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Your Preschooler: A Developmental Checklist: 3 to 4 Years

Enormous development and growth occur during this year. A child who can only scotble at her third birthday may be able to draw a circle with dots--a face--at her next birthday. Of course all children are individuals; they develop at their own pace. Skills and abilities change over the course of the year and not all children match every single item on the checklist when they turn three. The list gives you a very general sense of the direction your child is headed as the fourth birthday approaches. If you have any concerns about your child's development, consult with your physician.

Physical Development

  • Walks in single file
  • Uses a toilet
  • Grasps crayon between thumb and fingers
  • Can copy an X and an O
  • Uses child-size scissors with parental supervision
  • Tosses a ball underhand or overhand
  • Catches a large ball with extended arms
  • Jumps up and down on two feet
  • May be able to hop a few times on one foot
  • May be able to skip

Intellectual Development

  • Can count to 10 from memory, although the concept of counting objects is not developed
  • Can say or sing the alphabet
  • Engages in fantasy play
  • May have an imaginary playmate
  • Can complete tasks
  • Can follow simple instructions

Social And Emotional Development

  • Enjoys interactive games
  • Takes turns when playing
  • Demonstrates interest in people outside family
  • Positive attachment to mother
  • Strong friendship with another child
  • Uses verbal skills to attract and exclude other children

Language Development

  • Understands and uses phrases me and you
  • Knows own first and last name
  • Can tell a complete story
  • Speaks in full sentences
  • Talks of self and others
Dr. Bettye M. Caldwell Ph.D. Professor of Pediatrics in Child Development and Education