Irvine Therapy Services

Using sensory integration to help children succeed since 1980

Developmental Milestones Checklist

Age 3-5 Years

*Note: Please note that there is a range in which many of these milestones are achieved. Please do not be alarmed if your child does not meet the milestone at the exact month under which the skill is listed. However, if there is more than a 1-2 month delay, it is recommended that you contact our office to discuss the need for further assessment. If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s development, please contact our office at 949-252-9946 or support@irvinetherapyservices.com for a free consultation.

FINE MOTOR

Developing Skills

  • Colors pictures without excessive deviation outside lines
  • Draws a person with at least 6 different body parts
  • Draws simple shapes (ex. ○, +, □, △, X)
  • Makes continuous cuts on a line with scissors
  • Manipulates playdoh to make simple objects or figures
  • Independently feeds self with spoon or fork
  • Independently dresses and undresses self, including shoes and socks
  • Independently manipulates fasteners (ex. buttons, zippers, snaps) on clothing by age 5 (shoelaces by age 6)
  • Independently washes and dries hands
  • Copies building block or peg designs
  • Consistently uses dominant hand by age 5

Warning Signs

  • Uses too much or too little pressure when coloring/drawing
  • Accidentally breaks pencils, crayons or toys from pressing too hard
  • Frequently switches between hands during art activities or when eating
  • Awkward grasp on utensils (ex. forks, spoons) or tools (ex. crayons, chalk, pencils, markers, scissors)
  • Dislikes crafts/activities which might make his/her fingers messy or dirty (ex. chalk, glue, etc.)

GROSS MOTOR

Developing Skills

  • Rides a tricycle independently
  • Rides a bicycle with training wheels independently
  • Catches and throws balls of various sizes
  • Hops on 1 foot
  • Gallops
  • Skips
  • Independently pumps a swing by age 5
  • Safely navigates environments without falling or bumping into objects or people
  • Imitates body movements and hand motions while singing songs or playing Simon Says

Warning Signs

  • Clumsy; falls or trips frequently
  • Has difficulty with body awareness or personal space
  • Seems overly active; unable to slow down
  • Avoids playground activities
  • Walks on tiptoes
  • Has poor muscle tone; may seem weak or floppy
  • Has difficulty tolerating prone position (lying on tummy)
  • Has difficulty using the appropriate amount of force for using objects, playing with peers, or petting animals
  • Fatigues quickly; frequently leans on others or furniture for support

ORAL MOTOR

Developing Skills

  • Eats an increasing variety of food
  • Is willing to try new foods of various textures, flavors, and temperatures
  • Takes appropriately-sized bites of food
  • Independently drinks from an open cup without spilling

Warning Signs

  • Picky eater
  • Overstuffs food in mouth
  • Mouths non-food items or objects
  • Drools
  • Has speech that is difficult to understand

Auditory

Developing Skills

  • Consistently responds to verbal cues
  • Is able to follow 1-2 step commands

Warning Signs

  • Overreacts to ordinary household or classroom sounds
  • Unable to filter out background noise; easily distracted
  • Difficulty understanding language

Tactile

Developing Skills

  • Identifies simple shapes (ex. ○, □, △, ◊, etc.) and familiar objects (ex. toy car, penny, crayon, etc.) by touch
  • Enjoys playing with toys/objects with various textures (ex. smooth, bumpy, soft, hard, cotton, felt, rubber, etc.)
  • Enjoys playing in environments with various textures (ex. grass, sand, etc.)
  • Wears clothing with a variety of textures and materials

Warning Signs

  • Under- or over-responsiveness to pain
  • Dislikes baths
  • Dislikes being cuddled or hugged
  • Dislikes haircuts
  • Shows discomfort getting hands messy
  • Appears sensitive to certain textures or fabrics
  • Has difficulty getting comfortable, settling into bed
  • Dislikes teeth brushing more than others his/her age

Visual

Developing Skills

  • Recognizes items as same or different
  • Sorts objects based on size, shape, or color
  • Assembles age-appropriate puzzles
  • Visually tracks a moving object (ex. ball)
  • Enjoys looking at and reading books

Warning Signs

  • Easily distracted in busy or cluttered environments
  • Seems sensitive to light or prefers dark/dim lighting
  • Often tilts head or looks out of corner of eye
  • Has difficulty sustaining visual gaze or tracking moving objects
 

Vestibular

Developing Skills

  • Maintains balance in everyday tasks
  • Enjoys swinging, jumping, sliding and other playground activities
  • Has a good sense of rhythm and can clap to a beat
  • Uses the two sides of the body in a coordinated manner when performing bilateral tasks such as cutting with scissors, opening screw-on lids, skipping, swimming, etc.

Warning Signs

  • Dislikes car rides or becomes car sick easily
  • Appears uncomfortable with swinging
  • Dislikes jumping or having feet off floor
  • Seeks twirling, spinning, rocking, or swinging more than other children
  • Gets dizzy easily or never gets dizzy
  • Poor endurance for standing or sitting; easily tires or needs to move/wiggle in order to sustain these positions
 

Attention/Behavior

Developing Skills

  • Expresses self and makes needs known in an appropriate manner
  • Attends to and participates appropriately in school activities (ex. circle time, story, art)
  • Is able to play with one toy or theme for 15 minutes

Warning Signs

  • Needs more verbal cuing to complete age-appropriate tasks than other children
  • Short attention span
  • Unable to attend in a busy environment (ex. classroom)
  • Aggressive or impulsive behavior

Social/Emotional

Developing Skills

  • Plays in small groups with other children
  • Takes turns with peers; engages in cooperative play
  • Engages in imaginative and pretend play
  • Resolves conflicts with peers with some adult guidance
  • Self-soothes when upset
  • Is able to cope with unexpected change
  • Is able to separate and be away from parents when with familiar persons (ex. babysitter/nanny, teacher, relatives)
  • Aware of safety precautions (ex. no talking to strangers, aware of risky/unsafe environments and behaviors)

Warning Signs

  • Easily frustrated; frequent outbursts/tantrums
  • Repetitive in play, plays the same things over and over, limited play skills
  • Strong need for routine, poor flexibility
  • Failure to explore
  • Difficulty with transitions—between toys/activities, between environments
  • Inability to settle down; sleep difficulties
  • Poor emotional regulation, easily upset, unusually fussy

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