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18-36 Months Curriculum

Developmental Milestones: 18-36 Months

Babies develop at their own pace, so it’s impossible to tell exactly when your child will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones listed below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect, but don’t be alarmed if the child’s development takes a slightly different course.

Social and Emotional

•Shy or anxious with strangers

•Shows specific preferences for certain people and toys

•Tests adult responses to his behavior

•May be fearful in some situations

•Prefers mother and/or regular caregiver over all others

•Plays alone and independently

•Initiate their own play

•Enjoys imitating people in his play

•Enjoys exploring new places

•Shows pride/pleasure with new accomplishments


•Explores objects in many different ways (shaking, banging, throwing, dropping)

•Finds hidden objects easily

•Looks at correct picture when the image is named

•Imitates gestures

•Use objects correctly (drinking from cup, brushing hair, dialing phone, listening to receiver)

•Points to objects in a book

•Draw creative “pictures”

•Recognize a familiar picture

•Make tower of 3-8 blocks


•Identify simple body parts by pointing & naming

•Responds to 1-2 simple, related instructions

•Learning about 9 new words a day

•Request items by naming them

•Receptive language stronger than expressive (understands more than is said)

•Names familiar/special toys

•Says 20-50 words

•Makes 2-3 word sentences

•Uses “my” or “mine” appropriately


•Can jump

•Climbs on large objects

•Walks up and down stairs using alternate feet

•Kicks a large ball

•Dance to music

•Push, pull and bang objects

Hand and Finger Skills

•Uses pincer grasp

•Bangs two objects together

•Puts objects in and out of containers

•Tries to scribble on any surface

•Turns pages in a book (2-3 at a time)

•Try to put on their shoes

•Open doors

•Drinks from a cup using two hands

•Feed themselves using fingers or spoons

Developmental Milestones: Two Year Olds (24-36 Months)

Children develop at their own pace, so it's impossible to tell exactly when yours will learn a given skill. The developmental milestones below will give you a general idea of the changes you can expect as your child gets older, but don't be alarmed if your child takes a slightly different course.

Social and Emotional

•Imitates behavior of others, especially adults and older children

•More aware of herself as separate from others

•More excited about company of other children

•Can not sit still for long

•Begins simple pretend games

•Adaptability to changes in the environment

•Beginning to demonstrate parallel play

•Developing cooperative play

•Awareness of the needs of others


•Demonstrates increasing independence and assertiveness

•Begins to show defiant behavior

•Separation anxiety increases toward midyear then fades

•Noisily expresses feelings and needs

•Still needs security but developing self-soothing behaviors

•Developing ability to be patient

•Able to express opinions and feelings appropriately


•Identifies some colors and shapes

•Begins to sort by shapes and colors

•Identifies changes in familiar patterns

•Begins make-believe play

•May show preference for right or left hand

•Begins to form simple concepts (big/small, in/out) and quantities

•Joins in simple songs

•Makes purposeful circular scribbles

•Begins to think in words and symbols

•Begins to think of something before doing it


•Points and/or recognizes objects, familiar people, and body parts

•Says several single words (by 15 to 18 months)

•Uses simple phrases (by 18 to 24 months)

•Follows 1 -2 consecutive, simple directions

•Expands vocabulary from 15 to 500 words

•Repeats words overheard in conversation

•Able to effectively communicate 2 -4 word sentences to non-family members


•Walks alone

•Pulls toys behind her while walking

•Throws objects

•Carries large toy or several toys while walking

•Begins to run & jump with two feet together

•Stands on tiptoe

•Learning to catch and kick a ball

•Learning to paddle a trike or bike

•Climbs onto and down from furniture unassisted

•Walks up and down stairs holding on to support

Hand and Finger Skills

•Scribbles independently

•Turns over container to pour out contents

•Builds tower of four blocks or more

•Might use one hand more often than the other

•Takes things apart

•Learning to roll playdough with fingers and hands

Developmental Watch

•Cannot walk by 18 months

•Fails to develop a mature heel-toe walking pattern after several months of walking, or walks only on his toes

•Does not speak at least 15 words

•Does not use two-word sentences by age 2

•By 15 months, does not seem to know the function of common household objects (brush, telephone, bell, fork, spoon)

•Does not imitate actions or words by the end of this period

•Does not follow simple instructions by age 2

•Cannot push a wheeled toy by age 2

•Experiences a dramatic loss of skills he or she once had

•Will not make eye contact when spoken to

•Can not be understood clearly by non-family members

•Unable to express anger appropriately

•Involved in isolated play most of the time

•Over sensitivity to the environment

•Unable to scribble purposefully

•Selective mutism

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