By age 3, your child

     •understands "who", "what", "where" and "why" questions
    • creates long sentences, using 5 to 8 words
    • talks about past events - trip to grandparents' house, day at childcare
    •tells simple stories
    •shows affection for favourite playmates
    • engages in multi-step pretend play - cooking a meal, repairing a car
    • is understood by most people outside of the family, most of the time
    • is aware of the function of print - in menus, lists, signs

3-year-olds like it when you:

   •Give them different materials to encourage drawing and scribbling, including chalk, pencils, crayons, markers, finger paints.
   • Use descriptive words such as colours and opposites (hot/cold, big/little, fast/slow) as well as action words (flying, splashing, running) when you are talking with them.
    • Give them extra time to share their ideas.
    • Give them choices - about what foods to eat, toys to play with, clothes to wear.
    • Model correct sounds and grammar for them - child says "he wunned" and you say "yes, he ran".
    • Read books that are predictable and repetitive - pause to give the child a chance to fill in the words and phrases.
    •Play and pretend with them! They may like acting out scenes from their favourite videos, pretending to eat in a restaurant or to be a teacher or firefighter

From:  Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services