16 answers

What Is Expected Academically from a 2.5 Year Old Child?

My son is 2.5 y/o he just started to make 3 word sentences, not because he is my son, but he is bright, he was able to recognize all leters since he was 2, he counts and recognize number sto 10.

my questions is, what should a 2.5 year old child know at this age? are there any websites or books that would give me ideas on what to teach him at this age. he loves to learn and gets excited when it comes to pens and paper, and i would like to seize this opportunity and teach him...

any input would be highly appreciated

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So What Happened?™

I can never thank you enough, all replies are great advices. After reading your replies, i felt bad for my son, since i didn't give more details to what he knows.
he knows most colors (red, blue, yellow, orange, brown, black) he knows 3 shapes (square, circle, triangle) he knows most of the animals name and their sounds, he even differenciate between different birds (flamingo, pinguins, owl). I'm arabic so I try to teach him the word in both english and arabic, he also counts to 10 in arabic. and all the way in the car he names things on the street... honestly baby einstein dvd's helped a lot, you are absolutely right, i shouldn';t be worried about following a specific way to teach him at this stage, i should just try teaching him whenever I can. i am going to look into the websites you guys recommended, and i need to learn more about the monitissouri program.. again, I have lived the first 20 years of my life in Jordan, and anything that pertains to children is new to me here in the states.. thanks again for your input

More Answers

Read, read, read. :) And expose him to lots of different topics. When I was gorwing up my parents made sure my brother and I got exposure to a little bit of everything. We were always at museums and always exlporing or learning something. Not in a dry textbook way but always in a fun "lets try something new" way. We did science experiments at home, read folk tales from other cultures, and when we did watch TV it was PBS and my parents watched Nature and Nova. And that joy of learning and openness has carried over into our academic and then adult life.

1 mom found this helpful

At 2.5 kids are really at all different levels "academically." My son also learned his letters and numbers young (he could point to all his letters by name before he even said "mama.") But was slow to actually start speaking (only 10 words at 2).
My point is its hard to measure against what is "normal" when normal is all over the place. I think the important thing is just to keep going with them, keep adding new things, work on not just the basics of reading and math but motor skills, social skills, reasoning, etc.
I've read a lot of books about child (especially early ) child development and learning.
But I highly, highly recommend reading Einstein Never Used Flashcards.
This books is very well written and explains so much about how preschoolers learn and how to teach them. It's very up-to-date and it really is my basis on how I'm approaching my kids early education.
Another great book is The Everything Toddler Activities Book: Games And Projects That Entertain And Educate
It has many great ideas for projects/games and learning and will help you keep things fresh and exciting.
Isn't this age grand?!

1 mom found this helpful

I found this website, which outlines typical curriculums for each level of study. http://www.worldbook.com/wb/Students?curriculum

Hope it's what you're looking for!

1 mom found this helpful

Here is a FANTASTIC resource from PBS Parents that shows "widely-held expectations" for the development of children from ages 1-8:

In the Child Development Tracker, select an age and it will take you to a page with an overview of developmental milestones for that age. Then, look in the left hand column, and it will break down in great detail how kids your child's age typically develop in different subject areas like math, language, literacy, science, etc.

It was developed by child development experts who have done a lot of research. I found it very helpful! Hope you do too.

1 mom found this helpful

Einstien, probably misspelled, did not talk till he was three and he was a math genius. Do not worry about the specific times that your child should do something unless he shows many signs of being behind. He is likely just going at his own pace and being the wonderful and unique little man that he is. Enjoy his progress which will be faster in some things and slower in others than the "norm." We are not designed to be clones, but individuals.

I would ask your pediatrician. Every time I take my children to the doctor, she prints out a detailed list of exactly what is expected from my children's specific ages. The pediatrician might also be able to tell you if his speech is up to level; it seems like he should be making longer sentences by now-my daughter did 7 word sentences a little before she turned 2, but every child is different, and the doctor should know.

Good progress with numbers and letters; maybe try shapes and colors next. I would try teaching some simple songs like twinkle twinkle, and tell him the name of everything you see and he should be able to repeat it (my daughter and I even sit down with newspaper flyers and name pictures in the grocery ads.) My daughter (2 and 2 months) is also very into naming family members (even extended family). You can teach him behavioral things too like cleaning up toys and helping around the house, even helping with the baby.

That's wonderful that he's off to a great start and you're wanting to encourage that behavior. I talk to my kids. All the time. I tell them everything (almost). Appropriate things, of course. If you are doing something in the kitchen, tell him what you're using, what the goal is, how to measure things. Narrate his little life around him.
For fine motor skills, get a set of locks that open with keys; take the keys and put them on a little ring and let him figure out how to open each one.
The stacking/nesting toys are great for his age. Colors and shapes are everywhere.
Look up montessouri (I think that's how you spell it) methods of teaching and you will get loads of great ideas.
A lady below gave advice on getting them out and making everyday adventures into learning experiences. Truth is, learning is all around us all the time. We just have to know when to take the opportunity. He will learn more and easier when he is well rested and not hungry.
Don't make every single thing he does about learning though. It will feel too pushy and he'll rebel. Make time to be creative and just play. Even when they're just playing, they're learning something.

