Child Development for 3-year-olds

A Guide for Stages & Milestones for the Third Year with Your Baby

Age 3 to 4 has been described as the magical year of childhood because they are learning through play and maturing in many ways. Children ages 3-4 years old will begin exploring their imagination and storytelling, become interested in new experiences outside of their usual comfort zone, and slowly gain independence. This age range can be very exciting for both children and parents—Rachel Mellen, Early Childhood Specialist & Motherhood Advocate, tells us why.

Toddler Developmental Milestones:
Children Ages 3 to 4 Years Old

Language Development
  • At this age, children love to talk and ask lots of questions
  • Using longer sentences of about 4–5 words
Cognitive Development
  • Following more than one direction at a time
  • Identifying a few colors
  • Assembling puzzles of more than 6 pieces together
  • Showing curiosity about how things work, resulting in many questions
Social Emotional Development
  • Becoming more and more social
  • Enjoying active play with others
Motor Development
  • Becoming more skilled at buttoning and zipping their clothing
  • Using a fork or spoon to feed themselves
  • Drawing circles or other simple shapes
  • Becoming helpful with household tasks and love being involved

Age 3 is an important time in your child’s development—your child is enchanted by the world around them. As they begin to ask more of the “who" “what” and "why” questions, encourage them to explore their imagination and draw comparisons to the objects they are describing. Ask them about the color, shape, smell, or size of the object they are curious about. Children in this age range learn through creative play. By encouraging them to use their imagination, you are helping them foster independence and explore different feelings.

If you are interested in learning more about your child's developmental milestones, we are here to help! We offer a free questionnaire tool called Ages & Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) that asks simple “yes”, “no”, and “sometimes” questions for you, the parent or caretaker, to answer about your child. Once completed, it will be sent directly to one of our Early Childhood Specialist and we'll contact you to discuss results. Families can also choose to participate in free developmental coaching with one of Acenda's Early Childhood Specialists. If you are interested, please visit www.acendahealth.org/asq.

Acenda Cares for Moms

Our team of Motherhood & Family Advocates provide pregnancy and child development resources for new and expectant parents from prenatal care through kindergarten. We're here to help answer your questions and provide useful pregnancy and parenting support when you need it most. Best of all, our resources and support services are completely free for all families.

For more information about our specialized pregnancy and child development services, please call 856-431-4180.