Cognitive Development for Toddlers 2-3 Year Olds

Cognitive Development for Toddlers 2-3 Year Olds Abby Batchelder

Toddlers have a greater understanding of the world around them by this stage. Their cognitive development (also known as intellectual development and thinking skills) continues to increase during this period. The ability to learn new skills, understanding of concepts, begins to make sense of current events, solve problems and use of memory steadily improves. Toddlers will begin to interpret the meanings of their experiences and they also have a vivid imagination.

Cognitive Development Milestones

  • groups objects according to specific characteristics (colour, size, shape etc)
  • name and identifies objects in pictures
  • enjoys simple stories and songs
  • points to body parts when asked
  • can repeat two numbers in a row
  • relates what they are doing to others
  • observe and imitate adult actions, for example pretending to drive a car
  • interested in looking through books
  • understands consequences of their actions
  • makes mechanical toys work
  • matches an object in hand or room to a picture in a book
  • plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • sorts objects by colour
  • completes puzzles with 3 or 4 pieces
  • builds tower of five to seven objects
  • lines up objects in ‘train’ fashion
  • recognises and identifies common objects and pictures by pointing
  • enjoys playing with sand, water, dough; explores what these materials can do more than making things with them
  • uses symbolic play, e.g. use a block as a car
  • shows knowledge of gender-role stereotypes
  • identifies picture as a boy or girl
  • engages in making believe and pretend play
  • begins to count with numbers
  • recognises similarities and differences
  • imitates rhythms and animal movements
  • becoming aware of space through physical activity
  • can follow two or more directions
  • understands concept of “two”
  • matches objects and pictures one to one
  • plays make believe play (pretending to be batman or snow white
  • enjoys drawing pictures
  • able to complete simple puzzles and play simple board games
  • begins to understand the concept that 2 halves make a 1 whole
  • gives brief details of what is happening in a picture
  • places objects in a certain logical order, e.g. stack blocks from largest to smallest
  • tries to obtain more information through ‘why’ and ‘what’ questions
  • pays attention to an activity between 5 – 15 minutes at a time

A toddler becomes an active thinker with a greater amount of knowledge and grasps concepts more easily than before. Toddlers begin to use imagery as part of their thinking. This enables them to discuss objects and people, that aren't actually in front of them and are no longer tied down to only what they see. This opens up a whole new range of cognitive experiences.

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Last modified on Monday, January 5, 2015

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