• Please keep in mind that these milestones are estimates, not absolute ages that skills must be obtained. Also, a child does not need to have mastered each skill listed, these are general guidelines.

    Communication Milestones Ages 3-4:

    Hearing and Understanding: 

    • Hears you when you call from another room.
    • Hears television or radio at the same loudness level as other family members.
    • Understands words for some colors, like red, blue, and green
    • Understands words for some shapes, like circle and square 
    • Understands words for family, like brother, grandmother, and aunt


    ·         Talks about activities at school or at friends' homes.

    ·         Talks about what happened during the day. Uses about 4 sentences at a time.

    ·         People outside of the family usually understand child's speech.

    ·         Answers simple "who?", "what?", and "where?" questions.

    ·         Asks when and how questions.

    ·         Says rhyming words, like hat-cat

    ·         Uses pronouns, like I, you, me, we, and they

    ·         Uses some plural words, like toys, birds, and buses

    ·         Uses a lot of sentences that have 4 or more words.

    ·         Usually talks easily without repeating syllables or words.


    Communication Milestones Ages 4-5:

    Hearing and Understanding:

    ·         Understands words for order, like first, next, and last.

    ·         Understands words for time, like yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

    ·         Follows longer directions, like "Put your pajamas on, brush your teeth, and then pick out a book."

    ·         Follows classroom directions, like "Draw a circle on your paper around something you eat."

    ·         Hears and understands most of what is said at home and in school.


    Says all speech sounds in words. May make mistakes on sounds that are harder to say, like l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, th.

    ·         Responds to "What did you say?"

    ·         Talks without repeating sounds or words most of the time.

    ·         Names letters and numbers.

    ·         Uses sentences that have more than 1 action word, like jump, play, and get. May make some mistakes, like "Zach got 2 video games, but I got one."

    ·         Tells a short story.

    ·         Keeps a conversation going.

    ·         Talks in different ways depending on the listener and place. May use short sentences with younger children or talk louder outside than inside.


    Cognition Milestones Ages 3-4:

    ·         Understand the idea of same and different

    ·         Pretend and fantasize more creatively

    ·         Follow three-part commands

    ·         Remember parts of a story

    ·         Count, and understand the concept of counting

    ·         Sort objects by shape and color

    ·         Complete age-appropriate puzzles

    ·         Recognize and identify common objects and pictures


    Cognition Milestones Ages 4-5:

    • Can count 10 or more objects with one-to-one correspondence
    • Better understands the concept of time
    • Retells a story from a picture book with reasonable accuracy
    • Can tell what will happen next
    • Names some letters
    • Copies then later prints own name
    • Sorts objects in more than one way (by shape, then by size)


    Adaptive Behavior Milestones Ages 3-4 :

    • Completely undresses self
    • Independently puts on socks, coat, sweater, pants manipulates large buttons and snaps
    • Eats entire meal independently
    • Uses a spoon and fork effectively
    • Can pour liquid with some assistance
    • Washes hands unassisted
    • Learns toilet training
    • Wipes nose unassisted (may need a reminder!)


    Adaptive Behavior Milestones Ages 4-5:

    • Helps to clean up snack and toys
    • Follows routines with less guidance
    • Wipes face and nose
    • Begins to button and zip
    • Uses all feeding utensils
    • Dresses and undresses without assistance
    • Cares for all toileting needs


    Social-Emotional Behavior Milestones Ages 3-4:

    • Cooperates with other children
    • Negotiates solutions to conflict
    • Converses with other children in social situations
    • Plays group games with simple rules
    • Increasingly inventive in pretend play and dress up
    • Calls attention to self (shows off)
    • Shows empathy for others
    • Likes to ‘help’ with simple household tasks


    Social-Emotional Behavior Milestones Ages 4-5:

    • Prefers play with others, selects own friends
    • Wants to please friends
    • More likely to follow rules
    • Understands rules of fair play, explains rules of games to others
    • Shows concern for others, expresses the feeling of being sorry
    • Can distinguish fantasy from reality


    Motor Skills Milestones Age 3:

    Gross Motor:

    • Stands on 1 foot for 3 seconds
    • Jumps forward
    • Jumps off a step
    • Walks on a line
    • Walks backward
    • Walks on tip toes
    • Throws a ball overhand
    • Catches a ball consistently
    • Kicks a ball forward
    • Pedals a tricycle
    • Walks up stairs alternating feet

