Ages and Stages

Designed for parents and caregivers, these publications address the physical, mental, and social, and emotional development of children ages 0 months through 11-years-old. Tips for interacting with children as they grow and lists of age-appropriate toys and books are also included. These publications are from Iowa State University, Extension and Outreach.

0-12 months – Ages and Stages

Babies learn and grow so quickly. By the end of their first year, most will have almost tripled in size. They will be crawling and maybe even taking a timid first step!  

12-18 months – Ages and Stages

A baby’s second year is a delightful time. The baby is developing a personality and rewards your time together with laughter, funny faces, and affectionate hugs. First steps and first words are exciting family events.

18-24 months – Ages and Stages

Welcome to the world of toddlerhood! This stage brings a greater sense of independence as children learn to walk, run, and climb with greater skill and they love to imitate everything you do.

2-Year-Olds — Ages and Stages

Two-year-olds like to be independent! Favorite words are “Mine!” and “No.” and “I do it!” Emotions may take on a roller coaster-like quality, changing from excitement to anger to laughter within a few moments. 

3-Year-Olds — Ages and Stages

The 3-year-old is full of wonder, and spends a lot of time observing and imitating others. They love to spend time with parents and enjoy helping out with simple household tasks.

4-Year-Olds — Ages and Stages

Energetic and imaginative best describes 4-year-olds. They are able to learn new words quickly, and use them in chatting and telling jokes and wild stories.

5-Year-Olds — Ages and Stages

The 5-year-old is cheerful, energetic, and enthusiastic. Fives enjoy planning and discussing who will do what. A “best friend” is very important, but hard to keep as social skills are not well developed yet.

6-8 Years — Ages and Stages

Young school-agers are ready for a steady pace of growing and learning, one in which real life tasks and activities overtake pretend and fantasy. Friendships are an important testing ground for learning new social skills. Equipped with a longer attention span, they are ready to delve into projects, solve problems, and resolve arguments!

9-11 Years — Ages and Stages

Friendships and accomplishments are important to older children. Secret codes, made-up languages, and passwords are used to strengthen the bonds of friendship. Be prepared to use all your “patience” skills as children this age may tend to think that they do not need adult care or supervision.


The Iowa State University Extension Office also has a good series on Essentials Child Care that include the following topics:

  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Transportation of Children
  • Medication in Child Care
  • Managing Food Allergies
  • Infant Safe Sleep
  • and more…

Visit the Iowa State University Extension Online Store to find these and other publications.