TypeScript: How to get all child nodes of an element

Updated: February 14, 2024 By: Guest Contributor Post a comment


When working with the Document Object Model (DOM) in a TypeScript context, it’s often necessary to traverse the DOM tree and manipulate elements based on their hierarchy. One common requirement is to retrieve all child nodes of a specific element. This tutorial guides you through the process of fetching all child nodes of an element using TypeScript, with practical code examples.

To begin, it’s important to distinguish between “children” and “childNodes” in the context of DOM elements. The “children” property returns only element nodes, excluding text nodes and comments. On the other hand, the “childNodes” property returns all nodes, including text nodes, element nodes, and comment nodes. Depending on your needs, you might choose one over the other.

Setting Up Your TypeScript Environment

Before diving into the examples, ensure your TypeScript environment is set up. If you have not done so yet, you can install TypeScript globally on your machine using npm:

npm install -g typescript

Next, initialize a new TypeScript project by creating a new directory for your project and running:

tsc --init

This command generates a tsconfig.json file, which is crucial for defining compiler options for your project.

Getting Child Nodes Using TypeScript

Let’s start by retrieving all child nodes (including text and comment nodes) of an element. Assume you want to fetch all child nodes of a <div> element with a specific ID. Here’s how you can do it:

const parentElement = document.getElementById('myDiv');
if (parentElement) {
  const childNodes = parentElement.childNodes;
  childNodes.forEach((node) => {

This snippet fetches the <div> with the ID ‘myDiv,’ then iterates over its child nodes, logging each one to the console. This example demonstrates a straightforward way to access and manipulate child nodes using TypeScript.

Filtering Element Nodes

If you’re only interested in element nodes (ignoring text and comment nodes), you can use the children property instead. Here’s how you can filter out only the element nodes:

const parentElement = document.getElementById('myDiv');
if (parentElement) {
  const elementChildren = parentElement.children;
  for (let i = 0; i < elementChildren.length; i++) {
    const element = elementChildren[i];

This code retrieves element nodes exclusively, providing a cleaner output if you’re not interested in text or comment nodes. The use of a for-loop facilitates the iteration over elements, allowing for index-based operations if needed.

Recursively Fetching All Descendant Nodes

Sometimes, you might need to fetch not only the immediate children of an element but all descendant nodes. This can be achieved through recursion. Below is an example of how you can create a function that recursively collects all descendant nodes of a given element:

function getAllDescendantNodes(parentNode: Node): Node[] {
  let nodes: Node[] = [];
  if (parentNode.hasChildNodes()) {
    parentNode.childNodes.forEach((childNode) => {
      if (childNode.hasChildNodes()) {
        nodes = nodes.concat(getAllDescendantNodes(childNode));
  return nodes;

const parentElement = document.getElementById('myDiv');
if (parentElement) {
  const descendantNodes = getAllDescendantNodes(parentElement);
  descendantNodes.forEach((node) => console.log(node));

This function takes a parentNode as input and retrieves all its descendants, including children, grandchildren, and so on. It illustrates the power of recursion in navigating and manipulating a tree-like structure such as the DOM.

TypeScript Tips for DOM Manipulation

When working with the DOM in TypeScript, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always check if an element exists before attempting to access its properties or children to avoid runtime errors.
  • Use type assertions wisely to inform the compiler about the expected type of DOM elements. For example, const inputElement = <HTMLInputElement>document.getElementById('myInput');
  • Leverage TypeScript’s strong typing to catch errors at compile time, especially when manipulating or accessing specific properties of DOM nodes.

By following these practices, you can write more robust and error-free DOM manipulation code using TypeScript.


In this tutorial, you’ve learned how to retrieve all child nodes of an element using TypeScript, including text nodes, element nodes, and comment nodes. We explored various approaches, from fetching all child nodes with the childNodes property to filtering element nodes and recursively fetching all descendant nodes. With these techniques in your toolkit, you’ll be well-equipped to traverse and manipulate the DOM in your TypeScript projects.