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Your Toddler's Cognitive Development 2-3 years

2 to 3 Years
Discover and explore together through ‘field trips’, picnics, or pretend play

Your child at a glance

Your child's vision is now fully developed, and her vocabulary is increasing rapidly. She will enjoy sharing experiences and new knowledge with you. During this stage you are likely to see your child:
  • Furthering his understanding of consequences of actions
  • Learning rapidly through exploration and direction, loving sharing new learning with you
  • Identifying and naming several objects within a picture or book
  • Engaging in ever more sophisticated imaginary play (pretend play)
  • Being able to communicate needs such as thirst, hunger, need to use the restroom
  • Still thinking in 'concrete', i.e. not yet understanding concepts such as change over time

Your child's story

Your child will be very busy and happy exploring environments he finds himself in, learning about everything at a fast rate. His understanding of consequences is becoming more sophisticated, for example saying sorry if he knocks something over that belongs to someone and it breaks. He will generally think about things in a concrete manner, for example he won’t yet understand concepts such as change over time. At times he may confuse fact and fantasy.

You will find that your child continues to imitate your actions, and those of other adults. She will be able to talk a little bit about what she is doing, and will enjoy showing and sharing new abilities and knowledge. Attention span is still limited, and learning mostly happens through exploration and adult support or direction. She will increasingly engage in songs and conversations with you.

Child blowing dandelion headShe is starting to understand how familiar objects function and is identifying new things that belong to a ‘category’ she already knows. He will want to choose which books to read, and enjoys naming and identifying objects, often several within one picture. You may see her starting to match objects and show increased intention and meaning when talking about things that go together. During this year she will also be stacking rings in order of size, making a variety of things (e.g. car, train, tower) with building blocks, and drawing a person with more detail involved.

Your child’s pretend play is flourishing now, and she is thoroughly enjoying creating an imaginary world where she is driving a car, sitting on a bus, having a picnic with all her favourite toys etc. She will probably spend longer periods of time playing by herself, and you may notice her looking closely at other children's play ('spectator play'). When with other children, she is still likely to play alongside them ('parallel play'), but you may start to see a change towards more interactive play at the end of the year.

What you can do to support and encourage your child's development

Boy focusing on activitySupport his learning and development by discovering and exploring new things together. If you go for walks through woods or fields you can discover different plants, wildlife, bugs etc. At home, you can explore what you find in the garden, but also through pretend play and engaging in playing out stories of a book, talking about what might happen next, how the characters feel and what they do.

Crayons and paper, play dough and painting are great for inside entertainment and creativity. Your child’s attention span is increasing a bit, so you may be engaging in one thing at a time for longer. Provide dressing up clothes and materials to support and encourage imagination and pretend play.

Have conversations, make sure you listen to what engages her and indulge her by joining in her conversations and her fantasy stories.

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