• Texarkana Therapy Center

Milestones for a Three Year Old

Updated: 6 days ago

Article by: Dorie Pearson, OTR, ADHD-CCSP

Here is a quick look at common milestones in children three years of age. Determine if your child is developing at a similar rate as their peers.


Milestones of a 3-year-old

How your child plays, learns, speaks, interacts with others, and moves offers important clues about your child’s development. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. The following list provides milestones that most children have reached by their 3rd birthday. If you feel your child may be behind, speak with your pediatrician about your concerns and find out if a referral for therapy would benefit your child. Our pediatric occupational, physical, and speech therapists are here to help your children grow and develop the skills they need to be successful.


“For a small child there is no division between playing and learning; between the things he or she does ‘just for fun’ and things that are ‘educational.’ The child learns while living and any part of living that is enjoyable is also play.” ~ Penelope Leach

Speech and Language Skills:

Says about 1,000 words

Speaks in sentences

Asks questions

Speech is 75% intelligible


Social Emotional Skills:

Shows affection for friends

Imitates actions of adults and peers

Shows a wide range of emotions

Separates easily from caregivers


Fine Motor Skills:

Unbuttons large buttons

Works 3-4 piece puzzles

Copies a circle

Turns buttons, levers, and knobs on toys


Gross Motor Skills:

Walks up and down stairs

Runs easily

Rides a tricycle

Hops on one foot


Sensory Development:

Tolerates a wide range of textures of foods

Pays attention for 3 minutes

Enjoys messy play

Settles self down to sleep at night


Self-Care Skills:

Takes clothing on and off

Uses utensils with little spillage

Cleans up toys

Puts shoes on and off


Helpful hints for your child’s development:


To encourage your child’s language skills try the following: Speak to the child slightly above their level, read to them daily, encourage them to name pictures in books and in your environments, sing songs, and talk to them about daily life activities.


To develop fine motor skills try the following: Color with small pieces of crayon or chalk to develop proper grasp patterns, string Fruit loops or Cheerios, work 3-4 piece puzzles, place coins in a piggy bank, practice buttoning large buttons.


To develop gross motor skills: Give your child lots of opportunities to climb, jump and play outside. Practice going up and down stairs, standing on one foot, and propelling ride-on toys


Sensory Development: Let your child get messy, feel textures and explore his/her world. Try playing in shaving cream in the bathtub and copying lines and circles. Go for a treasure hunt using containers of rice, sand, or beans with little treasures hidden inside.


Act early by talking to your child’s doctor if your child:

Falls down a lot or has trouble with stairs

Drools or has very unclear speech

Can’t work simple toys (such as peg boards, simple puzzles, turning handle)

Doesn’t speak in sentences

Doesn’t understand simple instructions

Doesn’t play pretend or make-believe

Doesn’t want to play with other children or with toys

Continuously has problems with calming down

Doesn’t make eye contact

Loses skills he once had



The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children be screened for general development at 9, 18, and 24 or 30 months and for Autism at 18 and 24 months or whenever a parent or provider has a concern.


Have more questions about your child and their milestones? Contact us at Texarkana Therapy Center or try our online screening tool. You will be given a survey of age-appropriate milestones for speech, language, gross motor skills, fine motor skills and sensory processing for children ages 1-6.


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Texarkana Therapy Center is a pediatric therapy clinic located in Texarkana Texas. We are committed to seeing our children grow, learn, and excel in all areas of their lives. Our team offers a multi-disciplinary approach through speech, physical, and occupational therapy. We are dedicated to providing exceptional care in a loving and nurturing environment for our patients and families.

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