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3-5 years

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Between 3 and 5 years, children change from clumsy toddlers into lively explorers of their world. A child develops in these main areas:

  • Cognitive development. A child this age makes great strides in being able to think and reason. In these years, children start to learn their letters, counting, and other concepts.
  • Emotional and social development. Children gradually learn how to manage their feelings. By age 5, friends become important.
  • Language. Children continue to develop their language skills, speak in full sentences, recount experiences and tell stories. By age 5, a child may know thousands of words and can carry on conversations.
  • Sensory and motor development. By age 3, most children can walk up stairs one at a time, kick a ball, and draw simple strokes with a pencil. By age 5, most can dress and undress themselves and write some lowercase and capital letters.

It's important to remember that each child gains skills at his or her own pace.

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