DEVELOPMENTAL GROWTH STAGES

Described below is what MOST children are able to do at particular stages from birth to 5 years old. However, it is important to remember that babies and children are individuals and will therefore grow and develop at their own speed. Our aim at The Sensory Class is to encourage parents to support their child’s development in a fun and holistic way; praising their successes but not putting any pressure on a child to learn a new skill that they are just not ready to achieve developmentally. Please try to give your children the time, space and encouragement they need to grow in their skills and confidence at the rate that suits them. 
There are games and activities suggested for each developmental stage for The Sensory Class members. To access these you can log in or sign up here.

We have created a development record document that you can download and use to track the below of your child. 

NEWBORN

Sensory development:
  • Will hear and recognise their parents’ or main carer’s voice

  • Can turn their head towards the light

  • Love staring at bright and shiny objects

  • Enjoys looking at high-contrast patterns and shapes

  • Will startle at sudden noise

 

Gross motor skills:
  • Will lie on their backs with their head turned to one side

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Have their hands tightly closed (palmar/grasp reflex)

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Make eye contact and cry to indicate a need

  • Can copy adults making simple movements eg sticking out their tongue or opening their mouth wide

1 MONTH

Sensory development:
  • Can focus their eyes best on objects that are about 20-25cm away from them

  • Track the movement of a brightly coloured or shiny object moved slowly in front of their eyes

  • Turn their head towards a source of sound

 

Gross motor skills:
  • Can lift their head slightly from a lying down position

  • Will make jerky, uncontrolled movements with their arms and legs

  • May start to put their fists towards their mouths

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Grasp an adult’s finger

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Make noises other than crying such as cooing

  • Can cry in different ways depending on their need

  • Will smile at someone they recognise

3 MONTHS

Sensory development:
  • Will use both eyes to focus on the same point, although they may look cross-eyed while doing this

  • Will turn their head to the sound of a parent’s or main carer’s voice

  • Will often respond to their name being called

 

Gross motor skills:
  • Will be beginning to move their legs and arms less jerkily

  • May be able to lift head and shoulders up from the floor during tummy time

  • Can ‘stand’ when help up

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Will hold onto a toy when it’s placed into their hand

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Can hold a ‘conversation’ by taking it in turns to make sounds with an adult

  • Are getting very interested in their surroundings

  • Are getting more interested in toys and playthings

6 MONTHS

Sensory development:
  • Are fascinated by everything they can see and will watch an adult or another child across the room

  • Can source where a sound is coming from and turn towards it

  • Can distinguish different colours especially bright, bold colours and may show a preference for a favourite colour

 

Gross motor skills:
  • May be able to sit up straight unaided

  • Can co-ordinate their movements to music such as clap hands or shake a maraca

  • Will roll from their back to their front

  • Will hold up their arms to indicate they want to be picked up

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Will reach and grab a small toy

  • Will be able to pass the toy from one hand to the other

  • Will explore items by putting them into their mouth

  • Will use their index finger to prod at small objects

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Are getting very vocal and will often chatter away to themselves using syllables such as ga-ga

  • Are beginning to understand simple words such as mumma, dadda, up, down, bye-bye

  • Understand what some objects to ie shake a rattle to make the sound

  • Will empathise with other people’s feelings eg laugh if someone else is laughing

9-10 MONTHS

Sensory development:
  • Will happily try new tastes but may show a preference for sweet rather than sour

  • Will avoid foods that smell bad

  • Loves songs and action games

  • Will start to enjoy playing alone for longer periods

  • Often need a comfort object such as a favourite toy

Gross motor skills:
  • Are likely to pull themselves up to a standing position

  • Will move around a room by crawling, rolling or wriggling

  • Will try to swivel her body around

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Can use finger and thumb in a pincer grasp

  • Can move arms up and down together

  • Often drops toys deliberately

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Will watch a toy being hidden and then try to find it, from under a scarf for example

