By age one year

cute baby boy playing with toys in living room

  • Recognizes name
  • Says 2-3 words besides “mama” and “dada”
  • Makes consonant sounds p,b,m,d,t,w
  • Engages in vocal play
  • Enjoys reciprocal games like peak-a-boo
  • Attempts to get others attention via squeals and cries
  • Demonstrates eye contact and joint engagement with others
  • Imitates familiar words
  • Understands simple instructions
  • Recognizes words as symbols for objects: Car – points to garage, cat – meows
Between one and two years
  • Understands “no”
  • Demonstrates a growing vocabulary with at least 50 words by the age of two years
  • Imitates words and sounds spoken by others
  • Combines two words such as “daddy bye-bye”
  • Waves good-bye and plays pat-a-cake
  • Engages in giving/showing activities by pointing and bringing objects to others
  • Makes the “sounds” of familiar animals
  • Gives a toy when asked
  • Uses words such as “more” to make wants known
  • Points to his or her toes, eyes, and nose
  • Brings object from another room when asked
  • Demonstrates knowledge of basic routines (bathtime, dressing, bedtime)
Between two and three years
  • Identifies body parts
  • Carries on ‘conversation’ with self and dolls
  • Speech is mostly understood by immediate family members
  • Asks “what’s that?” And “where’s my?”
  • Uses 2-word negative phrases such as “no want”
  • Forms some plurals by adding “s”; book, books
  • Has a 450 word vocabulary
  • Gives first name, holds up fingers to tell age
  • Combines nouns and verbs “mommy go”
  • Understands simple time concepts: “last night”, “tomorrow”
  • Refers to self as “me” rather than by name
  • Tries to get adult attention: “watch me”
  • Likes to hear same story repeated
  • May say “no” when means “yes”
  • Talks to other children as well as adults
  • Solves problems by talking instead of hitting or crying
  • Answers “where” questions
  • Names common pictures and things
  • Uses short sentences like “me want more” or “me want cookie”
  • Matches 3-4 colors, knows big and little
Between three and four years
  • Can tell a story
  • Has a sentence length of 4-5 words
  • Speech is understood most of the time by people outside of the immediate family
  • Beginning to use grammatical markers to indicate tense (past, present, future)
  • Use of pronouns my, yours, his hers, he she etc.
  • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1000 words
  • Name basic colors
  • Understands “yesterday,” “summer”, “lunchtime”, “tonight”, “little-big”
  • Begins to obey requests like “put the block under the chair”
  • Knows his or her last name, name of street on which he/she lives and several nursery rhymes
Between four and five years
  • Has sentence length of at least 4-5 words consistently
  • Uses past tense correctly
  • Has a vocabulary of nearly 1500 words
  • Points to colors red, blue, yellow and green
  • Identifies triangles, circles and squares
  • Understands “In the morning” , “next”, “noontime”
  • Can speak of imaginary conditions such as “I hope”
  • Asks many grammatically correct questions, asks “who?” And “why?”
  • Uses a variety of grammatical forms to indicate tense, plurality, possession
Between five and six years
  • Has a sentence length of at least 5-6 words consistently
  • Speech is understood by all listeners, all of the time time despite some developmental articulation errors on L, R, and TH
  • Has a vocabulary of around 2000 words
  • Defines objects by their use (you eat with a fork) and can tell what objects are made of
  • Knows spatial relations like “on top”, “behind”, “far” and “near”
  • Knows his/her address
  • Identifies a penny, nickel and dime
  • Knows common opposites like “big/little”
  • Understands “same” and “different”
  • Counts ten objects
  • Asks questions for information
  • Distinguished left and right hand in herself
  • Uses all types of sentences, for example “let’s go to the store after we eat”
  • Uses a variety of grammatical forms to indicate tense, plurality, possession

Source: American Speech Language and Hearing Association 2011