It’s a brave, new world, and the jobs out there prove it! From Chief Google Doodler to Pet Behavior Consultant, there really is a job to suit every unique skill set. Students love career day, so this year, why not shake things up by supplementing your traditional stations with some surprisingly modern choices? Read on for the supplies and info you’ll need for a super-successful and engaging career day stations in your classroom—and don’t forget to ask parents who do these jobs to help man your stations!
Tried-and-True Kid Favorites – Traditional Career Stations
A career for kids who are curious about…science and the human body.
In a nutshell – Doctors and dentists provide medical and dental care to kids and adults, including giving check-ups, prescribing medicine, and treating various medical and dental problems.
Pros and cons – Doctors and dentists get to help people feel better every day and teach people how to take care of themselves and live healthy lives. Developing these skills doesn’t happen overnight! In order to become doctors and dentists, one has to study, and stay in school for a long time.
Props – Doctor’s kit, chair, cot, scrubs, dolls, stuffed animals, plastic skeleton, plastic skull, bandages, wraps, toothbrush, toothpaste, crutches, small flashlight, prescription pad
Activity Ideas – Play the Operation game, dress a doll’s “ wounds” with wraps and bandages, practice proper brushing on a mouth print out or plastic skull, or introduce the basics of CPR.
A career for kids who are curious about…the law and helping others.
In a nutshell – Police officers and firefighters help protect our community from crimes and are there to help us when we’re in danger.
Pros and cons – Police officers and firefighters are trusted, respected members of our communities, but their jobs can be dangerous and they can get hurt doing them.
Props – Police and fire hats, rubber rain coat, blue button up shirt, gloves, vacuum hose, badges, play phones, walkie talkies, whistle, flashlight, clipboard and pencil, steering wheel
Activity Ideas – Learn to dial 9-1-1 and your home phone on a play phone (or download our worksheet here!), make a masking tape intersection and practice crossing with the signals, or introduce fire safety—crouching low and checking door knob temperatures.
A career for kids who are curious about…everything!
In a nutshell – Teachers help students of all ages learn specific things, from the alphabet and phonics to physics and chemistry.
Pros and cons – Teachers take great satisfaction in seeing their students master newskills and concepts, but they must be able to work with all different types of personalities and learning styles.
Props – Mini white boards or chalk boards with white board markers or chalk, pointer, glasses, mug, apple, calculator, books, calendar, map, globe, bell, stickers, stamps and stamp pads, red pen
Activity Ideas – Provide simple matching worksheets that kids can complete and grade (with a red pen, stamps, and stickers, of course!), teach the ABCs and CVC reading with white boards, markers, and magnetic letters, or read books aloud to each other.
Cutting Edge Careers – Modern Day Career Stations
Game or App Programmer
A career for kids who are curious about…technology.
In a nutshell – Programmers write directions in a variety of computer languages that turn designs created by software developers and engineers into instructions a computer or smart phone can follow.
Pros and cons – Bringing written directions to life on screen is exciting and rewarding, but programming can be tedious, too.
Props – Wooden blocks, pitcher, water, tablet with coding games for kids, like the Foos
Activity Ideas – Play coding board games, play coding tablet games, or pair students in coding challenges with one giving and the other receiving step-by-step directions for a simple task, like building a tower of blocks or filling a pitcher with water, to demonstrate the precision and detail needed for programming.
A career for kids who are curious about…art.
In a nutshell – Animators are artists who draw, paint, sculpt, or design images on the computer that can be put together to show illustrated movement in cartoons, movies, and computer games.
Pros and cons – Animators get to create art and use the computer all day long and their work turns into something really cool but there isn’t much room for growth or change in their jobs.
Props – Blank flip books and markers, plastic overlay sheets cut in quarters and printer paper
Activity Ideas – Provide multi-page, stapled “ flip books” and encourage students to draw a slightly changing scene on each page—then flip to animate or have students draw a scene on a piece of printer paper and a character on a plastic overlay and slide the overlay across the scene to see their character “move”.
A career for kids who are curious about…science and agriculture.
In a nutshell – Organic farmers raise fruits, vegetables, and meats without the use of man-made pesticides or herbicides.
Pros and cons – Organic farmers are outside all day, tending to their crops and stock, and take pride in producing healthy and safe foods for their communities, but sometimes things that are out of their control can affect their work, like weather, bugs, and diseases.
Props – Shoebox “crates”, plastic fruits and vegetables, plush farm animals, table with checked cloth, pot with dirt and seeds to plant, flannel shirts, plastic gardening tools
Activity Ideas – Plant seeds or bulbs in egg cartons full of dirt, harvest your school’s garden, provide various root vegetables and seeds to explore, have an apple taste test.
And there you have it! Six great center ideas for career day at school—from traditional to cutting-edge. Which career day stations have your students most enjoyed? Share your tips and activity ideas with your fellow educators in the comments below and let us know how career day goes!