Child Development 20-24 Months Old Skip to content
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Child Development 20-24 Months Old

Areas of Learning

Personal Social And Emotional Development

Making relationships
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I approach others to share experiences. Make dens from sheets and blankets for me, you and my friends to play in.
I show affection and concern towards the people who are special to me. Make a photo album with pictures of people who are special to me, so we can look at it together.
I am beginning to make friends. Ask me about the children I enjoy playing with, and arrange opportunities for us to meet.
Sense of self
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can say goodbye to you when someone I know is there to support me.  Explain to me what’s going to happen throughout my day, e.g. ‘’I will need to go to work now, you will stay with granny until tea time”.
I can show you my preferences and interests, e.g. what I want to play with, eat or wear. Give me plenty of choices: snacks (e.g. pear or apple), activities to play with (e.g. train track or puzzle) or clothes to wear (e.g. a red or a blue top)...
Understanding feelings
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I am becoming aware of the feelings and wishes of others. Praise me for my efforts when I listen to/when I am gentle to others.
I know that some actions (e.g. pushing someone or snatching a toy) make others feel upset or cross. Act stories with puppets about actions that might make others' feel upset.
I will give my friends a hug when they are upset. Act stories with puppets about how we can help others' feel better when they are upset.
I can understand and follow some boundaries and routines. Talk to me about the order I need to do things in, like brushing my teeth before getting ready for bed.
Sometimes, I can stop myself from doing something that I know I shouldn’t do. Praise me for my efforts, when I stop myself from doing what I shouldn't do.
Sometimes, I choose to play with toys I like, to distract me from feeling upset. When I am feeling upset, ask me if I would like to go to a cosy area and look at my favourite story.

Communication and Language

Listening and attention
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I enjoy listening to different noises or voice intonations, as you read stories to me. Use finger puppets, toy people or toy animals when you’re sharing stories or songs with me.
I can recognise certain sounds and I can tell where they are coming from. Play sound games with me, e.g. listening to environmental sounds and guessing what they are.
I join you when you sing songs and nursery rhymes to me. Encourage me to join in singing and acting songs. Use instruments and props to capture my attention.
Even if I am paying attention to something, I will stop and look at you when you say my name. If you want to talk to me and I am busy doing something, call my name and wait for me to stop the activity first, so I can give you my full attention.
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
When you ask questions like 'who's jumping', I can point to the correct picture, person or object. Point at the characters in my favourite books and ask me who is ''jumping", ''running'' or ''eating''.

I am starting to understand longer sentences, such as instructions that involve two different actions.

When we’re making something together (e.g. a sandwich) tell me what you are doing so I know what to do.

I am beginning to understand questions beginning with the words ‘who’, ‘what’ or ‘where’.

Ask me questions about the characters in my favourite book or about my favourite toys, e.g. ''who is that?", "where does he live?"

My understanding of simple concepts is developing, e.g. big/small, full/empty.

Play guessing games: ask me to find one object, out of two objects with opposite characteristics (e.g. big/small, full/empty, dark/bright).
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I am learning new words every day and I use them often to communicate my ideas. When we’re playing with things, use new words to describe what I’m doing or to tell me what they are called.
Sometimes I use gestures alongside words, to help me explain what I want to say. Practice a few words in sign language with me (such as makaton).
I ask questions such as 'what', 'where' or 'who' when we play or read stories together. Ask me questions beginning with ''who'', ''what'', ''where'', when we read stories, so I can learn how to ask questions too.
I use simple sentences when I speak, e.g. three word sentences such as 'mummy at work'. Show me how to use words to make simple sentences, for example, when I say a 2 word sentence such as "brown bear'', repeat it back to me by adding another word, such as ''the brown bear roars".
I am beginning to use word endings, e.g. 'I am doing' instead of 'I do' and plurals, such as cat/cats. When I say ''Mummy go work'' or '' two mouse'' repeat back to me "Mummy is going to work" or ''two mice''.

Physical Development

Moving and handling
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can run without falling over or bumping into objects. Play running races with me when we go to the park.
I can squat down and then get up without using my hands for support. Show me how to be a ''leaping frog'', by squatting and then rising without using my hands.
I can climb up stairs, a ladder, a slide or a climbing frame. Let me try climbing equipment with various levels of difficulty, as long as it's appropriate for my age.
I can kick a large ball. Play ball games with me.

I sometimes turn several pages in one go, as I am looking at a book.

Let me hold the book and turn the pages when we read stories together.
I am beginning to hold pencils and crayons between my thumb and two fingers. Show me how I can use thumb and two fingers to draw random lines on paper.
I can use a crayon to draw lines that go 'up and down', 'across' or 'round and round'. Show me how to draw circles ''round and round" and lines that go "up and down" and "across".
When I use stairs, I hold the hand rail, move one foot at a time and place both feet on each step. Supervise me as I walk a set of stairs up/down on my own whilst holding the rail.
Health and self-care
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can feed myself with a spoon. Let me feed myself with cutlery, such as fork and spoon.
I can drink from a cup with no lid without much spillage. Let me drink water from an open cup.
I am beginning to tell you when I need to go to the toilet or use the potty. Ask me if I need to use the potty/toilet, and praise me for when I ask to use it myself.
In challenging activities, I know how far I can go before asking for your help, e.g. when climbing. Talk to me about basic safety measures, when at home, playing in the park or crossing the road.
I am beginning to be independent with dressing and undressing. Encourage me to independently take off and put on my clothes and practice this with me every day.


