A Vocabulary Word List for 2-Year-Olds

Not sure if your 24-month-old's language development is on the right track? Check out this list of the most common words 2-year-olds say.

By age 2, most kids are talking. In fact, many toddlers are chatting up a storm from the moment they wake until bedtime. Gabbing, squealing, singing, questioning, trying out new words, and even screaming are all normal 2-year-old behaviors. However, language develops at a different pace for each child. It's also completely normal for some toddlers to simply talk more than others. Some 2-year-olds are talkers while others are much quieter. Most, of course, will be somewhere in between.

But while there's a wide range in the number of words they use and when they acquire them, it's typically believed that children should be using at least 50 words by age 2. However, linguistics research led by Leslie Rescorla, Ph.D., a former professor and clinician at Bryn Mawr College's Department of Psychology, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, refined this perspective by compiling the 25 most common words that toddlers master.

The 25 Most Common Words 2-Year-Olds Know

You can begin to track your child's language development by listening for these 25 words:

  • Mommy
  • Daddy
  • Baby
  • Milk
  • Juice
  • Hello
  • Bye-bye
  • Yes
  • No
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • Ball
  • Nose
  • Eye
  • Banana
  • Cookie
  • Car
  • Hot
  • Thank you
  • Bath
  • Shoe
  • Hat
  • Book
  • More
  • All gone

What's especially noteworthy about the words in this list is that they are the basic words—and ones that toddlers use conversationally as they interact with their world. Simply talking to your child (or having them listen to you talk) can help build their vocabulary.

Though these words are among the most common for toddlers, some parents will find that their child doesn't use all the words on this list, and that's OK! If your child isn't using a word on this list, consider whether the reason is simply a lack of familiarity.

After all, a toddler who has never had a cookie and has never encountered one in everyday life is unlikely to make learning and using that word a priority. That said, if your 2-year-old isn't routinely using most or all of these 25 words, it's a good idea to talk to your pediatrician.

The Wide Range in Speech Development

Talking early or late doesn't necessarily mean your child has a developmental delay. However, research does show that toddlers who pick up new words ahead of or within the typical timeframe are more likely to have improved literacy and vocabulary later on.

It's important to stress that if your 2-year-old isn't using all these words yet, they may very well start using them soon. However, it's recommended to seek out an evaluation from their doctor or school system if you notice any delays. In many cases, your child might still be on track. They just may be coming to talking a little later than average. But if they do have a language delay, the earlier it's diagnosed and treated, the lesser the impact it's likely to have.

Early Intervention for Language Delays

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), around 1 in 5 children have language delays. Early intervention is very helpful for kids with developmental delays. There could be many reasons why your toddler's spoken language isn't developing at the typical rate.

For example, there could be a hearing problem, an issue with the mechanics of speaking, or early signs of an underlying learning disorder or autism spectrum disorder. Or it may turn out that those words will come naturally with time.

But, this is the age to start screening and evaluating, so that if there is a detectable problem, an appropriate intervention can be discussed and implemented. And the earlier an intervention starts, the more effective it will be.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles