The Third Year

The Third Year

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Powell, J. and Smith, C.A. (1994). The 3rd year. In *Developmental milestones: A guide for parents*. Manhattan, KS: Kansas State University Cooperative Extension Service.

By 3 years of age does the child:

Motor Skills

  • feed himself (with some spilling)
  • open doors
  • hold a glass in one hand
  • hold a crayon well
  • wash and dry hands by himself
  • fold paper, if shown how
  • build a tower of 54 blocks
  • throw a ball overhead
  • try to catch a large ball
  • put on shoes (but not tie laces)
  • dress herself with help
  • use the toilet with some help
  • walk up steps, alternating feet
  • walk on tiptoes if shown how
  • walk in a straight line
  • kick a ball forward
  • jump with both feet
  • pedal a tricycle

Sensory and Thinking Skills

  • recognize sounds in the environment
  • pay attention for about 3 minutes
  • remember what happened yesterday
  • know what is food and what is not food
  • know some numbers (but not always in the right order)
  • know where things usually belong
  • understand what “1″ is
  • understand “now,” “soon,” and “later”
  • substitute one object for another in pretend play (as in pretending a block is a “car”)
  • laugh at silly ideas (like “milking” a dog)
  • look through a book alone
  • match circles and squares
  • match an object to a picture of that object
  • match objects that have same function (as in putting a cup and plate together)
  • count 2 to 3 objects
  • avoid some dangers, like a hot stove or a moving car
  • follow simple one-step commands

Language and Social Skills

  • use 3-5 word sentences
  • ask short questions
  • use plurals (“dogs,” “cars,” “hats”)
  • name at least 10 familiar objects
  • repeat simple rhymes
  • name at least one color correctly
  • imitate housework or help with simple tasks
  • ask to use the toilet almost every time
  • enjoy being read to
  • talk about feelings and mental states (e.g., remembering)
  • demonstrate some shame when caught in a wrongdoing
  • try to make others laugh
  • play spontaneously with two or three children in a group
  • assign roles in pretend social play (“You be mommy;” “I be daddy”)
  • know her first and last name
  • understand “I,” “you,” “he,” and “she”
  • believe everything centers around him (“if I hide my eyes, no one will see me”)
  • answer whether she is a boy or girl