What skills should a 2-year-old child be able to do?

Charles I. Schwartz, MD

A 2-year-old should play alongside others more than with them and act shy around strangers. Many children will like to imitate their parents. Tantrums are common, and 2-year-olds can get easily frustrated. They will insist on trying to do several tasks without help. Many 2-year-olds are very possessive and offer toys to other children but then want them back. They can be extremely demanding and persistent and sometimes be destructive to objects around them when frustrated and angry.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Here are the skills, traits, or habits a child will typically have developed by age two:

Social and Emotional:

  • Imitates others to please them
  • Excited about being with other children
  • Wants to be more independent
  • Shows defiance (may tell doll or imaginary friend "no")


  • Finds hidden objects
  • Sorts by shapes and colors
  • Plays make-believe games


  • Recognizes names of people and objects
  • Use phrases and two-word sentences
  • Follows instructions of several steps
  • Repeats words
  • Has vocabulary of fifty or more words

Gross Motor:

  • Jumps in place
  • Carries toys while walking
  • Begins to run
  • Stands on tiptoes
  • Kicks a ball
  • Climbs up and down from furniture

Fine Motor:

  • Builds tower of blocks with a few blocks
  • Shows preference for one hand or another but handedness not completely established
  • Pours out contents of container


YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

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YOU: Raising Your Child: The Owner's Manual from First Breath to First Grade

There’s little doubt that parenting can be one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences you’ll ever have. But it can be plenty tough, too: Around the clock, you’re working to keep your...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.