Even little children start to dream about their future job, saying, “When I grow up…” Of course, when your child is too young to have grasped the concept of what jobs are, they might want to be anything from a unicorn to Superman, or any number of possibilities that are far from real jobs.
So, you’ll know from the feasibility of your child’s responses when the time has come to really talk about occupations.
Once your child begins to show genuine interest as to what his or her future vocation might be, you can start to explore a variety of occupations with your child and discuss what each job’s daily tasks might be.
Experts emphasize that exposing your child to numerous occupations at an earlier age can broaden your child’s view of the world and their future career options. Knowing there are endless ways to earn an income and that they get to choose depending on their interests and strengths can fascinate children.
How you educate your child about different careers can be tailored to their age and stage of development. With young children, explain the basic concept of a job and why each role is important. With older kids, you can include more detailed information about each occupation and later on, specific education and licenses that are required to be qualified for specific jobs.
Here are a few fun games and activities you can do with your children to expose them to different types of occupations.
Fun occupation learning activities and games
The best way for children to indirectly experience each career is by acting out the role. Improvise with costumes, props and accessories for your kids to immerse themselves in the part they are playing. Give them some problems to solve as they play and prompt them as to how they might find a solution to the problem.
2. Who am I? speed game
This guessing game is another fun way to introduce concepts to kids. One person describes features of the occupation and the other guesses which job they are talking about. The free printable cards can be incorporated by having the guessing person select a face-down card that only the person describing the job is allowed to see—the person who guesses could even wear the card on their forehead, tucked into a headband or hat.
This game can be done with multiple teams competing for more fun and excitement. This is a way to make the information about each occupation more memorable to your child, even if they fail to guess.
3. Who’s job is this? match game
Challenge your child by describing some of the tasks associated with an occupation and ask your child to name the job title. Use the free printable image cards and job title cards—this will be more fun if your child is at a reading level, but even if they aren’t there yet, it can be a great way to familiarize them with the look of the word in association with the image. Letting your child pick up the card that matches your description adds a tactile element that makes the information easier to remember.
4. “A day in the life” video
Thanks to the sea of visual content in various media, you and your child can explore video material about most of the jobs on Earth and the daily tasks associated with them. Learn about the workplace, the daily schedule, and the challenges and achievements each occupation experiences.
5. Shadowing a job
What better way to learn about a particular job than from an actual person who is doing it? If your child is older and more serious about a particular career path, reach out via social platforms like Linkedin or Facebook to someone who is currently working in that industry. While you might not necessarily be successful in getting a chance to visit a workplace or shadowing someone throughout their workday, you might at least be able to meet them for a short interview.
Here are some free printable occupation cards for the Speed Game and Match Game. You can either cut along the dotted line or fold it for the game.
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