Childhood Milestones Year Four.

Your child is starting to emerge from their toddler years.  Are they meeting all of their feeding, speech and physical milestones?  Take a look at this comprehensive list and see if you need to schedule a speech, physical therapy or occupational therapy.

Childhood Milestones Year Four Pre-School

3 - 3.5 Years

Gross Motor Skills


  • Walk upstairs without a rail alternating feet
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Climb up a rock wall independently
  • Run 45 feet in 6 seconds
  • Jump forward 26 inches
  • Throw ball overhand with coordination
  • Throw ball underhand to hit a target from 5 feet




Fine Motor Skills /Visual Motor Skills


  • Build a tower of 9-10 small blocks
  • Make continuous cuts with child-safe scissors
  • Copy a horizontal line
  • Copy a circle
  • Imitate making a 3-block bridge
  • Can complete in-hand manipulation with stabilization
  • Use fingers to show age
  • Make a fist and wiggle thumb
  • Roll clay or play dough on table to make ropes
  • Trace around the edges of basic shape templates
  • Lace 3 holes or more on a lace board
  • Cut a piece of paper in half with scissors on a more or less straight line
  • Copy a vertical-horizontal cross




Self-Care


  • Dries hands
  • Brushing teeth with assistance from an adult

Tip: Give your child simple choices, such as what to wear or what snack to eat




Speech & Communication


  • Can be understood by all listeners 75% of the time
  • Converse in 3 to 4 word sentences
  • Follow simple 3-step related commands
  • Ask one-word “why” questions
  • Use “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” and “whose,” when asking questions
  • Respond to “wh- “questions (who, what, when, where, why)
  • Use regular plural –s (example: socks, shoes)
  • Use possessive –s (example: baby’s bottle)




Oral Motor Skills & Feeding


  • Can be understood by all listeners 75% of the time
  • Converse in 3 to4 word sentences
  • Follow simple 3-step related commands
  • Ask one-word “why” questions
  • Use “what,” “where,” “when,” “how,” and “whose,” when asking questions
  • Respond to “wh- “questions (who, what, when, where, why)
  • Use regular plural –s (example: socks, shoes)
  • Use possessive –s (example: baby’s bottle)




Sensory & Sleeping


  • Able to calm self to sleep at night
  • Expresses emotions
  • Tolerates different clothing textures
  • Copes in a noisy environment

Interesting fact: Did you know that it is recommended for your child to get 10-13 hours of sleep per day (including naps) at this age?




Understanding & Thinking Skills


  • Complete an easy puzzle
  • Sort objects
  • Counting 1-5
  • Understands common dangers, such as hot surface, stairs, etc




Social/Play


  • Cooperative play: play by rules and in groups with increase in dramatic and imitative play




Best Toys at This Age


  • Tricycle
  • 3 wheeled scooters
  • Play dough
  • Toys that encourage imaginative play such as baby doll, cars, toy kitchen
  • Building blocks
  • Simple puzzles
  • Sorting cups
  • Matching games
  • Toys with various textures, such as kinetic sand, slime, etc.





3.5 - 4 Years

Gross Motor Skills


  • Stand on one foot with hands on hips for 5 seconds
  • Walk 4 feet on a line with hands on hips
  • Run with appropriate form
  • Walk 8 feet on a line with hands on hips
  • Catch a large ball with hands only from 5 feet
  • Climb down rock wall independently
  • Stand on tiptoes with arms overhead for 3 seconds
  • Walk downstairs without a rail using an alternating pattern
  • Hop forward 6 inches on 1 foot
  • Throw ball overhand to hit target from 5 feet
  • Run and stop within 2 steps
  • Walk backwards on a line 4 feet with hands on hips
  • Jump forward 30 inches
  • Hop 3-5 times on each foot
  • Throw ball underhand 10 feet while stepping

Tip: Talk through solutions to a problem with your child to help them develop their problem solving skills




