2 Years

Discover tips, tools, and support for this age

Your child is moving and developing quickly! Around this time, they may remember the names of familiar people, follow simple instructions, and run around (and fall sometimes). Your toddler loves to learn from you, so you’ll also notice them copying you! 

Learn more about your toddler’s development, explore options for free or low-cost child care, and find free activities in NYC.

 

The Early Childhood Family Toolkit

The Early Childhood Family Toolkit is a growing collection of our favorite resources for families with young kids. Discover learn-at-home tips and activities, health support, and more—all chosen by the NYC Department of Education.

 

Explore our favorite family resources

Brain Building

Learn through life's everyday moments

As you shop, think about what your child might be seeing and discuss it with them while paying attention to sights, sounds, and smells. "Do you hear someone talking? It's the lady over there." "What do you smell? It smells yummy." "See that red thing? It's an apple we're going to buy."

See what your child is learning

Talking to your child about what they see, hear, and smell—even before they can talk much—is how they learn to make sense of the world. It is how they learn words and what they mean. By describing their "Cart Vision," you're also helping them feel important and understood.
Vroom

Milestones

Skills toddlers develop as they play, learn, speak, act, and move are called milestones. Learn about milestones to help you understand your toddler's development and act early if you have concerns.

Around 2 years old, many toddlers:

  • Social

    • Copy others, especially adults and older children
    • Get excited when they're with other children
    • Show more independence, doing more on their own
    • Sometimes do what they've been told not to on purpose
    • Mostly play alone next to other children, but begin to include them
  • Communication

    • Point to things or pictures when they're named
    • Know names of familiar people and body parts
    • Say sentences with 2 to 4 words
    • Repeat words overheard in conversation
    • Follow simple instructions, like "pick up your shoes and put them here"
  • Learning

    • Find things even with 2 or 3 layers covering them
    • Begin to sort shapes and colors
    • Complete sentences and rhymes in familiar books
    • Play simple make-believe games
    • Build towers with 4 or more blocks
    • May start to use one hand more than the other
    • Name things in a picture book, such as a cat, bird, or dog
  • Physical Development

    • Stand on tiptoe
    • Begin to run
    • Climb onto and down from furniture without help
    • Walk up and down stairs holding on
    • Throw ball overhand
    • Make or copy straight lines and circles
  • Health

    • Have 3 ounces of grains daily (such as 1 cup of breakfast cereal plus 1 cup of rice)
    • Have 1 cup of vegetables daily (such as 2 medium carrots OR 1 large tomato)
    • Have 2 cups of fruit daily (such as 1 small apple plus 1 banana)
    • Have 2 ounces of meat and beans daily (such as 2 sandwich slices of turkey OR a ½ cup of lentils)
    • Have 2 cups of milk daily
    • Have at least 30 minutes of adult-led physical activity
    • Sleep about 12–14 hours per day
    • Have 1 or 2 daytime naps
    • Stay on schedule with shots

Act early by talking to a doctor, teacher, or social worker if your child:

  • Act Early

    • Doesn't use 2-word phrases (for example, "drink milk")
    • Doesn't know what to do with common things, like a brush, spoon, or fork
    • Doesn't copy actions and words
    • Doesn't follow simple instructions
    • Doesn't walk steadily

Programs

Find the support your family needs to thrive

The Early Intervention Program (EIP)

NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH)

Help for infants and toddlers with disabilities

Early Intervention is a voluntary program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays with support for families.

EarlyLearn

NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Child care for infants and toddlers

Early child care and education services for up to 10 hours a day.

3-K for All (3-K)

NYC Department of Education (DOE)

Early education for three-year-olds

3-K for All is free, full-day, high-quality education for New York City three-year-olds.