Bub’s development from 1 to 2 years old

Bub is on the move and discovering the world through play. Being able to freely and safely explore will boost bub’s growth in all areas.

Bub may return lots to parents/carers for comfort when trying out new things. Bub can also copy what they see and may enjoy acting out what others do.

Bub is also learning to name lots of things, but may feel frustrated if they can’t say as much as they want to.

Yarning with bub and repeating what they say will help bub learn more words and feel understood.

Language (talking and listening)

Bub could:

  • say their first name, ‘me’, ‘you’ and ‘I’
  • start to put 1 to 2 words together
  • copy another bub’s actions
  • enjoy rhymes and songs
  • recognise and point to named objects and body parts.

To support their development, we can:

  • praise bub
  • give simple instructions
  • talk to bub about what is going on
  • show bub how to take turns
  • name what bub is pointing to – help them use more words along with gestures
  • sing songs and rhymes
  • use clear and simple language to describe what bub is trying to do.

Learn more ways you can support their language development at this age.


Social-emotional (behaviour and emotions)

Bub could:

  • play next to other bubs and copy what they do
  • communicate across a room
  • be curious and energetic, and may need someone older around to feel confident
  • start to know the difference between ‘me’ and ‘not me’
  • shake head and say ‘no’ a lot
  • start to have own thoughts and feelings
  • fret when away from parents/carers
  • notice and respond when others are upset
  • start to know the effect of their own behaviour on others
  • start having temper tantrums.

We can:

  • make eye contact and gestures from across the room
  • comfort bub when upset
  • respond when bub tries to communicate
  • get down on bub’s level to play.

Learn more ways you can support their social-emotional development at this age.


Cognitive (thinking and making connections)

Bub could:

  • play, stop and play again
  • use trial and error to solve problems
  • drop things in containers and dump them out to explore space
  • point to pictures in books
  • copy adult actions
  • group objects together.

We can:

  • help bub go back to their play if they stop
  • praise bub for solving problems
  • give bub time to finish a task on their own
  • encourage bub to explore space, for example asking where objects are
  • use simple words to describe pictures
  • point to, touch and talk about toys and objects to focus bub’s attention
  • give bub different objects to sort and match.

Learn more ways you can support their cognitive development at this age.


Physical (growth and health)

Bub could:

  • walk, climb and run
  • kneel and squat
  • try to kick a ball
  • climb on furniture
  • run, jump on the spot or off a step
  • stack objects
  • hold 2 or 3 things in one hand
  • take things apart and put them back together
  • grasp and let go of objects better
  • use fist to hold and scribble with a pencil/crayon/stick
  • make sounds by shaking and banging
  • drink from a cup.

We can:

  • help bub practise using hands and fingers, for example by holding sticks, blocks, crayons, cups, balls
  • pass bub objects of different weight, size and shape to improve coordination
  • help bub practise exploring space, for example by putting objects inside of containers.

Learn more ways you can support their physical development at this age.

Children reach milestones at different times. If you are ever worried about their development you can visit an Early Years Place or health service to safely talk about your concerns.

Published — 01 April 2019 Last updated — 01 April 2019

Want personalised tips and activities?

Complete these short questions to get personalised tips and activities to see how simple and easy it can be.

Get started
01 / 05

What is your relationship with the child?


What best describes your location?


If you had a spare moment, what would you most likely do with the child?


And finally…

Do you speak another language at home apart from English?
Are you of Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander descent?
Does the child need additional support with their development or learning?
Now we know a little more about the content that might interest you we’ve compiled it into a handy page for you.