Movement Milestones for Your 2-Year-Old

A toddler achieves the movement milestone of kicking a ball.

At 2, your child is beginning to do things on their own. They’re learning to take off loose-fitting clothes by themselves and to twist and turn objects like doorknobs! While every child develops at their own pace, our experts share what else you may see at this age and activities for your 2-year-old that will encourage their development.

Toddler holding hands with parent as they walk down the stairs together

Your 2-year-old’s got that big kid energy, which may have you wondering when toddlers learn to jump, kick or skip. The answer could be now! Here are some 2-year-old movement milestones to look for:

  • Kicking a ball. Your little one may be running and throwing. Now they could add kicking to the mix! Encourage this milestone by kicking a ball back and forth together or aiming for a goal.
  • Pulling things behind them. As your toddler becomes more confident on their feet, they’ll begin pulling items along as they walk, like a blanket, pull toys or a small wagon.
  • Jumping for joy. Or just for the fun of it! At this age, your toddler may start jumping with both feet off the ground. Practice this milestone by jumping between stepping stones or over sidewalk cracks.
  • Taking the stairs. After your little one has mastered climbing, they may be ready to walk up and down the stairs on foot. To prevent falls, stay within arm’s reach and encourage your child to hold on to the railing.
  • Sitting on their own. Pull up a chair! Around this age, your toddler will want to sit down and get up from child-size furniture all on their own.

Your toddler is building independence, but they still need your support! Celebrate their growth by clapping and cheering. This tells your toddler they’re doing a great job and encourages them to keep trying.

There are several ways you can help your child meet these 2-year-old milestones. Try these:

  • Be patient. It may be easier and faster to do something yourself, but allowing your child to work through the process of doing things on their own helps build their independence and confidence. Keep in mind your child might reach some milestones at the beginning of the year while others might come later.
  • Stay positive. Nobody’s perfect, especially when they’re trying something new. As your child develops, it might take time for them to master new skills. That’s normal and OK! Avoid shaming or punishing your child when they stumble. To raise a child who is active for life, keep movement fun and positive!
  • Introduce new activities. Encourage the development of new skills by incorporating them into your toddler’s day. When you’re prepping meals, ask your 2-year-old to tear lettuce or green beans. If you’re putting away clothes, invite them to open and close the drawers. When cleaning the house, encourage them to help with a little broom and dustpan.
  • Support all emotions. Your child may show lots of different emotions as they reach new milestones. Feelings like frustration, discomfort and excitement are all normal. Your role as the caregiver is to encourage them through all their ups and downs. Remember, you can never spoil a child by showing love and responding to their needs.

A parent practices proper home safety by securing a dresser to the wall with an anchor.

Your 2-year-old’s curiosity is growing. As they become more independent, they’ll start to discover more things on their own. Keep your child safe by following these tips:

  • Keep furniture safe and secure. Prevent tipping of dressers, bookcases and other furniture by anchoring them to the wall.
  • Keep poisonous chemicals out of reach. Your toddler is learning to open and close drawers and cabinets. Child-proof doors to cabinets that contain hazardous materials and make sure items in easy-to-access cabinets are kid safe.
  • Practice water safety. Drowning can happen in as little as 30 seconds. When playing near water, keep kids within arm’s reach.
  • Make sure everyone wears a helmet. Your child should wear a helmet anytime they play on something with wheels. Model best behavior by wearing one yourself anytime you’re on a bike, skateboard or scooter!
  • Follow gun safety rules for families. Your toddler is learning by opening things and exploring them. Practice safe gun storage to keep your child safe. Believe it or not, kids as young as 2 are strong enough to pull a trigger.
  • Check out more home safety tips for parents and caregivers.

Ready to learn about what comes next? Read our article on milestones for 3-year-olds.

Note: If you’re concerned about your child meeting their milestones, talk with their pediatrician.