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Developmental Milestones for 3-Yr Olds

Children develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when each child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones below will give you a general idea of what to expect from your three-year old, but don’t be alarmed if your child takes a slightly different course.

Social and Emotional

  • Interested in new experiences
  • Cooperates with other children
  • Plays "mom" or "Dad"
  • Increasing inventive in fantasy play
  • Dresses and undresses
  • Negotiates solutions to conflicts
  • More independent
  • Imagines that many unfamiliar images may be "monsters"
  • Views self as a whole person involving body, mind, and feelings
  • Often cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality


  • Hops and stands on one foot up to five seconds
  • Goes upstairs and downstairs without support
  • Kicks Ball forward
  • Throws ball overhand
  • Catches bounced ball most of time
  • Moves forward and backward with agility

Hand and Finger Skills

  • Copies square shapes
  • Draws a person with two to four body parts
  • Uses scissors
  • Draws circles and squares
  • Begins to copy some capital letters


  • Has mastered some basic rules of grammar
  • Speaks in sentences of five to six words
  • Speaks clearly enough for strangers to understand
  • Tells stories


  • Correctly names some colors
  • Understands the concept of counting and knows some numbers
  • Tries to solve problems from a single point of vies
  • Begins to have a clearer sense of time
  • Follows three-part commands
  • Recalls parts of stories
  • Understands the concepts of “same” and different”
  • Engages in fantasy play




















College of Education at University of South Florida, Patel Charter School