Developmental Skills for 3-4 Year Old Children

Parents, check out this quick list of milestones for children ages 3-4 years old. 

Social and Emotional
qInterested in new experiences
qCooperates with other children
qPlays “Mom” and/or “Dad”
qBecomes more inventive in fantasy play (e.g. having an imaginary friend)
qDresses and undresses
qTries to solve conflicts with negotiation (e.g. offers to ‘trade’ toys during play)
qFollows adult requests (e.g. clean up your blocks)
qCan identify emotions in self (happy, sad, mad, silly)

Speech and Language

qAnswers simple “who”, “what”, “where”, and “why” questions
qTalks about events at school, childcare, or a friend’s house
qUnfamiliar people understand speech
qMost utterances have 4 or more words with basic rules of grammar
qTells stories
qSpeech is usually smooth and flows without repeating any syllables or words

Sensory

qHears someone call him or her from another room
qTelevision and/or radio is able to be heard at the same volume as other family members
qFork and spoon skills continue to improve, may still need reminders to use utensils to eat
qDrinks from an open cup with almost no spilling

Cognitive

qNames some colors
qUnderstands counting and may know a few numbers
qFollows a 3-part direction
qRecalls parts of stories
qUnderstands the concepts of “same and different”
qBegins to have a clearer sense of time (e.g. today, tomorrow, now, later)

Gross Motor 

qHops on one foot
qStands on one foot
qGoes up and down stairs without help
qKicks ball forward
qThrows ball overhand
qCatches ball most of the time
qEasily moves forward and backward

Fine Motor 

qDraws a person with a few body parts
qUses scissors to cut paper
qDraws circles
qBegins to copy some capital letters
qZips zipper
qFastens large button

Each child develops at his/her own pace. Do not be alarmed if your child does not follow this exact sequence. If you have concerns about your child’s development, contact your doctor or call your school district's special education office. 


  • You may request that Little Lukes coordinate the evaluation or provide services including speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy or teacher services.   Little Lukes is a leading provider of Early Intervention and Preschool Services in Oswego, Syracuse and Watertown in Upstate New York.

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