Developmental Milestones


Developmental Milestones for Fine Motor, Gross Motor, and Speech

For children ages one through age six. Remember that each child develops at his/her own pace and the information below is for informational purposes only. You are your child’s best advocate and know your child best. Let your pediatrician know if you have concerns about your child’s development. DEVELOPMENTAL MILESTONES  By the age of one

  • Language
    • Recognizes name
    • Says 2-3 words besides “mama” and “dada”
    • Imitates familiar words
    • Understands simple instructions
    • Recognizes words as symbols for objects: Car – points to a garage, cat – meows
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • sits without support
    • crawls
    • pulls self to a standing position and stands unaided
    • walks with aid
    • rolls a ball in imitation of adult
  • Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting
    • reaches, grasps, puts an object in the mouth
    • picks things up with a pincer grasp (thumb and one finger)
    • transfers an object from one hand to the other
    • drops and picks up a toy

Between one and two

  • Language
    • Understands “no”
    • Uses 10 to 20 words, including names
    • Combines two words such as “daddy bye-bye”
    • Waves goodbye and plays pat-a-cake
    • Makes the “sounds” of familiar animals
    • Gives a toy when asked
    • Uses words such as “more” to make wants known
    • Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
    • Brings an object from another room when asked
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • walks alone
    • walks backward
    • picks up toys from the floor without falling
    • pulls toys/pushes toys
    • seats self in a child-size chair
    • walks up and down stairs with handheld
    • moves to music
  • Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting
    • builds a tower of three small blocks
    • puts four rings on a stick
    • places five pegs in a pegboard
    • turns pages two or three at a time
    • scribbles
    • turns knobs
    • throws small ball
    • paints with whole arm movement, shifts hands, makes strokes

AWARD-WINNING book for new OT grads, parents, and others. All of the most frequently asked questions pediatric OTs receive. Handwriting, daily living (haircuts, baths, and dressing), toileting, behaviors and SO much more!          

Between two and three

  • Language
    • Identifies body parts
    • Carries on ‘conversation’ with self and dolls
    • Asks “What’s that?” And “Where’s my?”
    • Uses 2-word negative phrases such as “no want”
    • Forms some plurals by adding “s”; book, books
    • Has a 450-word vocabulary
    • Gives first name, holds up fingers to tell age
    • Combines nouns and verbs “mommy go”
    • Understands simple time concepts: “last night”, “tomorrow”
    • Refers to self as “me” rather than by name
    • Tries to get adult attention: “Watch me”
    • Likes to hear the same story repeated
    • May say “no” when means “yes”
    • Talks to other children as well as adults
    • Solves problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
    • Answers “where” questions
    • Names common pictures and things
    • Uses short sentences like “me want more” or “me want cookie”
    • Matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • runs forward well
    • jumps in place with two feet together
    • stands on one foot (with aid)
    • walks on tiptoe
    • kicks a ball forward
  • Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting
    • strings four large beads
    • turns single pages
    • snips with scissors
    • holds a crayon with thumb and fingers (not fist)
    • uses one hand consistently in most activities
    • imitates circular, vertical, and horizontal strokes
    • paints with some wrist action; makes dots, lines, circular strokes
    • rolls, pounds, squeezes and pulls clay

  Check out my earlier post with tips to build fine motor skills.


Between three and four

  • Language
    • Can tell a story
    • Has a sentence length of 4-5 words
    • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words
    • Names at least one color
    • Understands “yesterday,” “summer”, “lunchtime”, “tonight”, “little-big”
    • Begins to obey requests like “put the block under the chair”
    • Knows his or her last name, name of the street on which he/she lives, and several nursery rhymes
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • runs around obstacles
    • walks on a line
    • balances on one foot for five to ten seconds
    • hops on one foot
    • pushes, pulls, steers wheeled toys
    • rides tricycle
    • uses slide independently
    • jumps over a six-inch-high object and lands on both feet together
    • throws ball overhead
    • catches a bouncing ball
  • Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting
    • builds a tower of nine small blocks
    • drives nails and pegs
    • copies circle
    • imitates cross
    • manipulates clay material (rolls balls, snakes, cookies)


Looking to create a calm-down area? Check out our easy-to-use kit! Simply download and laminate and you have an instant pack of I Feel cards, activities to complete when kids need to calm down, emotions cards, and cues to work on deep breathing.


Between four and five

  • Language
    • Has sentence length of 4-5 words
    • Uses past tense correctly
    • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1500 words
    • Points to colors red, blue, yellow, and green
    • Identifies triangles, circles, and squares
    • Understands “In the morning” , “next”, “noontime”
    • Can speak of imaginary conditions such as “I hope”
    • Asks many questions, asks “who?” And “why?
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • walks backward toe-heel
    • jumps forward 10 times without falling
    • walks up and down stair independently, alternating feet
    • turns somersault
  • Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting
    • cuts on a line continuously
    • copies cross
    • copies square
    • prints some capital letters

Looking for toilet training tips? Look no further.

Between five and six

  • Language
    • Has a sentence length of 5-6 words
    • Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
    • Defines objects by their use (you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
    • Knows spatial relations like “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
    • Knows her address
    • Identifies a penny, nickel, and dime
    • Knows common opposites like “big/little”
    • Understands “same” and “different”
    • Counts ten objects
    • Asks questions for information
    • Distinguished left and right hand in herself
    • Uses all types of sentences, for example, “let’s go to the store after we eat”
  • Gross Motor – large muscle groups such as walking
    • runs lightly on toes
    • walks on a balance beam
    • can cover 2 meters hopping
    • skips on alternate feet &; jumps rope

Fine Motor – incorporates the small muscles such as handwriting

  • cuts out simple shapes
  • copies triangle
  • traces diamond
  • copies first name
  • prints numerals 1 to 5
  • colors within lines
  • has adult (tripod) grasp of pencil
  • hand dominance well established
  • pastes and glues appropriately

  Click here for information on sensory processing disorder.   NEW!! I found some FREE awesome handouts on development from the Centers for Disease Control.  Here’s the link to the website. There’s even an app that lets you track your child’s milestones. So cool!

Retained Reflexes Course – Brain & Sensory Foundations

Do you worry that you could be missing something in your approach to therapy? Do you wish you could have a bigger impact in a shorter amount of time? Do you want a step-by-step system that is tested, proven, and supported by evidence?

Cara’s Bestselling Book

Many people struggle with sensory processing difficulties. Regulating emotions, knowing when to eat, drink, go to the toilet, and feeling your breathing and heart rate all depend on our internal awareness.

Related Posts

Close this search box.
© Copyright 2024 The Pocket OT. All rights reserved.
Play Video