Speech and Language Milestones for a 2-year-old

Enrichment Therapies

June 12, 2023

child playing with toys

By: Meghan Randig, M.A., CCC-SLP

Communication is multifaceted and looks a little bit different for every child. However, there are some general language abilities and milestones we can expect to see by a certain age. The following is an outline of language skills that most two-year-olds display.

Expressive Skills

Expressive language abilities relate to what your child produces (verbal speech, gestures, etc.). Signs that your child is developing expressive skills include:

  • the child learning and using new words regularly 
  • referring to self by name
  • verbalizing to request objects/wants/needs (e.g., the child says “ball” when they want the ball)
  • using 2-word phrases (e.g., “more juice” or “ball up”)
  • using action words, like “running” or “jump”
  • responding to greetings consistently
  • answering simple questions
  • using vowels and has the following sounds: /t, b, m, p/
  • adults can understand about 50-75% of what your child says
  • naming one color

Receptive Skills

Receptive language abilities are related to what your child understands. Look for the following examples when assessing your child’s progress:

  • follows 2-step commands independently (e.g., put the ball in the box, then give me the keys)
  • identifies familiar objects 
  • understands bigger/smaller size concepts
  • understands verbs (e.g., eat, drink, sleep)
  • answers yes/no questions correctly
  • identifies basic body parts

Play Skills

Play comprises expressive and receptive language, as well as the social-emotional component of language. Children who are learning play skills exhibit the following behaviors:

  • participates in a play routine/scheme for at least one minute
  • pretends to pour from a container
  • stacks and assembles toys
  • pretends to talk on the telephone
  • demonstrates parallel play with other children 
  • uses a doll as a playmate

Individualized Support at ETLC

It is important to remember that every child develops at their own rate. If your two-year-old has not mastered everything on this list, do not worry. If you do have concerns with your child’s language development, contact us today to schedule a consultation, screening, or evaluation with a speech-language pathologist and get your questions answered.


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Originally written by Suzanne Schuchert, M.S., CCC-SLP 2021. Updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness by Ashley Conrad, M.A., CCC-SLP in 2023....



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