What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up Activities for Kids

Young boy pretending to be a pilot.
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A child's idea of what she wants to be when she grows up will probably change several times over the years. Teachers can help students explore the possibilities by introducing them to the wide range of careers available. Plan activities that help your students decide what they want to be when they grow up.

1 Career Presentations

Woman standing in front of young students.
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Invite members of the community to come into your classroom and talk about their jobs. For example, you could invite a banker, a butcher, a firefighter and a doctor. Each person could talk about an average day at work and allow students to ask questions.

2 Essay Writing

A young boy is writing an essay.
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Ask students to write an essay about what they want to be when they grow up. In this essay, the student could discuss why he feels it's the right career for him or what he might imagine his day will be like. Young students may want to accompany the essay with a drawing.

3 Interviews

A young girl is writing an essay at home.
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Ask students to interview someone who has the job that they think they want in the future. During class time, you can help the students think of questions to ask. You may also want to help the student find someone in the community who has that job. Students can transcribe the interview or write an essay based on the interview.

4 Role-Playing

Young children are learning how to be firefighters.
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Allow younger students the opportunity to role-play different careers. You could have a dress-up corner in your classroom with things like a firefighter hat or a tool belt.

5 Personality Quizzes

Young students are taking a test.
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Students with certain types of personalities are often better suited to certain types of careers. A personality quiz asks the student a number of questions and then lists some possible careers based on the student's interests. For example, it may ask whether you prefer to work alone or in a group, whether you prefer being creative or analytical or which types of things you value. There are no right or wrong answers. It's important to tell students that these quizzes can be fun, but the results are not set in stone. A student does not have to follow the suggestions that the test gives him or feel disappointed if the career that he wants isn't on his list.

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.