Developmental milestones are meant to be used as a guideline for child development, as there are age ranges in which skill acquisition is expected. If your child has not met some of the milestones described within his or her age range you may want to consult your pediatrician and/or contact an occupational therapist or speech-language pathologist for further evaluation. For concerns related to gross motor, fine motor and visual motor development, please see our occupational therapy services page for more information. For concerns related to social/play, language and articulation development, please see our speech and language services page for more information.

By 6 months:

Gross Motor

  • Raises chest and head when lying on stomach
  • Sits with some support
  • Rolls from back to side

Fine Motor

  • Brings hand to mouth
  • Holds and shakes a toy
  • Uses a raking motion to grasp toys

Visual-Motor Development

  • Looks at toy placed in hand
  • Looks from one object to another
  • Begins to follow moving things a few feet away while in sitting

Social/Play

  • Objects to someone taking toy away
  • Smiles when looks parents

Language

  • Searches for sound source
  • Focuses on others’ mouths when they are speaking
  • “Talks” to self in mirror

Articulation

  • Makes different vowel sounds
  • Makes raspberries
  • Imitates playful sounds

By 12 months:

Gross Motor

  • Sits alone and uses hands to play
  • Crawls
  • Pulls to stand 

Fine Motor

  • Bangs blocks together
  • Picks up small objects with fingertips and thumb 
  • Holds spoon 

Visual Motor Development 

  • Transfers toys from one hand to the other
  • Finger feeds 
  • Tries to imitate scribbling 

Social/Play

  • Enjoys turn-taking games (e.g. peek-a-book)
  • Give others objects to request actions
  • Points to request objects
  • Waves good-bye 

Language

  • Follows some simple requests
  • Repeats another’s sounds back and forth
  • Responds to “where is ____” by searching for object/person
  • Responds to “no”

Articulation

  • Produces first word
  • Produces a variety of consonants and vowels when babbling
  • Imitates others coughs, laughs, lip smacking

By 18 months:

Gross Motor

  • Walks alone 
  • Climbs stairs with assistance 
  • Sits in a small chair 

Fine Motor

  • Pulls large pop beads apart 
  • Removes socks and simple clothing
  • Dumps objects out of a container 

Visual-Motor Development 

  • Stacks a tower of 3-6 blocks
  • Scribbles spontaneously 
  • Turns pages in a book  

Social/Play

  • Imitates actions of others
  • Consistently points to objects both near and far

Language

  • Identifies an objects from a group of objects
  • Points to up to 3 body parts
  • Responds to yes/no questions with head shake or nod
  • Uses “mama” or “dada” meaningfully
  • Produces 5-20 words which may include more, all gone, no, my/mine

Articulation

  • Imitates sounds and words
  • Produces jargon (strings of sounds with sentence-like intonation)
  • May simplify adult models (e.g. “baba” for bottle)

By 24 months:

Gross Motor

  • Jumps with both feet leaving the floor at the same time 
  • Runs 
  • Rides toys without pedals 

Fine Motor

  • Feeds self with spoon 
  • Grasps a crayon with fist
  • Turns knobs to open door 

Visual-Motor Development

  • Completes 3-4 piece non-interlocking puzzles 
  • Imitates vertical line 
  • Throws a small ball 
  • Matches pictures to real objects

Social/Play

  • Likes finger play songs 

Language

  • Understands more than 300 words, including names for common objects, action words, family members
  • Listens to and enjoys simple stories
  • Produces more words than gestures
  • Produces 2-word combinations

Articulation

  • Is understood approximately 50% of the time
  • Drooling should not be present
  • Uses early consonant sounds: p, b, m, n, t, d, h, w

By 3 years:

Gross Motor

  • Walks up stairs with alternating feet
  • Balances on one foot momentarily 
  • Hops on one foot 

Fine Motor

  • Grasps pencil with thumb and fingers 
  • Uses one hand to help stabilize objects during use 
  • Eats with a fork 

Visual-Motor Development 

  • Sorts objects by size, color or shape 
  • Strings ½ inch beads 
  • Imitates drawing a horizontal line and circle 
  • Makes snips with scissors 

Social/Play

  • Cooperates in games
  • Regularly requests clarification (eg. huh? what?)

