3 years old Milestone

Running, throwing, jumping… your toddler should be hitting these milestones.

The majority of children will achieve these development milestones by the time they turn 3 years. All children develop at different rates. Some children are slower than others (developmentally delayed) but catch up with time. Other children, however, may have an underlying problem that causes their development to be delayed, and they may not catch up.

Download Checklist

Evaluate your child with this checklist

It is important for these children to get as much treatment (early intervention) as possible. So if you are concerned about any aspect of your child’s development, see your child health nurse or doctor for help as soon as you can. If in doubt, it is better to have your concerns checked than to ‘wait and see’.

Gross Motor

  • Walk heel-to-toe
  • Stand on one leg
  • Jump off a step, both feet together
  • Climb up stairs, one foot at a time

Fine Motor

  • Copy (draw) circle, cross, horizontal stroke
  • Thread six beads
  • Build tower of eight or more blocks
  • Use scissors to cut along a line
  • Use fork and spoon

Talking and understanding

  • Name objects and body parts
  • Talk without just repeating what you say
  • Be understood almost all of the time
  • Use different types of words correctly
  • Define things by use (house, key, etc.)
  • Give first name
  • Follow three-step instructions
  • Identify two colours
  • Persistent copying and talking (such as repeating parts of movies, etc.)


  • Demonstrate clear, imaginative play involving people
  • Wash and dry hands
  • Put on clothing
  • Play interactive games
  • Give first name on request
  • Use fork and spoon together at the table
  • Name own sex
  • Play with other children, with play beginning to interact around common interests. Turn-taking and sharing is beginning
  • Separate from parents without crying
  • Can describe simple feelings of self– like happy, sad


  • Play includes imaginary objects
  • Draw a face with crude features
  • Play shows little imagination
  • Recognise a number
  • Repeat back 2-3 numbers
  • Understand concepts of bigger and smaller
  • Recognise money

Youthrive is providing this as general information only and it should not be relied upon as professional or medical advice. You should seek professional and medical advice for particular health concerns or manifestations. Our best efforts have been used to ensure this information is considered correct and current in accordance with accepted best practice in Queensland as at the date of production.

Originally produced by Child Development Network.