Developmental Milestones

Your Child's Development: Birth to age 5 

Your child's development in the first five years of life will amaze you.  As infants, children babble, roll over, and hold your fingers.  Toddlers run, help with jobs at home, and can speak in sentences.  By the time children are age 5 they can dress themselves, tell jokes, play games with friends, and write his/her name.

Each child will develop at his or her own pace, following predictable stages. Some new skills will develop earlier than expected, while others appear later. Each new step is a building block leading to the growth of physical capabilities and the ability to think, speak and interact with others. Listed below are a few examples of the skills commonly seen in children this age.

If you are concerned about your child’s development, contact your child’s doctor, teacher or nurse. You also may contact your local health department or school district.


A baby's hand grabbing their parent's fingers

What children can do: birth to age 1

  • Grasp objects with the whole hand;

  • Roll over, crawl and walk;

  • Point at people and things;

  • Babble, coo and begin using first words.

A baby playing peek-a-boo

What children can do: 12 to 18 months

  • Play peek-a-boo;

  • Sit on your lap listening to stories;

  • Push and pull toys;

  • Follow simple directions.

A toddler drinking from a cup

What children can do: 18 to 24 months

  • Say some two-word phrases, such as More milk!;

  • Play hide-and-seek;

  • Drink from a cup;

  • Put items in a container and dump them out.

Walking stairs

What children can do: age 2

  • Climb stairs without help;

  • Stack objects on top of each other;

  • Say, No and What’s That?;

  • Name people and things in picture books.

Child plays to doctor

What children can do: age 3

  • Jump in place;

  • Turn pages of a book;

  • Say nursery rhymes and sing songs;

  • Play make-believe.

A girl hopping on one foot

What children can do: age 4

  • Hop on one foot;

  • Draw simple shapes;

  • Make silly words and sounds;

  • Cooperate with friends and play group games.

A girl playing with a red ball

What children can do: age 5

  • Cut on a line with scissors;

  • Catch a ball;

  • Sort objects by color, type and shape;

  • Make up jokes and riddles.