To address the mechanism underlying the development of episodic memory, the current study used a modified list learning paradigm for children (i.e. ABCD, ABAC, ABABr) and compared the performance of 4 year-olds, 7 year-olds, and adults. The results show that only the ABABr condition, which involves a 3-way binding structure, differed across age. Additionally, a proposed computational model (multinomial process tree model) decomposed the binding strengths involved in the given tasks and made it possible to compare the changes in these binding strengths. The model shows that though all groups have similar item binding strength, the overall context (list) binding and 3-way binding strengths develops throughout development. Aside to the general context binding strength, however, 7 year olds showed a lower context binding strength than 4 year olds. The results are discussed by the interaction between context strength and attentional mechanism.