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The Role of Coding in Child Development

The Role of Coding in Child DevelopmentWith each development, the world continues to become more technology-driven. This progress drives the need for people with excellent technical skills like coding. There are a lot of working adults showing interest in this expertise and have since studied it to gain a skill set fit for the modern world. However, adults are not the only ones preparing for a highly technological future. Children are also learning how to code as it now becomes an invaluable skill. That’s because working knowledge in coding fosters technical abilities that can be proven useful once they venture into the real world.

However, learning how to code doesn’t only help kids become future-ready. This skill also supports them in honing other crucial areas for development. This article ‘The Role of Coding in Child Development’ provides a brief discussion of what coding is, followed by a comprehensive look into the abilities that this skill refine and how it helps in improving them.

What is Coding?

As mentioned, coding is a technical skill in which a person uses various programming languages to create software, websites, mobile apps, and other digital tools. It’s a part of programming that involves writing clear, structured instructions that a computer can understand and use to implement specified activities and address issues.

Simply put, coding is a way to communicate with the computer and develop programs for automating tasks, manipulating data, and providing new functionality. It uses different languages to carry out different specific tasks that a coder needs the computer to do. Some of the most common coding languages are:

  • Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) – is used for structuring a web page so that authors can publish different types of content like text, photos, videos, and tables. This language is also what allows users to retrieve information via a hyperlink text.
  • Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) – is a type of style sheet language that describes how a document written in a markup language is displayed or laid out on a screen.
  • Java – is used to develop various digital tools, from mobile applications to enterprise software to big data programs. It’s among the most convenient coding languages there, since coders can run the same code on different platforms. Learn more about Java in Core Java Section.
  • Python – is a multi-purpose language commonly used for creating websites and software, automating tasks, analyzing data, and creating data visualizations. 
  • JavaScript – is often mistaken to be the same as Java, but there are major differences between these two coding elements. The most known distinction is that JavaScript can only be run on a browser, whereas Java doesn’t have that kind of restriction.

It can be difficult to explain these concepts to children, so it’s advisable to use simple terms and examples as much as possible to ease up their introduction to coding.

The Role of Coding in Child Development

As mentioned, coding has become an important skill as the world becomes more dependent on technology and it’s never too early to start learning. This talent, even plays a key role in child development, both in terms of their technical ability and their personal growth. Here are a few things that kids can gain from coding:

Stimulates Exploration and Discovery

Coding provides children with a platform where they face and experiment with new ideas. As they learn this skill, kids start to think outside the box and explore different possibilities when given a specific problem. Experimenting with new concepts and technologies also encourages them to analyze and uncover new ways of doing things. Such discoveries can spark curiosity and influence children to live a life focused on learning and exploration.

Moreover, knowledge of new concepts and technologies helps children in promoting a culture of innovation, which then inspires them to explore and discover opportunities for growth and development in technology, science, and even inspired fields.

Develops Problem-solving Skills

Children will face challenges that will require critical thinking skills throughout their lives. Learning how to code can help them develop these abilities as it hones their capacity to think of simple yet efficient solutions to complex issues. Coding teaches children decomposition in which they break down problems into smaller, more manageable parts. Doing so makes these issues easier to understand and allows kids to outline solutions to each subproblem.

It also supports them in identifying patterns across different issues that may occur at various points. Coding even improves children’s ability to organize information and make decisions based on data. Combining all these elements helps children come up with clear, effective, and fact-based solutions that will fix every part of the problem.

Encourages Self-expression

Most of the media that children consume — games, animations, and websites to name a few — are all based on coding. Learning this skill enables them to create a form of media where they can express their creativity. As they design games or animate graphics through their codes, children customize their creations to make distinct and individualized designs that reflect their style, interests, and personality — basically who they are as a person.

The by-products of their codes are mirrors of their imagination and ideas that are expressed in new and creative ways. Children’s personalities are also reflected in how they solve technical problems during their coding process.

Inspires Collaboration and Cooperation

While there are coding exercises that children can do on their own, the reality of it is that a lot of people are usually involved in working on such projects. This motivates kids to work together and cooperate, combining their knowledge and talents to produce something more impressive than they could have done on their own. Coding is a language of its own, and those that practice are likely to understand each other better. Having this kind of understanding empowers them to freely express their ideas, work together towards a common goal, and foster exceptional communication and collaboration skills.

Moreover, working on a coding project together involves feedback and iteration. Even if they don’t understand how this communication process works, children still practice it when they point out an issue with their work and provide ideas on how to resolve or improve it.

