icon-find icon-search icon-print icon-share icon-close icon-play chevron-down icon-chevron-right icon-chevron-left chevron-small-left chevron-small-right icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-mail icon-youtube icon-pinterest icon-google_plus icon-tik_tok icon-instagram icon-linkedin icon-arrow-right icon-arrow-left icon-download cross minus plus icon-map icon-list offers-tag

Your Child at 3 Years Old: Developmental Milestones

At 3 years old, a child’s skills expand and build on each other

From birth, children rapidly add to their language, speech and cognitive skills, building the foundation that will help them the rest of their lives.

When a child reaches 3 years old, these skills begin to intersect and expand in wonderful ways. He isn’t just playing with a block – he’s building tall towers and telling you what he’s doing. She isn’t just playing – she’s making up a conversation while playing make believe.

Every child grows at his or her own rate, and Help Me Grow offers the following developmental milestones for 3-year-olds to help monitor their progress as they grow:

  • Climbs and runs well
  • Builds with blocks; may build a tower of six blocks
  • Uses three-word sentences
  • Shows concern and affection for others
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals and people
  • Does puzzles with three to four pieces
  • Says first name, age and gender
  • Asks “why,” “where,” “what,” “when” and “how” questions
  • Separates easily from parents
  • Shows a wide range of feelings
  • Enjoys routines and may get upset with a major change
  • Enjoys helping with simple household tasks
  • Verbalizes toilet needs and may be toilet trained during the day
  • Knows common colors

Parents and caregivers can take the following actions to encourage a 3-year-old’s development:

  • Let the child help with simple household chores
  • Help the child include others in playing, sharing and taking turns
  • Support the child to develop trust in other consistent adults
  • Listen to and encourage the child to use many words and longer sentences
  • Share new stories, songs, games and play materials
  • Support appropriate expression of feelings

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.

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

1 Comment

Join the conversation * Required

Find School
Shape Created with Sketch. Schedule Tour
Contact Us