All children are different so I will tell you what my child did at 2.5, she is three now. She learned her alphabet at 18 months, she could count to 20 by age 2, she talks in complete sentences and conversates with adults. She knows how to write letters (A,F,E,N,L almost all of the ones with straight lines) and she also can "read" sight words or almost any word she has memorized. I think teaching your child at home is the best way to teach them, make learning a part of everything. My daughter loves to get change to put in her piggy bank and I made it a learning opportunity, she now knows her different types of coins. Refridgerator magnets is how she learned her alphabet, and counting can be done almost anytime anywhere. The trick with my daughter is to make it fun, they don't have the patience to sit down and learn something the way school aged children do, it has to be fun and engaging! She is my first and only child but what I am doing seems to be working.

I didn't see it mentioned here and I like it so I will recommend babycenter.com. When you sign up, you put in the birthdates of your children and they send you customized emails based on your kids ages weekly.

My girls LOVE the chalkboard. They color, draw and write on it and if they get chalk on their hands or the carpet, no big deal since it washes or vaccums easy.

I don't know what is normal for a 2 1/2 yr old, I can jsut tell you what my daughter knows and she is 2 1/2. She knows all of her colors, can count to 15, recog. letters, is starting to learn the days of the week, is very creative...i.e. she has found numerous ways to get out of her crib tent no matter what we do to lock it.She was speaking in 3 word sentences before she was 2 yrs old. She currently speaks like you or I, of course she makes grammar errors but that is normal. All children advance at different ages. Research has proven that how quickly a child develops before the age 5 doesn't determine how smart they are. The slowest child can be the brain when he or she is in 3 rd or 4th grade. I never worry about where my daugther is or isn't/ I know she has always been more advanced in everything she does and has always talked more then most children her age but it doesn't matter. My second who is only 14 mths isn't as advanced verbally but I don't worry about it. I would continue to teach him with fun techiniques and enjoy this age without worrying about how he is advancing. If you put too much pressure on him you can create a child that hates to learn. My daughter is in a montessori school for 3 days a week and I think she has really learned alot from that. Also, I have a CD that we play in the car that has a song that does the days of the week, that is how she is learning the days of the week. Try songs and games anything fun and creative. Good luck


If he wants to learn teach him. If he asked to do math then teach it. Nothing really more to say on it. I have a daughter who was the same way. I also have friends with childrent he same way. These type of children thrive on knowledge. My own child wanted to learn ahead of the curve and there is nothing wrong with it. There are many pre-k work books out there on the market to help you reach the goals you want for your child. My motto is don't hold back but don't push. I wait till my children ask to learn something new. THen we have a blast with it. Hope this helps.

Hi, I have home educated 2 of mine k to 12th grade.
At homeschool curriculum fairs I was able to find there was a vast resource available for early learning. My younger child benefited from that more than my first since I did not realize how well they could learn at an early age.

Sorting and matching does so much just by expanding their thinking skills. Fine motor skills are improved with card lacing and creative arts. Shape puzzles, naming objects, picture books and stories teach attentiveness and desire for reading.
Remember every child is different, yours may excel at certain areas indulge their interests and keep the excitement.
Look for toys that teach.

Hey! I think that it differs from child to child. Some children pick up on words/numbers faster than colors. It really depends on each individual. I know with my son who isn't even two yet can count to 10 and is speaking in short sentences (2-3 words). But he's not so great at colors. He's been talking since he was about 7 months old and some babies are like that. As long as they are interested in learning fill that brain up. They are like a sponge at this age, they learn everything so quickly. So if your little one is interested in certain things then why not go ahead and teach him all you can.

Sounds like you son is quick to pick up academics as was mine. He is already ahead of most 2 year olds. I am a former Kindergarten teacher and I'd say you should keep building on what he already knows irrelavent to what other children his age can or can not do. Since he already knows his letters, make sure he can recognize them out of order, then work the letter sounds of each one. Also, it is a good age to teach him nursery rhymes (even if he can't say them, he'll recognize them if you tell him/read them to him often) and you could also teach him simple patterns (red, blue, red, blue, or fork, spoon, fork, spoon.) and counting objects by pointing to a group of items and making sure he has one to one correspondence while saying each number. The more he is offered, the more he will learn, like a sponge!

Hi N.,
Kids this age are sponges so teach him whatever you want to that he's interested in... even if you think he's not getting it, chances are he's taking it all in and will repeat it sometime later.

My little girl is 25 months and knows numbers to 20 in English and 10 in Spanish, all her animals, colors, shapes, letters, and speaks in full sentences... the best thing you can do for them is read, read, read to them every day as much as you can! That way, they hear lots of language and pick up proper sentence structure, etc. as well as lots of new vocabulary words.

I don't know that "academics" are necessary for a child this age, just expose him to everything and let him soak it all in... he's still very young, after all, and it should be about fun, exploration and learning by doing and hearing, not a strict curriculum.

Also, I talk to my daughter constantly and tell her what I'm doing and why. She's learning lots of everything things as a result... and mimicks me cooking, cleaning, etc. It's adorable! :)

Have fun!

sounds like he is off to a great start. we teach our daughter music, instruments and the general idea how to play them. she loves it. he should also like drawing and painting.

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