Young children enjoy learning and finding out about new things and one of the areas that may intrigue them are jobs and work. If you’re keen to help build your child’s knowledge and learning before they start school and beyond, then here are some ideas and inspiration for helping them learn about work and jobs.
Children are often keen to ask questions of parents and adults, wanting to know what things are, why things happen, how things work and what things mean. Although it can get exhausting to keep answering everything, it’s a great sign that your child is interested and keen to learn. It’s also worth making the most of it as, in later years, they may be less eager to learn!
Learning About Work and Jobs Through Books
There are a wide variety of children’s books available that help teach the basics about different types of work and different jobs that people do. So to start off with, you could choose some books from the library featuring fictional stories about people doing different types of jobs – such as nurses, vets, teachers or nannies.
It’s worth having a look at non-fiction books too, as there can also be some good books aimed at children teaching them why people go to work and the different types of jobs people do.
Learning About Work and Jobs Through Role Play
Children love to play and one of the important ways in which they learn is through role play and acting out different scenarios. Acting out different shops is a great way of helping children learn about work and it can be a lot of fun too.
Children as young as two years old can begin to grasp the basics of playing shop and may well enjoy acting out going on the bus, walking to the shops and buying pretend foods. At its most basic, you can get away with using make believe items, but to add more depth to the role play, you could use costumes and props, such as pretend fruits and vegetables, a toy till and a shopping basket.
For other role play activities, you could have doctors and nurses costumes, a doctors kit or stethoscope, a blackboard and books to act out being a teacher, or a toy computer to act out an office job.
Learning About Work and Jobs Through Seeing Them in Action
Sometimes the best way for children to learn that people go to work and do vastly different jobs is through seeing them in action. Talking about jobs is great too, but actually seeing what happens during the course of the day, or seeing people in different situations, can help broaden understanding about the concept of work.
It may not be possible to actually take your child to work – although if it is, only for a short while, it can be very interesting for a child – but you can get to see some people doing jobs when you’re out and about.
For example, if you’re taking your child to the doctor or dentist, they can see what all the staff are doing and you can explain the different roles they have. If you’re going to the cinema or theatre, there will be people there selling tickets or popcorn, or operating the film. Or when you’re out for a walk, there might be people working nearby, doing jobs such as running shops or working in the fields.
Look out for examples of workers and their jobs and you’re sure to find them all around you. You may take it for granted as a fact of life, but for children it can be the foundation of a great learning experience.