Fun with jobs

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Endorsed by Career Development Association of Australia

3 - 11 years
Father and children

Playing job games is a great way to expand your child’s vocabulary, build their awareness of different jobs, and educate them about careers! These favourites can be played with toddlers through to teens – just tailor them to suit your child.

How many jobs?

This is a very simple game for when you and your child are in a shopping centre, on public transport or in other situations where you will see lots of different jobs:

  • take turns naming a job that you can see
  • keep a running total.

When your child knows the alphabet, you can make it harder by focusing on a single letter – How many jobs can we see that start with the letter A? Or come up with a different criteria – jobs with uniforms, or jobs where you talk to customers.

Who uses this?

This game requires nothing except imagination:

  • think of a piece of equipment – eg a calculator, a hammer, a hairdryer
  • think of jobs that use that tool
  • keep a running total.

Decide at the beginning whether the answers have to be realistic, or can be creative. Otherwise you might get into an argument about whether builders can use hairdryers to dry paint on a wet day!

What could I be?

This simple game develops your child’s understanding that one skill can be used in many jobs, and prepares them to think of different ways they can pursue their own skills and interests:

  • think of a skill
  • think of jobs where you could use that skill
  • keep a running total.

With older children, make it more challenging by choosing more specific skills, and encourage them to think creatively. For example, if the skill is ‘arranging flowers’, good answers include florist, interior decorator, still life painter, café owner (decorating tables) and real estate agent (readying houses for open days).

To vary the game, start with interests instead of skills. If the interest is ‘a love of horses’, jobs could include vet, jockey, horse trainer, animal photographer, jackaroo/jillaroo and riding school owner.

Who am I?

This game gives a jobs focus to a familiar game:

  • the first person thinks of a job and gives clues
  • the other person guesses the job.

Good clues include:

  • I have to wear…
  • I need to be able to …
  • I work in a …
  • One tool I use is a …
  • One thing I like about my job is …

You can also play this as a question game – instead of the ‘job holder’ giving clues, the ‘guesser’ asks questions. This can be more challenging, as you might not know the answers!

Supply chain

This game also has a deceptively simple concept:

  • think of a product you can buy in a shop
  • name jobs that have helped to bring that product to the customer.

For example, if the product is ‘ice cream’, the jobs could include dairy farmer, cane sugar farmer, ice cream factory workers, and ice cream delivery truck drivers.

Note: children who think broadly may come up with quite tangential answers, such as:

  • the manufacturers of the fertiliser spread on the grass that the cows ate
  • the workers in the power plants that generated the electricity for the ice cream factory
  • the workers who repair the roads that the trucks drove on.

Answers like these show their understanding of how interconnected the economy is, but can be offputting to other players! If you want to, you can narrow the game to people who have directly touched the product (or an ingredient which went into the product).

More in this series
Father and son
3 - 11 years
Mother and daughter at store counter
2 - 7 years
Father and children
3 - 11 years
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Last modified
19 April 2020