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At Three Years, Your Child will Likely…

Physical Development:

  • Run well.
  • March.
  • Stand on one foot briefly.
  • Feed himself well.
  • Put on shoes and stockings.
  • Unbutton and button his clothes.
  • Be able to build a tower of 10 cubes.
  • Be able to pour from a pitcher.
  • Use crayons.
  • Jump up and down.
  • Begin pedaling a riding toy (tricycle.)
  • Throw a big ball and catch it.
  • Sort two objects that match.

Social & Emotional Development:

  • Want to please others and want to adapt.
  • Be increasingly interested in social play, but prefer to play by himself or with one other person.
  • Want to imitate others in play (especially parents.)
  • Enjoy being with other children.
  • Begin to show cooperation with adults.
  • Begin to distinguish other’s intentional acts from unintentional acts.
  • Try to please adults with his answers.
  • Take turns.
  • Enjoy brief group activities requiring no skill.
  • Enjoy "helping" in small ways, responding to verbal guidance.
  • Enjoy conforming.
  • Have an easy going attitude.
  • Be less resistant to change
  • Be more secure.
  • Have a greater sense of personal identity.
  • Begin to be adventuresome.
  • Enjoy music.
  • Play with others and share toys sometimes.
  • Have a fear of separation.
  • Have violent emotions and anger (throws tantrums.)
  • Differentiate facial expressions of anger, sorrow, and joy.
  • Show a sense of humor, play tricks.

Intellectual Development:

  • Like animals and stories.
  • Be curious.
  • Use fantasy to make sense out of what he/she doesn’t understand (magical thinking is common.)
  • Speak in longer sentences.
  • Tell simple stories.
  • Use words as tools of thought.
  • Want to understand his environment.
  • Answer questions.
  • Be able to reason out questions like "what must you do when you are sleepy, hungry, cool, or thirsty?"
  • Be imaginative.
  • Stutter for a brief period (maybe.)
  • Have a vocabulary of an average of 896 words.
  • Use the pronouns I, you, and me correctly.
  • Use some plurals and past tenses.
  • Know at least three prepositions (usually in, on, and under.)
  • Know chief parts of body and be able to indicate them (if not name them.)
  • Handle three word sentences easily.
  • Begin to use verbs with great frequency.
  • Understand simple questions dealing with his environment and activities.
  • Relate his experiences so that they can be followed (with reason.)
  • Be able to give his name, age and sex.
  • Talk in short sentences to express feelings.
  • Ask “What?” and “Why?” questions.

Delevopmental milestones associated with feeding:

  • Spills small amount from spoon.
  • Begins to use fork; holds it in fist.
  • Uses adult pattern of chewing, which involves rotary action of jaw.

First Connections with Families
First Connections with Families provides information about child development, reading to your child, and child health and safety.

The Early Learning Guidelines
This exciting new resource is being written to assist early childhood caregivers/teachers, parents and other adults with information about supporting the learning and development of young children. The Guidelines provide information related to seven domains or areas of learning and development:

  • Social & Emotional Developmentment
  • Approaches to Learning
  • Health & Physical Development
  • Language & Literacy Development
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Creative Arts

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