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Developmentally Delayed Pre-K

Developmental Skills and Activities 3 to 4 Years

Development during the preschool years encompasses a broad range of normal. The following checklist of skills depicts what we expect most children to develop during a specific range. Remember that children develop at different rates and this is only a guide to help you determine what skills are appropriate to work on with your child. 

Personal and Social Skills

Developmental Skills
  • Imitates adults and playmates
  • Spontaneously shows affection for familiar playmates
  • Understands concept of "mine" and "his/hers"
  • Expresses affection openly
  • Expresses a wide range of emotions
  • By 3, separates easily from parents
  • Objects to major changes in routine
Supporting Activities
  • Provide a safe, peaceful, supervised environment.
  • Set up cooperative play situations (kicking a ball back and forth; working with another child to "cook" and serve an imaginary meal to dolls or adults).
  • Help child solve social problems ("Tell him you don't like....).
  • Describe desired behavior and have consistent expectations for behavior. ("Please walk next to me when we are in the store.")
  • Respond joyfully to child's jokes.
  • Give child enough time to dress, toilet, and eat independently.

Language and Understanding Skills

Developmental Skills
  • Understands consequences of an event
  • Begins to understand time concepts
  • Recognizes and matches colors
  • Begins to classify and group objects (by size, shape, color)
  • Talks in short sentences and joins some sentences together
  • Sings, learns finger plays
  • Makes mechanical toys work
  • Matches an object in her hand or room to a picture in a book
  • Plays make-believe with dolls, animals, and people
  • Sorts objects by shape and color
  • Completes puzzles with three or four pieces
  • Understands concept of "two"
  • Follows a two- or three-part command
  • Recognizes and identifies almost all common objects and pictures
  • Understands most sentences
  • Understands placement in space ("on," "in," "under")
  • Can say name, age, and sex
  • Uses pronouns (I, you, me, we, they) and some plurals (cars, dogs, cats)
  • Strangers can understand most of her words
Supporting Activities
  • Set limits on behavior and explain why they are necessary. (Running into the street is not safe.")
  • Use appropriate words to describe past or future events (today, tomorrow, before, after, next).
  • During story-time ask child simple questions about the story.
  • Encourage child to sort and match objects during routine tasks. ("Which things do we need to take a bath?" "Where do the forks go?" "What other things could you wear on your feet?")
  • Teach songs and finger plays.
  • Talk about sequence of events, tell what comes next.
  • Provide access to a computer with appropriate children's software. Use it together.

Small Muscle Skills

Developmental Skills
  • Begins to draw people and animals, including head and some other body parts
  • Manipulates nontoxic modeling clay (making snakes and balls)
  • Stacks small blocks and names structure
  • Cuts with scissors
  • Completes simple puzzle (6 to 8 pieces)
  • Makes up-and-down, side-to-side, and circular lines with pencil or crayon
  • Turns book pages one at a time
  • Screws and unscrews jar lids, nuts, and bolts
  • Turns rotating handles
Supporting Activities
  • Provide table toys (puzzles, beads, blocks).
  • Provide large sheets of blank, unlined paper.
  • Allow child to paint driveway with water colors or plain water.
  • Offer a variety of writing utensils (Paint brushes, markers, colored pencils, crayons).
  • Allow child to use materials independently-do not push child to "make" something.
  • Provide material for child to manipulate (nontoxic modeling clay, finger paint, shaving cream, sand).

Large Muscle Skills

Developmental Skills 
  • Walks on a line
  • Balances on one foot for several seconds
  • Begins to hop on one foot
  • Throws a ball a few feet with one hand
  • Catches a bounced ball with two hands
  • Rides a tricycle independently
  • Uses a slide independently
  • Climbs well
  • Kicks ball
  • Bends over easily without falling
Supporting Activities
  • Make obstacle course for child to maneuver through (over chairs, under table).
  • Play catch with a soft ball, increasing the distance gradually.
  • Play catch with balls and beanbags of various sizes.
  • Create a tricycle path with props such as stop signs and drive-through windows.
  • Play Follow the Leader, including challenging movements
  • Play music for dancing.

*Welcome to the World: An Overview of Your Growing Child

Florida Department of Education (FLDOE)

* Center for Disease Control and Prevention- Learn the Signs. Act Early