Language

  • Knows big/little
  • Identifies basic colors
  • Answers ‘where’ and “what…doing” questions
  • Verbalizes toileting needs
  • Gives first/last name

Articulation

  • Produces speech that is understood 75% of the time
  • Produces sounds made in the back of the mouth (e.g. c, k, g)

By 4 years:

Gross Motor

  • Kicks a ball 
  • Throws a small ball overhand while standing
  • Climbs well 
  • Begins to demonstrate hand preference 

Fine Motor

  • Makes consecutive snips with scissors 
  • Dresses without help, puts shoes on 
  • Holds crayon/marker with thumb and 3-4 fingers, hand moves as a unit 
  • Buttons and unbuttons 

Visual-Motor Integration 

  • Imitates building 3-4 block structures 
  • Begins to copy some vertical/horizontal letters
  • Draws a person with 3 body parts 

Social/Play

  • Combines 3 sequences to retell an event
  • Takes 4 turns in a true conversation

Language

  • Produces pronouns (e.g. he, she, his, her) appropriately
  • Counts to 3
  • Combines 4-5 word sentences
  • Produces past tense
  • Follows 2-3 step instructions

Articulation

  • Speech is understood approximately 80% of the time to unfamiliar listeners
  • Produces few consonant substitutions

By 5 years:

Gross Motor

  • Skips
  • Pumps legs to maintain momentum on a swing
  • Climbs rungs on playground slide ladder 
  • Catches ball with hands only

Fine Motor

  • Holds marker/pencil with thumb and 3-4 fingers, movement originates from fingers 
  • Touches each finger to thumb
  • Uses large fasteners on clothing (e.g., zippers)
  • Brushes teeth without help

Visual-Motor Development 

  • Traces or prints first name 
  • Cuts out simple shapes 
  • Colors within lines 
  • Copies a square
  • Dresses without assistance 
  • Reproduces patterns/sequences

Social/Play

  • Begins to understand humor
  • Asks questions about how another person feels

Language

  • Answers “why” and  “what happens if…” questions
  • Creates rhyming words
  • Retells a story or describes how to do something 
  • Uses past and future tenses
  • Produces grammatically correct sentences

Articulation

  • Speech is 100% intelligible for unfamiliar listeners
  • Produces most consonants accurately in all positions including /s/, /l/
  • May still exhibit errors with /r/, /th/

By 6 years:

Gross Motor

  • Skips 
  • Rides a bike
  • Walks down stairs carrying an object
  • Walks sideways on balance beam without loss of balance 

Fine Motor

  • Demonstrates hand dominance
  • Uses classroom tools appropriately
  • Ties shoes 
  • Uses a knife to spread things 
  • Cares for own toileting needs 

Visual-Motor Integration

  • Prints own name 
  • Copies numbers 1-5 
  • Copies a triangle 
  • Completes 6-12 piece interlocking puzzle
  • Draws a person with 6 or more parts

Social/Play

  • Asks questions and exchanges information with others
  • Engages in cooperative play
  • Plays simple card games
  • Stays with activity for 12-13 minutes

Language

  • States similarities and differences among objects
  • Knows right vs. left
  • Names the days of the week in the correct order
  • Tells opposites
  • States street address

Articulation

  • Produces all speech sounds in most word positions

By 7 years:

Gross Motor

  • Balances on one foot for 12+ seconds 
  • Develops skills specific to sports activities 
  • Does 5+ sit ups 

Fine Motor

  • Refines fine motor skills 
  • Sustains dynamic grasping patterns to write sentences

Visual Motor-Integration 

  • Prints letters, numbers and words 
  • Cuts out a picture with scissors 
  • Draws lines within mazes 

Social/Play

  • Stays with an activity for hours
  • Chooses own friends

Language

  • Is aware of mistakes in other people’s speech
  • Uses “if” and “so” correctly
  • Asks meanings of words
  • Uses word play
  • Expresses ideas through writing

Articulation

  • Produces all sounds in all word positions by age 7 including /r/
  • Has “mature sounding” speech