From age one to three, toddlers learn many things and acquire countless skills. Although some toddlers begin to recognize letters of the alphabet and count to 10, these concepts are typically mastered in the preschool years. The educational milestones achieved during the toddler years provide a foundation for future learning and quickly mastering Kindergarten readiness skills.
Talking and Understanding Language
One of the most noticeable milestones that your toddler will achieve is that she will most likely begin talking. You will also notice that she quickly understands new words and concepts every day. By 18 months, most toddlers can say about 5 words and understand around 50 words. Most 2-year-old children can say 50 to 75 words and understand around 200 words. By the time she is 3 years old, she will be talking in sentences and probably have a vocabulary near 900 words. If you are concerned about your toddler’s speech development, talk to your pediatrician or contact Early Intervention in your area.
Fine Motor Skills
You will also notice that your child’s fine motor skills increase dramatically during the toddler years. She will be able to stack blocks higher and string large beads. Your toddler will also be able to do simple puzzles and put the pieces in the correct space. These activities help develop coordination and muscle control that she will use later to write letters.
Writing and Drawing Skills
Around a year, most toddlers begin to hold a large crayon and make scribbles. If your toddler is not interested in drawing at this age, try again in a month or two. By their second birthday, most toddlers are able to draw a line. Between age two and three, your toddlers drawings will emerge from scribbles to more artistic drawings. Most children can draw simple shapes at three years of age and your child may even draw a simple person.
During the toddler years, your child should learn to identify basic colors. Most children know most of their colors by their third birthday. To help your child learn their colors, point out colors during your day. You can also read books about colors, such as “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” by Bill Martin and Eric Carle and “Elmer’s Colors” by David McKee. You can also practice colors by setting different colored blocks in front of your toddler and asking her to point to the red block. Be sure to praise her when she selects the correct block.
Interest in Books
Many children become more interested in books from ages one to three. Although she may have enjoyed short books while a baby, you will notice that she can sit through longer books and more complex stories. Many toddlers enjoy looking through books on their own while playing or in the car. You can help increase her interest in books by providing books that she can easily reach and reading to her throughout the day.