actions—like waving bye-bye and shaking their head “no”.
- Uses thumb and fingers to pick up objects.
- Holds his or her own bottle; expresses taste preferences.
- Babbles and makes sounds to communicate. Smiles at his or her reflection in a mirror.
- Sits independently; may crawl, scoot or pull up on furniture to stand.
- May love meeting new people—or may be shy at first. May like lots of sound and activity—or may prefer quiet and calm.
9 to 12 months
- Makes sounds and movements to communicate wants.
- Says a few words like “mama” and “dada”.
- Understands many words; can follow simple directions like “go get the ball”.
- Creeps and crawls; may begin to walk.
- Cries when you leave.
- Drinks from a cup with help.
- Tries to build a tower with two blocks.
- Figures out how things work through repetition (e.g. dropping his or her toy for you to pick up again and again).
12 to 15 months
- Walks independently—or by holding a hand.
- Crawls up stairs (but can’t come down yet).
- Throws a ball.
- Turns pages in a book.
- Points to identify a body part or picture.
- Says “no”—or tries to do things without your help.
- Imitates, like talking on a phone or stirring in a pot.
15 to 18 months
- Finger-feeds self, starts using a spoon and drinks from a cup without help.
- Walks, runs and climbs, scribbles with a crayon and builds a tower with blocks.
- Comforts others or tries to make them laugh with sounds and actions.
- Understands simple questions; says as many as 20 words.
- Has difficulty handling feelings; has tantrums and needs help to calm down.
18 to 24 months
- Learns new words every day; may say 50 to 100 words by his or her second birthday and make two-word sentences.
- Understands “no”—but may have trouble controlling feelings and actions.
- Wants to do things independently.
- Uses imagination (e.g. making noises while playing cars).
24 to 30 months
- Walks up stairs one foot at a time, walks backward, balances on one foot.
- Uses language—about 50 words, including “no,” “me” and “mine”—to express feelings.
- Links words together; speaks clearly enough to be understood half the time.
- Opens and closes things to see how they work; sorts similar objects together.
- Gets scared; not always sure what’s real and what’s pretend.
- Needs help sharing; has one or two friends.
- Laughs at silly stories and actions of others.
30 to 36 months
- Does “big kid stuff” like running, riding a tricycle, drawing or getting dressed.
- Knows his or her first name and age.
- Makes friends and plays cooperatively.
- Uses as many as 900 words.
- Understands spatial concepts like “over” and “under”.
- Walks up and down stairs using alternating feet.
3 to 4 years
- Uses pronouns (e.g. “I,” “you,” “we,” “they”) and some plurals.
- Remembers what happened yesterday; acts out stories.
- Takes turns.
- Separates more easily from parents; openly expresses affection.
- Builds a tower of 6 blocks.
- Manipulates small objects; turns pages one at a time.
4 to 5 years
- Speaks clearly enough to be understood by strangers.
- Uses verbs that end in “ing”.
- Tells simple stories.
- Tries to solve problems; is interested in new experiences.
- Cooperates with friends; becomes more independent.
- Wants to fit in with others and understands gender.
- Draws a person with two to four body parts and uses scissors.
- Understands “same” and “different” and “behind” and “next to”.
- Stands on one foot for at least five seconds.
- Dresses and undresses independently.
- Throws a ball overhand, kicks a ball and catches a bounced ball most of the time.
5 to 6 years
- Uses compound and complex sentences.
- Remembers full name, address and sometimes phone number.
- Understands the concept of rhyming.
- Follows three-step commands (e.g. “put on your hat, put on your coat and stand by the door”).
- Uses imagination to create stories, but can distinguish between fantasy and reality.
- Correctly names at least four colors and counts at least 10 objects.
- Copies a square, triangle and other geometric shapes.
- Understands the concepts of time and sequential order.
- Stands on one foot for at least 10 seconds; hops, swings and somersaults.
- Starts to skip, swim and ride a bike.
- Brushes teeth and cares for other personal needs.
Courtesy of the Wyoming Department of Education, zerotothree.org and the Mayo Clinic