What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I have a few favourite stories, nursery rhymes and songs. Let me explore lots of books from the library with friends and on my own.
I can repeat words or phrases that appear often in my favourite stories. Let me tell you stories that we’ve shared.
I can tell you the missing word or phrase in a rhyme I know well, such as 'Twinkle twinkle little...' When you read me stories that I know really well, stop at different parts and let me tell you the missing word.
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can talk about the different lines I make when I draw, e.g. 'this is red' or 'one, two lines'. Draw and paint with me and tell me what you’re doing. Also, when you’re writing lists or filling in forms let me have my own paper so that I can make my own marks.


What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can say some number names in sequence, e.g. 'one, two, three, four, five...' Sing counting rhymes with me like “Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer” or “1,2,3,4,5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive”.
I can draw lines that represent numbers and amounts, e.g. 'one line', 'two lines', or 'lots of lines'. Make skittles with me from plastic bottles. Play games where we have to keep a score of how many skittles we’ve knocked down.
I use words such as 'more' and 'a lot' to describe the quantity of objects I see. Model language of quantities, such as ’more’, ’a lot’, ‘few’ to describe how many objects we can see.
I know that when you add items to a group I'll get more, but I will not have as much if you take it away. Sing songs involving simple subtraction and addition, such as ‘’five currant buns’’ or ‘’five little docks’’, using props such as toys, real objects or finger puppets.
Shape, space and measure
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I enjoy looking at shapes and patterns in pictures or clothes. When we look at books, ask me if I can spot shapes or patterns, such as all the spotty animals, or a square/triangle in a picture of a house.
I can group objects of similar size, colour or shape. Let me sort the clothes so that I put all the ones with the same pattern or colour like red, spotty or stripy, together.
I am starting to use words such as 'big' and 'small' to describe the objects I see. Ask me to find big and small objects, such as the ’big ball’ and the ‘small ball’.
I know in what order events happen during the day, e.g. I have my nap after lunch. Tell me what’s going to happen throughout my day, e.g. ‘’now we are going to the shop, later we will go to the park’’.
I know it's time for lunch when I see that the table is set, or I know it's home time, after tea at the nursery. Create a routine of activities at home, so I can start to predict what activities come next.

Understanding The World

People and Communities
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I recognize photos of my family and friends and I can tell you who they are. Talk to me about the people in our family, for example, when we look at family videos or pictures together.
I use my toys to act out familiar experiences, such as cooking or taking care of a baby doll. Create a pretend play area in my room, with play resources such as toy kitchen, dressing up, tool sets...
I am beginning to make my own friends. Read books to me about friends and the meaning of friendship.
I can tell you things which make me similiar/different from others, e.g. what I like to wear, eat or play with. Let me taste food from different countries and cultures.
The World
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I like to play with small world toys, such as a farm, a garage, or a train track. Let me use toy cars, buses or trains to make up stories about going to the supermarket, going on holiday or going to nursery.
I can talk about what I see when I play outside, e.g. water puddles, bugs, fallen leaves. Let me explore bubbles, windmills or streamers when it’s windy.
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I enjoy pressing buttons and switches in toys, e.g. a torch or a remote control toy. Show me how I can switch on/off items such as a tablet, laptop, camera or music player.
I can make mechanical toys move, such as wind up toys or friction cars. Let me press buttons on things like torches or remote control cars to see what happens.

Expressive Arts and Design

Exploring media and materials
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I join in with singing my favourite songs and nursery rhymes. Sing and act my favourite nursery rhymes and encourage me to join in.
I explore the sounds of instruments and everyday objects by banging, shaking, tapping or blowing. Let me explore the different sounds I can make with everyday things like spoons, pots and plastic bowls.
I enjoy listening to and exploring the sounds of musical instruments. Assemble a basket with instruments ( e.g. shakers, bells, drums, rain sticks, xylophones, recorder...) and let me explore them.
I enjoy exploring what I can make with paint, pens, crayons, glue or scissors. Assemble a box with tools for me to make pictures, e.g. paper, glue, scissors and crayons.
Being imaginative
What can you expect me to do? How can you support me?
I can tell you the meaning of the different drawings I make, e.g. 'This is me, mummy and daddy'. Ask me about the meaning of my drawings.
I enjoy using my toys to pretend that I am cooking, taking care of my dolls, being a doctor, firefighter, etc. Let me dress up using grown ups’ clothes, pieces of fabric, hats and bags so that I can pretend to be somebody else.