  • Still follow simple instructions eg kiss teddy

  • Understand and obey the command “no”

12 MONTHS

Sensory development:
  • Can see almost as well as an adult

  • May be beginning to distinguish between 2D and 3D objects

  • Pat, stroke and turn items in their hands

  • Can distinguish different instruments playing the same note

 

Gross motor skills:
  • May be taking their first independent steps

  • Will cruise around a room using furniture to balance

  • Can twist around to reach something behind them

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Can hold a crayon in their hand

  • Can turn pages in a book

  • Will use both hands but may start showing a preference for one hand over the other

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Can clap their hands or wave bye-bye when instructed to

  • Can say a few words

  • Start to use items correctly ie hairbrush for brushing hair, cup for dinking

18 MONTHS

Sensory Development:
  • Will recognise themselves in the mirror

  • Are more likely to look and touch an object to explore it rather than putting it in their mouth

 

Gross motor skills:
  • Can walk unaided well

  • Can climb up onto a chair and turn around to sit down on it

  • Are showing a preference for using either their left or right hand

  • Can bend down and pick items up from the floor

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Will point to objects

  • May be able to build a tower of 3 or more blocks

  • Can feed themselves using a spoon

  • Can scribble using a pencil/crayon

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Can point to different body parts when asked

  • Will be using more words

  • Tries to sing along to nursery rhymes and join in with activity songs

  • Start to respond to simple questions ie where is the book?

  • Want to be more independent ie dressing themselves

2 YEARS

Sensory development:
  • Will recognise people they know well in photos and may start recognising themselves in photos

 

Gross motor skills:
  • Can throw a ball

  • Can push and pull toys on wheels

  • Can run around whilst avoiding obstacles

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Can build a tower of 6 or more blocks

  • Often enjoys books and will want to turn the pages themselves

  • Can use their preferred hand to draw lines or maybe circles

 

Cognitive and language skills:
  • Loves joining in with rhymes, action songs

  • Wants to name objects

  • Can now speak over 200 words

  • Can follow simple instructions

3 YEARS

Gross motor skills:
  • Can catch a ball in outstretched arms

  • Can kick a ball

  • Can jump off a low step and land on both feet

  • Can walk backwards and sideways

  • Can stand on one foot

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Can build a tower of 9 or 10 blocks

  • Can paint using a large brush

  • Can cut paper with scissors

  • Can thread large beads onto string

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Can sort objects into simple categories ie red or round

  • Join in with and remember nursery rhymes and action songs

  • Love to make music

  • Can match primary colours

  • Enjoy helping adults including tidying up

  • Will share toys

  • Will be beginning to learn how to take turns when doing something

4 YEARS

Sensory development:
  • Can name and match primary colours

  • Have a longer attention span for reading stories etc

 

Gross motor skills:
  • May be able to walk along a line

  • Can bounce a ball

  • Likes to climb using trees or playground equipment

  • Can build a tower using 10 or more blocks

  • Can hold a pen or pencil properly

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Understand what the numbers 1, 2 and 3 mean

  • Can sort objects into groups

  • Can dress and undress themselves

  • Ask lots of questions and often understand the answers

5 YEARS

Gross motor skills:
  • Can skip

  • Have good balance

  • Have increased hand to eye co-ordination

  • Like to move and dance to music

  • Can touch their toes by bending from the waist

 

Fine motor skills:
  • Can draw a person including arms, legs, nose, eyes and mouth

  • Can do jigsaw puzzles

 

Cognitive and language development:
  • Can give say their full name and the date of their birthday

  • Are speaking fluently and are often grammatically correct

  • Enjoys being read stories

  • Loves role play and acting things out

  • Participates well in team games and activities

References:

Watch My Baby Grow - DK

Child Development, An Illustrated Guide – Heinemann

Baby’s First Skills – DK

From Birth to 5 Years - Routledge

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