How Coding Helps Kids Develop Key 21st Century Skills

How Coding Helps Kids Develop Key 21st Century Skills

How Coding Helps Kids Develop 4 Key 21st Century Skills

It’s no secret that coding helps kids develop skills they need to be successful in school, careers, and beyond. Four of those key skills are critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication—the 4 C’s of the 21st century. Here’s why each of these skills is so important, and how your child can develop each one as they create with code!

Critical Thinking

Did you know that “critical thinking” isn’t just a fancy way of saying “good thinking”? It’s a concept that includes several key steps—which is great because, just like any skill set, critical thinking can be developed with practice!

As they code, kids:

  • Understand cause and effect relationships, and make strategic choices based on this knowledge. Kids learn what happens when a given set of blocks is combined or altered. Featured Maker Zara’s mom, Gaya, told us that coding is helping Zara “[become] result-oriented and result-driven as well: If I do this, this will come out of it.”
  • Synthesize. Kids think critically as they check out others’ projects and ask themselves, like Featured Maker Isaac does, “How can I make something kind of like this, but a little bit better?”


Like critical thinking, creativity is a skill that can be developed! One of the key steps in the creative process is experimentation. With Tynker, kids can test out their imaginative ideas!

Kids experiment as they:

  • Use the art studio to create artwork. Featured Maker Rosalie’s mom, Jennifer, observed this about her daughter’s artistic skills: “I think [Rosalie’s] developed a way of drawing both on paper and [in] Tynker that is distinct to her. I think that’s going to keep going and her drawings are going to become more refined and detailed.”
  • Try out different code blocks and discover the results! Featured Maker Nicholas thinks the best thing about Tynker is that “you can make your own projects and the thing is that you get a whole different list of options. You have all different kinds of codes and variables, and you can create functions and stuff. It’s just really fun!”

Tynker is a creative outlet where kids bring together coding skills and artistic abilities to create truly memorable projects!


Dynamic communication that uses a variety of media is becoming increasingly common in today’s society. Kids need to learn how to stand up in front of other people and articulate their ideas and how to use digital tools to share information.

Tynker helps kids do both as they:

  • Tell stories. Coding is an expressive medium for kids to practice sharing narratives, whether through original projects or in more structured forms like our courses: In Programming 201, kids create dialogue for a comic book page!
  • Present ideas.  Kids can demonstrate knowledge without a poster board or worksheet as they make presentation slides in Tynker! They can also narrate their presentations and add animations and special effects. Paired with speaking in front of an audience, slides made with code are a great communication tool!
  • Communicate with peers. Within the Tynker community, kids can make projects for their followers, remix and learn from others’ projects, and make original projects to share. In all of these ways, kids use digital tools to communicate with others–a key skill in today’s world!


While it’s important to have “alone time” while working on a coding project, much can be gained—and given—when kids team up with others to create the best projects possible.

Coding fosters collaboration as kids:

  • Program robotics and drones. From across the Tynker community, we’ve seen how kids are tapping into the power of working together to make robots run and drones fly!
  • Create mods with friends. Minecraft + Coding = Collaboration! Kids can help each other create skins, mods, and mobs as they craft their own personalized worlds in Minecraft. And they can see other users’ Minecraft creations in Tynker’s Mod Creator, which they can then remix!
  • Compete with friends in Crystal Clash. In our newest multiplayer game, Crystal Clash, kids have to compete with code as they play with friends, and the player with the best code wins. Kids demonstrate resilience and improve their coding skills while learning how to collaborate with others!

Ready to help your child develop key 21st century skills like creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration? Look no further than Tynker, where kids build all these skills and more as they learn to code! With 2,000+ activities, 23 programming courses, and 11iPad courses, your child is sure to find coding projects and courses that they love!

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Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.

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