Your Child’s Development: Birth to Age 5

Your child’s development in the first five years of life will amaze you. As infants, children babble, roll over and hold your finger. Toddlers run, help with jobs at home and can speak in sentences. By the time they are age 5, children dress themselves, tell jokes, play games with friends and write their names.

Each child will develop at his or her own pace, following predictable stages. Some new skills will develop earlier than expected, while others appear later. Each new step is a building block leading to the growth of physical capabilities and the ability to think, speak and interact with others. Listed below are a few examples of the skills commonly seen in children this age.

If you are concerned about your child’s development, contact your child’s doctor, teacher or nurse. You also may contact your local health department or school district.

father touches baby

What children can do: birth to age 1

  • Grasp objects with the whole hand;
  • Roll over, crawl and walk;
  • Point at people and things;
  • Babble, coo and begin using first words.

baby plays peek a boo

What children can do: 12 to 18 months

  • Play peek-a-boo;
  • Sit on your lap listening to stories;
  • Push and pull toys;
  • Follow simple directions.

toddler sips from drinking cup

What children can do: 18 to 24 months

  • Say some two-word phrases, such as More milk!;
  • Play hide-and-seek;
  • Drink from a cup;
  • Put items in a container and dump them out.

toddler climbs stairs made of books

What children can do: age 2

  • Climb stairs without help;
  • Stack objects on top of each other;
  • Say, No and What’s That?;
  • Name people and things in picture books.

preschooler plays docter

What children can do: age 3

  • Jump in place;
  • Turn pages of a book;
  • Say nursery rhymes and sing songs;
  • Play make-believe.
preschool hops and dances

What children can do: age 4

  • Hop on one foot;
  • Draw simple shapes;
  • Make silly words and sounds;
  • Cooperate with friends and play group games.
preschooler catches ball

What children can do: age 5

  • Cut on a line with scissors;
  • Catch a ball;
  • Sort objects by color, type and shape;
  • Make up jokes and riddles.



Last Modified: 12/14/2023 2:02:45 PM