The progression in abilities from first motor reflexes to intentional movement, from rolling to sitting to crawling, walking, running, jumping, and more. This also includes fine motor skills, the ability to control the small muscles in the hands and fingers to pinch clay, roll dough, and hold tools to make marks.

These Milestones from the CDC offer some clues to a child’s development:


2 Month Physical Milestones:

Open hands briefly; holds head up when on tummy; moves both arms and legs


4 Month Physical Milestones:

Holds head steady without support when being held; holds a toy when it is put in their hand; uses their arm to swing at toys; brings hand to mouth; pushes onto elbows/forearms when on tummy


6 Month Physical Milestones:

Rolls from tummy to back; pushes up with straight arms when on tummy; leans on hands to support self while sitting


9 Month Milestones:

Gets into a sitting position by themself; moves things from one hand to the other; uses fingers to “rake” food towards themself; sits without support


12 Month Milestones:

Pulls up to stand; walks while holding furniture; drinks from a cup without a lid, held by an adult; picks things up between thumb and pointer finger, like small pieces of food


15 Month Milestones:

Take a few steps independently; uses fingers to feed self some food


18 Month Milestones:

Walks without holding on to anyone or anything; scribbles; drinks from a cup without a lid and may spill sometimes; feeds self with fingers; tries to use a spoon; climbs on and off a couch or chair without help


2-Year-Old Milestones:

Kicks a ball; runs; walks (not climbs) up a few stairs with or without help; eats with a spoon


30 Month Milestones:

Uses hands to twist things, like unscrewing a jar or opening a doorknob; takes off some clothing independently, like loose pants or a jacket; jumps off the ground with both feet; turns book pages one at a time when being read to


3-Year-Old Milestones:

Strings items together, like large beads or macaroni; puts on some clothes independently, like loose pants or a jacket; uses a fork


4-Year-Old Milestones:

Catches a large ball most of the time; serves self some food or water, with adult supervision; unbuttons some buttons; holds crayons or pencil between fingers and thumb (not in fist)


5-Year-Old Milestones:

Buttons some buttons; hops on one foot


Language development is the process by which children acquire the ability to communicate verbally (or signed) and in writing. This begins in utero when the fetus is able to hear patterns of sounds, and continues through crying, vocalizing, babbling, and mimicking, into words, sentences, and eventually writing. Bilingual or multilingual development occurs when a child is consistently exposed to and using more than one language at once.

Dr. Katie Paciga, Fred Rogers Fellow and Assistant Professor of Education, shares some things to consider when choosing e-books or storytelling apps.

When looking for e-books consider if there are different types of menu options such as “read to me”, “read and play”, “read by myself” which will offer flexibility for different ages and reading levels.  Print tracking is another option that is excellent for emergent or beginning readers to draw attention to the words as they are being read.  Check to see that any interactive elements relate to the story line and aren’t arbitrary, such that they draw attention away from the story or cause confusion.  An option to record narration of the story can also be great for supporting children’s creativity.

Features of storytelling apps that are important to look for include the option to import images from the camera roll and the ability to use the keyboard or a finger for adding writing/text.  The option to audio record so that the story can be told by the child’s voice rather than only by printed or written text makes a storytelling app more appropriate for a broad range of ages.

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Set up a space where children can create cards and letters for each other.  You can include different types and sizes of paper and envelopes, stickers, stamps/stampers, and a list of the names of the children.  Encourage children to draw and write or dictate messages to one another.  You can create a mailbox space using a box with dividers or hanging shoe storage and label a spot for each child.

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Goal: Children will communicate with each other with drawing and writing.

If you would like to learn more about emergent writing check out the Learn, Share, and Grow series about writing development on the Professional Development page.