     Fine motor:

    • Uses neat pincer and 3-jaw chuck (3 finger tips) to pick up small items.
    • Uses both hands together in front of body for tasks.
    • Build tower of 9-10 cubes.
    • Puts pegs into pegboard
    • Demonstrates hand dominance for many tasks
    • Turns pages of book singly
    • Uses inverted or fisted grasp to hold writing utensils
    • Strings large beads
     Visual Motor Skills:
    • Colors approximately 50% of 8-10 inch picture
    • Imitates pre-writing strokes (o,-,l)
    • Imitates 3-block designs
    • matches colors
    • Places circle, square and triangle into inset puzzle
    • Points to pictures of familiar objects

    Motor Skills Milestones Ages 4:

    Gross Motor:            

    • Stands on 1 foot for 5 seconds
    • Hops on 1 foot, 2 times in a row
    • Gallops
    • Walks up and down stairs alternating feet
    • Pedals and steers tricycle smoothly
    • Catches a bounced ball consistently
    • May start to pump a swing

     Fine Motor Skills:

    • Snips across paper with scissors.
    • Strings small beads
    • Has definite hand dominance
    • Uses inverted or tripod grasp for writing utensils

     Visual Motor Skills:

    • Imitates cross stroke, diagonal lines and square
    • Holds paper in place with other hand while coloring
    • Uses multiple colors to color picture
    • Matches shapes
    • Completes 8-10 piece inset puzzles


    Motor Skills Milestones Ages 4:


    • Helps to clean up snack and toys
    • Follows routines with less guidance
    • Wipes face and nose
    • Begins to button and zip


    Motor Skills Milestones Age 5:

    Gross Motor

    • Stands on 1 foot for 10 seconds
    • Hops forward on 1 foot, 6 or more times without stopping
    • Jumps backward
    • Jumps sideways
    • Skips
    • Pumps a swing
    • Walks up and kicks a rolling ball
    • Walks on a line backward
    • Runs smoothly changing directions

     Fine motor skills:

    • Cuts lines and simple curves with standard scissors.
    • Holds writing utensils with tripod grasp
    • Opens and closes containers.

     Visual Motor Skills:

    • Copies triangle, prints first name and traces other letters.
    • Completes simple interlocking puzzles
    • Matches letters and numbers
    • Imitates 5-6 block designs

    When to Be Concerned:

    Ages 3-4

    • Cannot throw a ball overhand
    • Cannot jump in place
    • Cannot ride a tricycle
    • Cannot grasp a crayon between thumb and fingers
    • Has difficulty scribbling
    • Cannot stack four blocks
    • Still clings or cries whenever his parents leave him
    • Shows no interest in interactive games
    • Ignores other children
    • Doesn’t respond to people outside the family
    • Doesn’t engage in fantasy play
    • Resists dressing, sleeping, using the toilet
    • Lashes out without any self-control when angry or upset
    • Cannot copy a circle
    • Doesn’t use sentences of more than three words
    • Doesn’t use “me” and “you” appropriately


    Ages 4-5

    • Exhibits extremely fearful or timid behavior
    • Exhibits extremely aggressive behavior
    • Is unable to separate from parents without major protest
    • Is easily distracted and unable to concentrate on any single activity for more than five minutes
    • Shows little interest in playing with other children
    • Refuses to respond to people in general, or responds only superficially
    • Rarely uses fantasy or imitation in play
    • Seems unhappy or sad much of the time
    • Doesn’t engage in a variety of activities
    • Avoids or seems aloof with other children and adults
    • Doesn’t express a wide range of emotions
    • Has trouble eating, sleeping, or using the toilet
    • Can’t differentiate between fantasy and reality
    • Seems unusually passive
    • Cannot understand two-part commands using prepositions (“Put the cup on the table”; “Get the ball under the couch.”)
    • Can’t correctly give her first and last name
    • Doesn’t use plurals or past tense properly when speaking
    • Doesn’t talk about her daily activities and experiences
    • Cannot build a tower of six to eight blocks
    • Seems uncomfortable holding a crayon
    • Has trouble taking off her clothing
    • Cannot brush her teeth efficiently
    • Cannot wash and dry her hands