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Children's Developmental Milestones

Are you concerned about your child's development? Below is a detailed list of age-appropriate developmental milestones for babies and children.

Gross Motor Milestones

Gross motor skill development involves the large muscles in the arms, legs and torso. Gross motor activities are essential to everyday physical activities like walking, running, throwing, lifting, kicking, etc. 

Gross motor milestones for kids

Birth to 2 months

  • Raises head slightly off floor or bed when on stomach

  • Holds head up momentarily when supported

  • Alternates kicking legs when on back

  • Arm thrusts in play

9-11 months

  • Sits alone with trunk rotation

  • Pivots and scoots in sitting

  • Creeps or crawls

  • Pulls to stand

  • Cruises

  • Stands alone momentarily

19-24 months

  • Walks down one step at a time with rail or hand holding

  • Squats in play and stands back up

  • Jumps in place

  • Kicks a stationary ball

  • Jumps off 12 inch box with 1 foot leading

  • walks on balance beam with 1 foot on/ 1 foot off

3-4 years

  • Catches a bounced ball

  • Rides a tricycle

  • Hop on one foot 2-5 times

  • Balances on one foot 2-5 seconds

  • Consecutive jumping

  • Walks up stairs step over step alone

3-5 months

  • Lifts head and chest when on stomach (props on forearms)

  • Head control improving

  • Some head bobbing in supported sitting

  • Rolls from side to side

  • Rolls from stomach to back

  • Sits briefly with arm support

  • Random batting at objects

  • Hands to midline

  • Makes crawling movements

12-15 months

  • Assumes tall kneeling

  • Walks on knees

  • Walks independently without support

  • Able to stand without support

  • Creeps up stairs

  • Able to start, stop and turn without falling while walking

  • Crawls up on chairs or other furniture

  • Runs

24-29 months

  • Stands on balance beam alone

  • Walks up stairs one step at a time with no railing

  • Runs well

  • Briefly stands on one foot

  • Jumps from one step with feet together

  • Throws ball overhead

  • Climbs on play equipment-ladders, slides, etc.

4-5 years

  • Balances on one foot 4-8 seconds

  • Walks down stairs step over step alone

  • Kicks a rolling ball

  • Catches large and small ball with outstretched arms

  • Throws a small ball overhand

6-8 months

  • Reaches to objects on stomach

  • Pivots around when on stomach

  • Pulls self forward on stomach

  • Rolls from back to stomach

  • Sits alone briefly

  • Assumes quadraped and rocks

  • Moves from sitting to lying on stomach

  • Stands with support

16-18 months

  • Walks up one step at a time with hand held or railing

  • Creeps down stairs

  • Walks with heel-toe pattern, seldom falls

  • Walks sideways and backwards

  • Run stiffly

  • Stands on one foot with help

  • Kicks large ball forward after demonstration

  • Manages riding toys

  • Good balance and coordination

2-3 years

  • Walks down stairs step by step without railing

  • Balances on one foot 2-3 seconds

  • Jumps forward at least one foot

  • Walks on tip toe when asked

5-6 years

  • Balances on one foot 10 seconds

  • Rides a bike with or without training wheels

  • Begins to jump rope

  • Hops on one foot ten times

  • Catches bounced or thrown ball with hands

  • Swings on swing, pumping by self

Fine Motor Milestones

Fine motor development involves the muscles of the arm and hand in coordination with the movement of the eyes. Fine motor skills enable children to write, cut with scissors, manage zippers and buttons, and complete hygiene tasks such as brushing teeth and hair.

