How Children Explore Age-by-Age

Children are naturally curious about the world, and their powers of observation grow right along with them.




Your child will get to know the world around her with all of her senses. Take a look at an age-by-age look at how your child's understanding of the world will grow from infancy onward — but keep in mind that every child will develop at a slightly different pace. 

From birth to 2 years, your child may:

  • use all her senses to learn about the world
  • recognize routines and patterns
  • experiment with cause and effect (for example, dropping a bottle)

From 2 to 3 years, your child may:

  • rely increasingly on previous experiences and language to understand the world around him
  • categorize information, depending on experience or language skills (think that “all large four-legged creatures are cows,” for example)

From 3 to 4 years, your child may:

  • grasp cause and effect in a strong, but inaccurate way
  • show competence in her own physical space — by balancing, managing stairs, throwing a ball
  • observe objects and events carefully

From 4 to 5 years, your child may:

  • continue to use all the senses, along with his growing language ability and previous experience
  • use her imagination to transform phenomena: “I’m the mommy, you’re the dog”; in playing “dog,” the child shows knowledge of dogs

From 5 to 6 years, your child may:

  • show lots of knowledge about interesting subjects, such as dinosaurs, cars, or space
  • wonder whether things are “true”
  • acquire information from listening, books, television

From 6 to 7 years, your child may:

  • argue with you and friends about cause and effect, and make judgments about things being true or made-up
  • show more interest and openness in the natural phenomena surrounding him, such as weather, water, or soil
  • demonstrate a large vocabulary for describing the natural world

Naturally, these are just guidelines. Every child develops at his own pace. To spark your child’s interest in nature, trying exploring the great outdoors together by taking hikes or visiting parks or nature reserves.

Logic and Reasoning
Stages & Milestones
Motor Skills
Age 1
Age 7
Age 6
Age 5
Age 4
Age 3
Age 2
Motor Skills
Five Senses
Creativity and Imagination
Child Development and Behavior