Developmental Milestones Preschoolers ages 3-4 years old

Developmental Milestones Preschoolers List

For 3-4 Year Olds

As we discussed on the developmental milestones main page, children develop in specific ways but at their own pace. Some of your young preschoolers may still be developing their older toddler skills or already be developing their PreK skills!

The list below, although not exhaustive, shows the key abilities and processes that can be reasonably expect from a 3-4 year old in seven developmental areas.

Social Development

  • Enjoys singing and doing fingerplays with others.
  • Greets familiar people.
  • Engages in simple group games.
  • Helps with clean-up activities.
  • Takes turns.
  • Gives attention to stories for 10 minutes.
  • Plays interactive games.
  • Plays with peers with minimal conflict.
  • Interacts with peers in socially appropriate manner most of the time.
  • Interacts with adults in a cooperative, socially appropriate manner most of the time.
  • Asks permission to use items belonging to others with minimal reminders.

Cognitive Development

  • Draws faces.
  • Makes random marks on paper.
  • Makes controlled scribbles on paper.
  • Makes basic shapes.
  • Combines circles and/or squares with crossed lines.
  • Makes suns, animals, trees, flowers.
  • Can sort by two different colors.
  • Understands three prepositions (from, about, with, etc.)
  • Recalls familiar objects.
  • Counts to five by rote.
  • Classifies objects by categories.
  • Can match identical pictures.
  • Can select the different object from combination of 2 alike and 1 different.
  • Counts 3 objects.
  • Can match 2 colors.
  • Knows own gender.

Emotional Development

  • Able to recover from anger or temper tantrum and be cooperative.
  • Separates from parent without reluctance.
  • Verbalizes emotions he or she is feeling.
  • Expresses displeasure with words rather than physical aggression.
  • Maintains an appropriate, stable temperament most of the time.
  • Beginning to differentiate between fact and fantasy.
  • Recognizes emotions in others.

Physical Development: Large/Gross Motor Skills

  • Jumps over obstacles when running.
  • Jumps down from object 6" to 8" off the ground.
  • Catches a 6 to 8 inch ball using arms.
  • Balances on one foot for 4-5 seconds.
  • Hops on one foot at least 2 times.
  • Walks up and down stairs unassisted, alternating feet.
  • Throws a ball over-handed and under-handed.

Physical Development: Small/Fine Motor Skills

  • Draws or copies vertical and horizontal lines.
  • Draw or copies a complete circle.
  • Builds with blocks and other building toys.
  • Strings 1" beads.
  • Cuts paper into two pieces with scissors.
  • Draws or copies two lines that cross.
  • Puts together 9-piece (or larger) puzzles.

Communication and Language Development

  • Gives own firs and last name and age.
  • When given a choice, names preferred object or activity.
  • Begins asking purposeful questions.
  • Uses complete sentences consistently.
  • Tells of a simple experience.
  • Sings a simple song.
  • Asks a variety of questions using "who", "what", "where", etc.
  • Tells a story using pictures.

Creativity Development

  • Assigns roles or takes assigned roles in pretend play.
  • Takes on characteristics and actions of role play.
  • Uses particular props during pretend play.
  • Can pretend using imaginary objects.
  • Uses language for creating and sustaining plots.
  • Uses elaborate themes, ideas, details.


As with all milestones, remember that there can be a 6 to 8 month window with typical development. This means that children may exhibit skills 6 to 8 months before or after the age the skills are listed under.

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