Major motor skills

DevelopmentAt two years of age, children can run fast, using their whole foot and with control. They should be able to walk up and down stairs using two feet to a step. They can squat, sit at a table, and will often open doors and drawers.

Fine motor skills

Children should now be able to turn pages singularly. They enjoy naming objects on request. Children should be able to build a tower of six blocks and imitate circular scribble. They should be able to put on their hat and shoes (without laces), use a spoon competently, and lift and replace a cup without spilling.


Their vocabulary should include the use of at least 50 words (often up to 200), including the use of two or more words together to form simple sentences. They should be able to give their first name.

Vision and hearing

Children should demonstrate everyday visual competence for near and far.

Social achievements and play

A 2 year old is beginning to explore widely. They will play near other children (but usually not very cooperatively or ‘with’ other children). They have trouble sharing and are fearful of separation from their caregivers. They are generally dry during the daytime. Children will often talk continuously to themselves during play and should engage in simple imaginative play. Caregivers report that they will play contentedly alone, but like to remain close to the caregiver.

When to be concerned

Speak to your doctor if a two-year-old child:

  • Does not walk and run steadily;
  • Is limping;
  • Is mostly silent (or uses grunts and gestures rather than words);
  • Cannot point to objects when they are named;
  • Does not respond when spoken to; or
  • Does not respond differently to different people.

More information

Developmental milestones in childhood For more information on developmental milestones in childhood, including recommended health check-ups and childhood immunisation, see Developmental Milestones.


  1. Sheridan M. Birth to Five Years: Children’s Developmental Progress (2nd edition). Australian Council for Educational Research; 1997.
  2. Parenting and Child Health: Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service. Child development: 0-3 months [online]. Adelaide: Government of South Australia. 11 September 2008 [cited 31 October 2008]. Available from URL: HealthTopics/ HealthTopicDetails.aspx? p=114&np=122&id=1963
  3. Slater A, Hocking I, Loose J. Theories and issues in child development. In: Slater A, Bremner G [eds]. An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing; 2003, 34-63.