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Toddlers' Cognitive Development from 30-36 Months


toddlers playing together



Now that your toddler is between 30 and 36 months, cognitive skills are developing at lightning speed. Your child can now compare sizes, using words like "bigger," "smaller," and "really little."

Here's what else you can expect.

Cognitive Milestones

A toddler of this age typically:

  • Tries to play act thoughts and ideas. For example, your toddler may pretend to be a dinosaur.
  • Counts three objects.
  • Matches and sorts similar pictures and objects.
  • Enjoys creative movement.

Play and Activity

Be sure to praise your toddler's successes, nurture creativity, and continue adding to the range of items your toddler plays with - playdough is likely still a favourite! Here are some more tips for supporting your child’s cognitive development:

  • Continue to breastfeed.
  • Provide dress up clothes and props.
  • Give your toddler a broader range of art supplies. Try sticks, cotton balls, paper, and cones.
  • Use laundry time as a chance to talk and sort clothing.
  • Introduce the concept of first, second, third in simple games. Ask: "Who is first? Who comes second?"
  • Provide more complex puzzles with three to six pieces.
  • Cook with your toddler and explore different foods. Always remember to be safe in the kitchen!
  • Continue to talk about time, shape, and colour concepts.
  • Encourage your toddler to tell stories.
  • Encourage creative moves to music.
  • Teach and play singing games like Ring Around the Rosie and London Bridge.
  • Occasionally, ask your child “what do you think?” or “why might that be?”

Other Cognitive Milestones

Between 30 and 36 months your toddler may also:

  • Make a plan before taking action. For example, your toddler may search for needed felt board pieces before playing.
  • Notice changes in nature, such as a seed growing a sprout.
  • Use words related to time, such as "sleep time."

Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Growth and Development, Ages 2 to 5 Years

Last Updated: January 30, 2018