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Developmental Milestones

Birth through 6 months

Babies like to:

  • Look at people—following them with their eyes and prefer faces and bright colors.
  • Hold their head up
  • Play with their feet
  • Find their hands and start to use them to reach
  • Smile and coo
  • Look in all directions
  • Turn their head to sounds
  • Put toys and objects in their mouth
  • Sit with the help of a caregiver

Things to reach for, hold, suck on, shake, make noise with:

  • Rattles
  • Large rings
  • Squeeze toys
  • Teething toys
  • Soft dolls
  • Textured balls
  • Vinyl and board books

Things to listen to:

  • Books with nursery rhymes and poems
  • Recordings of lullabies and simple songs
  • Musical toys

Things to look at:

  • Pictures of faces hung so baby can see them
  • Unbreakable mirrors
  • Lighted toys

7 months to 1 year

Older infants are able to:

  • Roll over and sit
  • Scoot, bounce, and creep
  • Pull themselves up and stand 
  • Understand their own names
  • Understand other common words
  • Identify 1-3 large body parts
  • Imitate
  • Find hidden objects
  • Use thumb and pointer to pick up small objects
  • Put things in and out of containers
Things to use their large muscles with:

  • Large balls
  • Push and pull toys
  • Low, soft things to crawl over

Things to play pretend with:

  • Baby dolls
  • Puppets
  • Plastic and wood vehicles with wheels
  • Water toys

Things to drop and take out:

  • Plastic bowls
  • Large beads
  • Balls
  • Nesting toys

Things to build with:

  • Large soft blocks
  • Wooden cubes

1 to 2 years

Toddlers are on the go are able to:

  • Begin to walk or walk steadily
  • Climb stairs with help
  • Climb furniture/playground equipment
  • Squat
  • Throw
  • Dance and move to music
  • Stack 2 objects
  • Identify 8-10 large and small body parts
  • Enjoy stories being read to them
  • Say their first words (5-10 words) 
  • Play next to other children (but not yet with)
  • Experiment but need adults to keep them safe

Things to enhance their sensory capabilities:

  • Toy board books with simple illustrations or photographs of real objects
  • Recordings with songs, rhymes, simple stories, and pictures

Things to create with:

  • Wide non-toxic, washable markers
  • Crayons
  • Large paper

Things to pretend with:

  • Toy phones
  • Dolls and doll beds
  • Baby carriages and strollers
  • Dress-up accessories (scarves, purses), puppets, stuffed toys
  • Plastic animals, and plastic and wood “realistic” vehicles

Things to build with:

  • Cardboard and wood blocks

Things for using their large and small muscles:

  • Puzzles
  • Large pegboards
  • Toys with parts that do things (dials, switches, knobs, lids)
  • Large and small ball

2 to 3 years

Toddlers are able to:

  • Rapidly learn language
  • Have some sense of danger
  • Identify colors
  • Count
  • Put puzzles together
  • Get dressed with help
Toddlers enjoy:

  • Role play
  • Physical “testing:” jumping from heights, climbing, hanging by their arms, rolling, and rough-and-tumble play

Toddlers have:

  • Good control of their hands and fingers
  • Ability to play with and manipulate small objects
Things for solving problems:

  • Wood puzzles (4 to 12 pieces)
  • Blocks that snap together
  • Objects to sort (by size, shape, color, smell)
  • Toys with hooks, buttons, buckles, and snaps
Things for pretending and building:

  • Blocks
  • Small (and sturdy) transportation toys 
  • Construction sets
  • Child-sized furniture (kitchen sets, chairs, play food), dress-up clothes 
  • Dolls with accessories 
  • Puppets
  • Sand and water play toys

Things to create with:

  • Large non-toxic, washable crayons and markers, large paintbrushes and finger paint
  • Large paper for drawing and painting
  • Colored construction paper 
  • Toddler-sized scissors with blunt tips 
  • Chalkboard and large chalk 
  • Rhythm instruments

Things for using their large and small muscles:

  • Large and small balls for kicking and throwing
  • Ride-on equipment (but probably not tricycles until age 3) 
  • Tunnels
  • Low climbers with soft material underneath 
  • Pounding and hammering toys

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