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Terrific Twos: An Age of Childhood Play and Discovery

When your child turns 2, fascination with games and toys turns the world into his or her playground. It’s an age where parents and caregivers take a more active role in play, too, challenging the toddler to kick a ball, build with blocks and play pretend.

Every child grows at his or her own rate, but children generally develop in predictable ways. Help Me Grow offers the following developmental milestones as typical for a 2-year-old. These milestones help monitor a toddler’s progress:

  • Kicks a ball forward
  • Walks up and down stairs holding on
  • Points to things or pictures in a book when named
  • Uses two or three words together*
  • Plays briefly beside other children
  • Builds towers of four or more blocks
  • Follows simple directions
  • Knows names of familiar people and body parts
  • Imitates others, especially adults and older children
  • Shows more and more independence
  • Explores how things work by touching them and trying them out
  • Begins to sort shapes and colors
  • Plays simple pretend or make-believe games
  • Names items in a book such as a dog, cat, car or baby

For a 2-year-old, parents and caregivers can take the following actions to encourage development:

  • Talk to the toddler about things you and they are doing and seeing
  • Be calm and comforting after temper outbursts
  • Be consistent with what the toddler can and cannot do
  • Talk to the toddler and use words for feelings
  • Encourage and praise the toddler
  • Tell stories, read and encourage pretend play

Developmental milestones help you understand what’s typical in a child’s development. To learn more about these milestones and how to encourage a child’s progress at different ages, visit helpmegrowmn.org.

*Help Me Grow recommends that parents talk to their health care provider or refer their child through Help Me Grow if their toddler isn’t using two-word phrases at 2 years old.

Portions of this content, developed by Help Me Grow Minnesota, may have previously appeared elsewhere.

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