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Development by Ages
Written by Dr. Ora Segal-Drori*


3 to 4
Years Old
2.5 to 3
Years Old
2 to 2.5
Years Old
1.5 to 2
Years Old

Motor Skills

The child is able to color in small to mid-size areas.

The child is able to draw horizontal lines, vertical lines and circles. They can draw shapes combining horizontal and vertical lines (example: a plus sign).

The child is learning to draw a person starting with a stick figure and then gradually adding more details.

At the age of roughly 4.5 years old, the child learns to draw squares, diagonal lines and to write their name.

Advanced thumb control

Developing the dominant hand

Copying a vertical line

Mimicking drawing a horizontal line

Holding a pencil between thumb and finger

Using scissors

Making a fist

Establishing the dominant hand

Mimicking drawing a vertical line

Two hand coordination

By the age of 2, the child is able to put together a puzzle made up of 2-4 pieces.





Linguistic Skills

The child has fluent grasp of non-irregular structures (nouns, verbs, titles and prepositions).

The child has a firm grasp on basic linguistic rules (gender, amount, tenses and grammar).

First awareness of root words and patterns.

Comprehensive conjugation of common prepositions.

The child begins to actively conjugate words, making common childhood language errors.

First uses of proper conjugations of verbs, nouns and titles.

The child develops basic awareness of word structure (gender, amount, past\present\future tenses).

First verbal communication occurs at around age 2.


The child will continue to expand their vocabulary – nouns, verbs, and titles – through interaction with their close surroundings.

Gradual expansion of the vocabulary.

The bulk of a child’s vocabulary will made up of conversational words.

Most words at this age are tangible nouns (chair, table), verbs (run) and social (Thank you).

The meaning of a word to the toddler eventually takes on the same meaning it has to an adult (A dog is a dog and not every animal which walks on four legs).

Increase in verbs and titles (hot, blue).


 Increased production and comprehension in vocabulary by age 2.

The pace, at which the child expands their vocabulary, increases gradually between the ages of 1 and 2 as they discover each person and object has its own name. They will start with a vocabulary of approximately 10 words, give or take but by age 2 will have increased that vocabulary to around 50 words.

Syntactical Awareness

The child can now construct simple and compound sentences. They are familiar with the following types of words and can use them accordingly:

Common Prepositions: In, To, With.

Words indicating amounts: Lots, Little, Some, More, All.

Spatial Prepositions: On, Under, Inside.

Fluency in basic sentence structure (“Sam pushed the wagon”, “I have gum”).

Beginner’s grasp of clauses (“I would like…”).

The child’s phrasing now follows the rules of syntax rather than basic communication purposes.

The child is capable of communicating with any adult roughly by age 3.

Gradual progress towards basic syntax structure associated with daily speech.

Gradual inclusion of grammar (Prepositions, Pronouns).

It’s common amongst most toddlers to at first combine words (“The 2 Word Phase”) for communicative rather than syntactic purposes (“doll, carriage” instead of “The doll is in the carriage”).

“No… (water)”

“Again… (ball)”

Pragmatic Ability  

The child begins to use a “demanding” style of language towards caregivers but not towards friends.

The child is capable of mimicking the language of various family members (Mother, Father, Siblings).

Exposure to a variety of linguistic situations. Such exposure contributes to development of awareness but does not yet lead to full use of language.

Basic comprehension. The child will not communicate with strangers, only with a caregiver.

Phonological Awareness

The child:
Will recognize rhymes, be amused by rhymes, rhyme with silly words, recognize repeating sound patterns in stories and memorize songs and rhyming monologues.




Use of Letters

The child will recognize letters as a separate category of graphic symbols (different from drawings, numbers, etc.).





The child will recognize their name in writing.





The child willunderstand how to write their name.




One of the key components in vocabulary is Color Names. The concept of color is considered relatively complicated as it is fairly abstract and not concrete. The process of learning colors, as with others, is a gradual one. In the first stage, around the ages of 2 to 2.5 years old, the child is capable of matching colors. For example: The child knows to match a red block to a red circle. In the second stage, around the ages of 2.5 to 3 years old, they develop the ability to recognize colors – learning the individual names. For example: If you were to ask them to “Hand me the yellow block”, they will in fact hand you the yellow block and not the green one. In the final stage, the “application” stage, at around the ages of 3 to 3.5 years old, the child will successfully name all the colors themselves. If you were to ask “What color is this?” they would know how to answer.


Development in Ages 2-3 Years Old

Cognitive Development

Up to the age of 2 years old, the toddler generally recognizes things through concrete activities such as touch, smell and taste.

Around the age of 2 years old the toddler develops cognitive thinking which occurs also in the absence of real-time experience with people, objects or stimulating events.

The toddler enriches their world of images and concepts along with the complexity of the concepts.


At the age of 2-3 years old, the toddler establishes several basic concepts. Concepts of size, colors, ratio and amounts.

The toddler has a partial understanding of these concepts. They will recognize the identifying characteristics but lack full comprehension of the category which allows them to distinguish the unique characteristics of each item belonging to a specific category.

The number of concepts a toddler can comprehend increases through development and experience. as does their complexity.


At the age of 2-3 years old toddlers tend to sort objects on the basis of a single characteristic (one aspect) because they do not yet possess a complete set of fully developed concepts for categorizing objects.

The amount of components by which a child sorts objects increases around the age of 3 as their ability to relate to more than one aspect at a time is developing.


At the age of 2-3 years old a toddler can execute basic planning of activities made up of one or two stages but is not yet capable of conceiving a plan made up of more than two stages.

Activity Planning

By the age of 2-3 years old, a toddler’s physiological senses are fully functional and as a result their comprehensive abilities are sharpened. Comprehension becomes more organized at the age of 2 as they have gained experiences, their ability to express has developed and their knowledge of imagery and concepts has expanded. However, it is not yet based on fully developed concepts. The toddler comprehends a specific component connected with a concept – generally a concept based on their egocentric experiences – and relates to that component as if it alone, represents the concept.


Memory in 2-3 year olds is based on their general experience and they lack the ability to process and express it properly. Maturation, experience and language acquisition all contribute to strengthening the toddler’s ability to process information through their increasingly complex vocabulary.

At the age of 2-3 years old the toddler uses the simplest strategy to improve their memory: Repetition and review, sorting into categories, elaboration and connecting with prior knowledge, and building chains of events (remembering a specific order of activities). The child also exercises the ability to identify and be identified.


At the age of 2-3 years old the toddler is largely influenced by characteristics which they grasp using their senses when attempting to solve problems. Most of the time, the toddler will manage to solve a problem through “trial and error” and occasionally by “discovery” - by utilizing existing models. They are not yet able to draw conclusions which can be used to solve the next problem and have difficulty recognizing similarities between problems and therefore cannot organize strategies for solving them.

Around the age of 3 the toddler develops ability to analyze options for problem solving based on the internal representations of the problem.

Problem Solving


One particular phenomenon in cognitive development is “Object Constancy” (suitable for the game “Peak-a-boo”). At the age of 1, the toddler will prefer to seek the object in the last place they saw it but will not yet understand what can happen to the object when it’s out of visual range. If a toddler at this age sees us hide a ball behind the couch, they will look for it in the spot they saw you set it down. If it’s not there, they will simply stop looking for it and will often respond with anger or disappointment. By the age of 2, the child has developed a full understanding of “Object Constancy”.

* Part of it based on the source: Educational Practice guidelines with ages  two - three. Ministry of Education and Maalot Publishing.