Fine motor milestones for kids

Birth to 3 months

  • Hands are in a fist, thumbs are tucked in

  • Baby’s arms move randomly in asymmetric patterns

  • Watches movements of her hands and can bring the hand to her mouth

  • Swings at a target using her entire arm

  • Follows a moving person with his eyes

  • Holds objects in hands without dropping

9-12 months

  • Puts small objects in cup or other container

  • Turns book pages a few at a time

  • Attempts to imitate new gestures

  • Pokes and points at things using index finger

  • Grabs crayons in fist

  • Uses both hands and begins to show preference for one

2 years

  • Removes screw-on lid from bottle

  • Stacks 8-10 cubes

  • Strings 2-4 beads

  • Copies circle

3-6 months

  • Picks up objects with one hand

  • Transfers objects from one hand to another

  • Looks at objects a few feet away

  • Holds hands together

  • Reaches for a toy using both arms and holds it briefly

12-18 months

  • Builds tower of 2 or more blocks

  • Marks with crayon or pencil

  • Marks a piece of paper with a crayon and scribbles imitatively

  • Stacks 2-3 cubes

  • Can hold an object with one hand and manipulate it with the other hand

3-4 years

  • Cuts across paper with small scissors

  • Draws or copies a complete circle

  • Unbuttons 3 buttons

6-9 months

  • Rakes tiny objects with fingers

  • Uses thumb and fingertips to grasp objects

  • Uses thumb and side of index finger to grip objects

  • Holds 2 objects, one in each hand, at the same time

  • Uses 2 hands to pick up large objects

18-24 months

  • Starts using fingers and thumb to grasp crayons

  • Imitates vertical and circular scribbles

  • Turns pages of a book one at a time

  • Strings 1 inch beads

  • Builds tower with 3-5 blocks

4-5 years

  • Prints first name 

  • Draws a person that has at least 3 parts: head, eyes, nose, etc.

  • Draws recognizable pictures

  • Buttons and unbuttons 1 button

  • Grasps marker between thumb and pad of index finger

Speech and Language Milestones

Speech and language skills are used to communicate verbally and nonverbally with others. Speech and language skills enable children to understand language and express their needs, wants and thoughts.

Speech and language milestones for kids

0-6 months

  • Uses a variety of cries to express different needs

  • Responds to sounds by turning head

  • Uses sounds or gestures to indicate wants

  • Frequently coos and makes pleasure sounds

  • Imitates tongue movements and smiles at familiar faces

  • Looks and smiles at people when talked to

19-24 months

  • Expressive vocabulary of 50 to 100 words

  • Receptive vocabulary or 300 + words

  • Starts to combine nouns and verbs

  • Begins to use pronouns

  • Is approximately 25-50% intelligible to strangers

  • Names a few familiar objects

  • Identifies 5-6 body parts on a doll

  • Begins to understand adjectives in phrases

4-5 years

  • Consistently uses grammatically correct sentences of 4-8 words

  • Completes analogies

  • Identifies all basic colors

  • Likes to pretend and act out stories

  • Understands and answers complex 2-part questions

  • Significantly reduces number of persistent sound omissions and substitutions

7-12 months

  • Listens to and imitates some adult speech sounds pitch patterns

  • Babbles using long and short groups of sounds

  • Understands phrases like “no-no,” “all gone,” and “bye-bye”

  • Makes some appropriate use of gestures (shakes head for “no”)

  • Begins to change babbling to jargon

  • Uses speech intentionally for the first time

  • Say “mama” or “dada” for parents

2-3 years

  • Speech is 50-75% intelligible

  • Consistently uses initial consonants

  • Frequently uses medial consonants

  • Frequently omits or substitutes final consonants

  • Begins to demonstrate turn-taking and sharing behaviors

  • Follows simple commands and answers simple questions

  • Uses 3-4 word phrases

  • Has a receptive vocabulary of 500-900 words

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50-250 or more words

5-6 years

  • Follows 3 step directions

  • Asks “how” questions

  • Uses past and future tenses appropriately

  • Uses conjunctions

  • Names opposites

  • Accurately relays a story

  • Exchanges information and asks questions

13-18 months

  • Looks for hidden objects

  • Points or gestures to communicate needs

  • Talks in single words, often omits sounds

  • Uses jargon and repeats some words

  • Has 3-20 words (mostly nouns) in expressive vocabulary

  • Identifies 1-3 body parts

  • Follows simple directions

3-4 years

  • Spontaneously uses 4-5 word sentences 

  • Is at least 80% intelligible 

  • Uses irregular plurals, future tense verbs, conjunctions, and contractions 

  • Understands object functions

  • 1,000-2,000+ word receptive vocabulary

  • 800-1,500+ word expressive vocabulary

  • Uses helping verbs in sentences

  • Tells 2 events in chronological order

6-7 years

  • Names letters and numbers

  • Is detailed in descriptions

  • Uses irregular verb forms

  • Names days, months and numbers in order

  • Comprehends future and past tenses

  • Understands humor

  • Wonders about abstract events like how things work

  • Counts to 100

  • Uses most grammar appropriately

  • Has a receptive vocabulary of approximately 20,000 words

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