Fine Motor Skills/Visual Motor Skills


  • Imitate drawing an oblique cross
  • Build a tower of more than 9 blocks without help
  • Button and unbutton large buttons
  • Cut on a line within ½ inch
  • Fork held in standard position
  • Button and unbutton quarter-inch buttons
  • Make a flat, round cake by pressing and patting dough on table with fingers
  • Put 3 things in order, such as hard to soft or full to empty
  • Trace and stay on a 3-inch, pencil-thick, horizontal line most of the time
Begin to copy some vertical/horizontal letters




Self-Care


  • Put shoes on completely, on correct feet
  • Brush teeth with horizontal and vertical motions
  • Take off tops and bottoms
  • Put on t-shirts or sweaters with a bit of help
  • Put on pants, but need help doing them up
  • Do up large buttons and pull up zipper once it is started
  • Wash herself in the tub with supervision (except washing hair)
  • Wash his hands and face at the sink by himself
  • Help with brushing hair
  • Wipe her own nose




Speech & Communication Skills


  • Consistently use 4 to 5 word sentences, with correct sentence structure
  • Can be understood by all listeners 80% of the time
  • Verbally relate a personal experience/story
  • Ask many questions including “who?” and “why?”
  • Use regular and irregular past tense verbs consistently and regular 3rd person (He sits)
  • Use most pronouns (our, theirs, hers, myself)
  • Has 1500+ words in vocabulary
  • Use contractions (can’t, don’t, I’ve)
  • Identify colors
  • Begin Serve self with a large spoon or fork from a jar
  • Able to chew all textures
  • to use complex sentences (+ prepositional phrase)
  • Use most speech sounds correctly (exceptions: th, r, r-blends)
  • Follow 2-step related directions without cues

Tip: Talk to your child in full sentences to help improve their use of longer and more complex sentences




Oral Motor Skills & Feeding


  • Serve self with a large spoon or fork from a jar
  • Able to chew all textures




Sensory & Sleeping


  • Able to calm self to sleep at night
  • Expresses emotions
  • Tolerates different clothing textures
  • Copes in a noisy environment




Understanding & Thinking Skills


  • Be able to sort and match objects
  • Organize objects by size
  • Identify parts of a whole, such as a wheel on a car
  • Draw a simple picture and tell you what it is
  • Tell you their full name and age
  • Have a basic understanding of time, such as knowing the difference between past and present

Tip: Allow your child to begin helping with simple chores around the house




Social/Play


  • Share toys, taking turns with help
  • Might be bossy and defiant
  • Show more independence
  • Experience a broad range of emotions (ie: jealousy, excitement, fear, happiness, anger)
  • Become less egocentric
  • Be more even-tempered and cooperative with parents
  • May show attachment to one friend




Best Toys at This Age


  • Tricycle
  • 3 wheeled scooters
  • Play dough
  • Toys that encourage imaginative play such as baby doll, cars, toy kitchen
  • Building blocks
  • Simple puzzles
  • Sorting cups
  • Matching games
  • Toys with various textures, such as kinetic sand, slime, etc




Red Flags


  • Walks on toes all the time
  • Persistent pain or fatigue
  • Skills are regressing
  • Not able to cut across a piece of paper with scissors
  • Cannot copy a cross or draw a circle
  • Cannot use a fork and spoon well
  • Not able to put on own pants, socks or shoes
  • Sentences are not growing in length or complexity
  • Poor sorting or matching skills
  • Difficulty asking and answering questions
  • Not easily understood by family members or familiar people
  • Regular coughing or choking during eating
  • Lots of leakage of food or liquid from the mouth
  • Holding food inside pockets in mouth for long periods
  • Difficulty accepting new textures of food
  • Not able to complete a simple 4-6 piece puzzle
  • Not able to recognize at least 3 colors or shapes
  • Not able to initiate or join in play with other children
  • Is extremely rigid with routines and becomes upset if there is a change in routine
  • Extreme difficulty separating from parent or caregiver
  • Has extreme fears that interfere with daily activities





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Suite 120, Plymouth, MN 55446

Phone: 763-595-0812763-595-0813 

Fax: 763-595-0824

Email: info@minnetonkatherapy.com

3434 Lexington Ave N

Suite 700, Shoreview, MN  55126

Phone: 763-595-0812763-595-0813 

Fax: 763-595-0824

Email: info@minnetonkatherapy.com

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