Development and Milestones for Toddlers


    From ages one to three, your child has many developmental milestones. These are skills like showing greater independence and recognizing themselves in pictures or a mirror. It’s also things like putting words together, talking in sentences and exploring new objects and people around them. Each of these milestones are things most children do by a certain age. They cover a wide range of behaviors like playing, learning, speaking, and moving (from walking to jumping to running).


  • toddler holding book with parents behind him80% of Brain Develops by Age 3

    80% of your child’s brain develops by age three. It’s during these years that your child’s brain begins to develop memory, language, thinking and reasoning skills. They learn by imitating the behavior of others, especially adults and older children. It can also be a trying time, as they begin to show defiant behavior and set out to explore the world around them. 

Steps Milestone Checklist

  • Father playing with bubbles with daughterSTEPS MILESTONE CHECKLISTS

    The small steps you take during these first three years make a big difference in your child’s future success. We have developed materials through the Steps initiative to give you some simple steps to help your child succeed in school and life. 

    The Steps milestone checklists for toddlers through age three contain things most toddlers do by this age in the areas of:

    • Social & emotional development
    • Language & communications development
    • Cognitive development (learning, thinking, problem solving)
    • Movement & physical development
    • Plus, things to watch out for that might need a doctor’s attention


  • toddler playing with globe18-Month Checklist

    18-Month Checklist

    Milestones include: 

    Says single words

    May walk up steps and run

    Can help undress themself

    Drinks from a cup

    Get 18-Months Checklist

  • toddler playing with blocks2-Year Checklist

    2-Year Checklist

    Milestones include: 

    Says sentences with 2 to 4 words

    Begins to sort shapes and colors

    Plays simple make-believe games

    Stands on tiptoe or kicks a ball

    Get 2-Year Checklist

  • toddler playing on play place3-Year Checklist

    3-Year Checklist

    Milestones include: 

    Follows instructions with 2 or 3 steps

    Can name most famillar things

    Can work toys with buttons and moving parts

    Climbs well and runs easily

    Get 3-Year Checklist

Milestone Tracker App

  • toddler walking away from mom

    At this stage of life, a child's development changes greatly from month to month. For an easy way to keep track of when your baby should reach certain milestones, download the free Center for Disease Control Milestones Tracker app in the Apple App Store or on Google play. The App also includes activities and learning tips for each age and an area where you can keep track of all your doctor appointments.

    Download The App


Children develop at different rates

  • dad reading to two kidsCHILDREN DEVELOP AT DIFFERENT RATES

    Although most children learn to do things and reach specific milestones by a certain age, not all do. Different children develop at different rates.

    If you suspect your child is behind, has a development delay or physical issues that hold him back, don’t delay. The sooner you get help, the faster your child will be able to cope with whatever challenge he faces. 


  • temporary photoEarly On

    Early On Michigan can help you give your child the best chance for success. Find out more. Call 1-800-EARLY-ON (327-5966) and we’ll work with you to evaluate your child's current development and figure out the next steps.

    Visit Early On


  • two kids lying down surrounded by blocks and holding blocks with circle openings over their eyesPlay is More than Fun and Games

    Make Play Fun and Educational

    Playing is one of the ways toddlers learn. The Steps Play is More than Fun & Games infographic has ways to help you make the most of play.

    Get Play Tips

More Resources for Parents

  • Growth Development

    Growth Development

    Find resources by different age groups, videos for parents, a baby games calendar, baby’s first year milestone guide and more from Pathways.org.

    Visit Pathways

  • Development Milestones

    Development Milestones

    Find videos, milestone checklists, Milestone Tracker mobile app, view the Milestones in Action photo and video library, and more from the Center for Disease Control

    Find Development Resources

  • Positive Parenting Tips

    Find positive things you can do as a parent broken out for every age group – in English and Spanish from the Center for Disease Control

    Get Parenting Tips

  • PBS Kids

    PBS Kids for Parents

    Find shows and videos to watch, play activities, ways to help your child thrive, ways to learn and grow at each milestone and more

    Visit PBS Kids


Contact Us

  • Contact Us

    The Michigan Department of Education offers more help to find resources to meet your needs.

    Contact Us