Coding Concepts That Children Should Learn

More than understanding the basics of coding, learning its fundamental concepts also jumpstarts children’s development in acquiring skills that are relevant to the technology-driven future and beneficial to their overall growth. Below are some of the basic concepts of coding and their role in child development.


The first coding concept kids learn is sequencing. This idea refers to the order in which a series of instructions or commands are executed to achieve a particular outcome. In this process, coders arrange the steps in sequential order to ensure that each action is performed in the correct sequence and that they will achieve their desired results or condition.

Learning this concept enables children to think logically, develop their organizational skills, and be more persevering. Knowing how to arrange their actions and the cause-and-effect relationship between each step allows them to learn how to approach problems systematically. Understanding this process also empowers them to develop a clear and organized approach to problem-solving, which they can apply to other areas of their lives. What’s more, the obstacles they’ll face along the way helps them learn how to become more persistent and develop a growth mindset.


Looping is among the easiest coding concepts to learn. As its name suggests, this process involves repeating the same actions or instructions using different data or variables until it meets a specific condition. Coders use this process to save them time from writing multiple lines of code and preventing errors. They either tell the computer to run the code a certain number of times (counting or for loops) or until it meets a specified goal (conditional or while loops).

In regard to child development, looping teaches kids the importance of repeating actions to achieve a certain outcome. This concept helps them learn that persistence and determination — along with minor adjustments — enable them to accomplish their goals.


This coding concept refers to breaking down a complex problem into simple, manageable steps. That means coders divide large issues into smaller tasks that can be solved individually. These isolated solutions are then combined to solve the main problem. Understanding the core idea of decomposition supports children in developing computational thinking skills. This ability involves addressing complex issues by breaking them down into parts, identifying patterns, and developing solutions that will solve each sub-problem.

Computational thinking skills also require some level of organization — an ability that decomposition also fosters as it teaches them how to arrange the information and determine relevant details while disregarding unimportant or nuisance data.


Creating a program requires collaboration between multiple coders. With many minds working on a single project, there are bound to be different ideas and actions that each coder will want to execute, this is where branching comes into play. This concept refers to the practice of creating copies of programs in development to work in parallel versions without altering the mainline. It enables coders to develop isolated changes, improvements, and new features during the version control and software management phases to maintain the program’s stability.

In other words, branching allows different teams to simultaneously work on different elements of the project. In terms of execution, this concept involves the program following different paths of code depending on the result of certain conditions. The benefit of studying this coding concept for children is evident: learning how to collaborate with each other. Branching encourages them to work harmoniously to efficiently achieve their target goals.

They will learn how to discuss in a way that allows everyone to provide their ideas or opinions and make decisions based on this collective input. Children will also understand how to resolve conflicts and negotiate with each other.


Selection pertains to a program’s decision-making process. This concept enables the program to run different blocks of code depending if a given criterion is true or false. The end result of the selection is met through the use of conditional statements — better known as IF-THEN statements. They are an essential tool in coding and are considered fundamental building blocks for complex programs since they allow programs to make decisions based on certain conditions.

IF-THEN statements often follow this coding structure:

if (condition) {

  // block of code to execute if condition is true


This format enables the program to evaluate the condition in parentheses. If it detects that the condition is true, the program will execute the block of code inside the curly braces. Otherwise, it will skip the block of code entirely. Selection may seem too technical to apply in real life, let alone help children in their development. However, learning this coding concept actually supports the development of logical thinking skills.

Understanding this fundamental element encourages them to think logically and systematically about how they respond to different situations. Knowing how to use conditional statements also enables them to think creatively about how to solve problems and build confidence in their abilities to tackle complex challenges.


Syntax refers to the set of rules and principles that overlook the process of writing a programming language. It defines the code structure that the program follows to ensure that it runs smoothly. This set of rules includes things like the placement of parentheses, brackets, and semicolons, using the correct data types and variables, and following a specific order of operations. These principles need to be followed precisely to prevent program failure.

Applying rules exactly as they are is the core concept of syntax — and learning this allows children to develop their attention to detail and precision. Enhancing these skills empowers them to achieve high levels of accuracy and quality in tasks. It also improves their problem-solving skills since paying attention to all the details, no matter how small they are, enables children to identify the root cause and find effective solutions.


Coding is much more than a technical ability that can help children secure their future. It’s a skill that helps them foster different areas of their development as it stimulates their urge for exploration and discovery, hones their problem-solving skills, encourages self-expression, and instills collaboration and cooperation.

Learning how to code and its basic concepts give them a platform where they can think outside the box, practice their creativity, and express their true self while working with people toward a shared goal — all of which are crucial to help them be better equipped to tackle the challenges of the future.


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