Visual Skills Development for Toddlers 36 – 48 Months

CME WebsitesChild Development, Pre-Schoolers 36 - 60 Months

By 3 years of age the eye is almost grown to its adult size. A 3 year old is using his or her vision to coordinate fine motor activities and make judgments about them.  These visual motor skills include coloring a simple picture, copying simple marks or shapes, and tracing simple shapes and objects.

He or she should also be demonstrating the ability to visually sequence by following a given pattern.  Visual memory skills are continuing to be refined and by now your child should be able to identify a missing object, identify how objects are similar and different, and describe familiar objects or environments.  The ability to locate a specific object in a cluttered environment or against a similar background shows growth in figure-ground perception.

Other Milestones Include:

  • Closes eyes on request
  • Accurately inserts string into 1/2″ bead
  • Points to missing facial features in pictures
  • Completes incomplete drawing of circle
  • Recalls missing object among six
  • Identifies a picture that was briefly seen from four or more pictures
  • Sorts by size


  • Play simple memory games
  • Write, draw and finger paint
  • Place five small objects in front of your child.  Ask him or her to look away and remove one object, replacing it with another.  Can your child tell you which object was removed?
  • Playgrounds provide great opportunities for eye-hand-body coordination
  • Schedule an eye exam.  Your child is beginning to use his or her eyes for near work; therefore it is critical that his or her eyes are assessed for any possible refractive errors (near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/or astigmatism) and muscle imbalances.  (If you child needs glasses check out the section on Getting Your Child to Wear Glasses for some helpful strategies)