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Two-year-olds explore all the ways to travel from here to there. Their balancing, kicking and throwing skills improve, as do their fine motor skills.

What to expect

At this age, children are rolling, crawling, creeping, walking, running, jumping and climbing. They can also kick a small ball forward, catch a rolled ball and throw a ball overhand (but with little accuracy). Two-year-olds love finger play activities – for example, ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’. They also like pounding and squeezing clay, shaking rhythm instruments and scribbling. They can turn doorknobs and unscrew lids, and have improved their skills using eating utensils.

Motor skill development

Your child will roll, crawl, creep, walk, jump, run and climb. He can crawl through tunnels, go over and under low obstacles, and move swiftly up and down ramps. He climbs low steps, pushes boxes and pulls toys. He also loves to move on hands and knees pretending to be animals. For example, you might find him barking like a dog, or pouncing like a cat on a mouse.

She falls frequently when running, but also begins to understand leading with one foot in order to gallop. When she’s climbing, she might get stuck and need help getting down.

Your two-year-old can get into a chair independently. While holding a hand rail, he can walk up and down stairs with one foot on each step. He can jump off one step, but might lose his balance when landing. He might want to hold hands with an adult when he’s walking on a low beam or stepping over the rungs of a ladder. He likes to climb and balance on higher objects like tabletops and chairs, which might not always be safe.

At this age, your child needs opportunities for active, large-muscle play – both indoors and out.

Your child bends over easily without falling, and picks up toys from a standing position. She can stand on one foot with assistance, and stand and walk on tiptoes.

He rides a tricycle using pedals some of the time and kicks a small ball forward. He likes to toss or drop a ball or beanbag into a bin. He can also throw a ball overhand, but with little accuracy – for example, he flings a ball in any direction. He can catch a rolled ball by trapping it with his arms and hands and body. He’ll try to catch a thrown ball by extending his arms directly in front of his body, but he might not be able to catch it.

Your child explores various ways to move her body – for example, climbing, dancing and rolling. She typically knows a number of body parts.

He loves finger play activities – for example, ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ – including those where children identify and touch different parts of the body – for example, ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’. He enjoys shaking and manipulating rhythm instruments. And he also likes to scribble with marker or crayon. He can make vertical, horizontal and circular strokes with pen or crayon. He can thread big beads, and turn pages one by one. He likes to roll, pound, squeeze and pull clay.

At this age, your child increasingly participates in dressing and undressing – for example, she can remove pants with an elastic waistband, and take off her shoes.

He can use a fork and spoon independently, dump liquid from a small container or cup, turn rotating handles (for example, doorknobs) and screw and unscrew lids.

Health status and practices

Your child:

  • can help dress and undress herself, putting on simple garments such as a hat or slippers
  • can use a tissue to wipe her nose with help
  • is typically mature enough to toilet train
  • improves her ability to calm herself
  • washes and dries her hands without help
  • pays attention to safety instructions, but might not always obey.
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  • Last Updated 14-01-2010
  • Last Reviewed 14-01-2010
  • Acknowledgements

    © 2002-2006 Public Broadcasting Service.  Reprinted from with permission of the Public Broadcasting Service.