Ask any young child what they want to be and you could get a variety of answers. Some want to be doctors or nurses, others want to be firefighters or police officers. Some answer with more entertaining answers like ‘rich’ or ‘a giraffe’. (Yes, I have heard that answer.)
Most kids have big dreams. It is important that we encourage them to explore the wide variety of options available. A great way to foster those dreams, and how important school and responsibility are to achieve them, is to help them learn about the actual careers. My daughter is set on becoming a wild animal veterinarian, and my son is determined to either hunt monsters or write books and graphic novels. In both cases I get to focus that interest in reading certain books, and the importance of certain subjects and willingness to dive in to the subjects that interest them most. I also get to teach them about related careers, and what paths their interests might take them.
I always wanted to be an astronaut or archaeologist, but I learned early on that I was much better with words and thinking about the big things rather than doing the math, engineering, and physical labor necessary for either. It was not long before I decided that books and the written word was a much better focus for my energies and aptitudes.
Here are some great resources for researching different careers, and the education paths and experience that can help your kids test if they are really interested and if the interest will last. These resources can also be used to encourage studying particular subjects or give some career ideas for those that enjoy one subject over others.
Dinosaur Scientist: Careers Digging up the Past by Thom Holmes
Unusual and Awesome Jobs Using Technology: Roller Coaster Designer, Space Robotics Engineer, and Moreby Linda LeBoutillier
Talking with Adventurers: Conversations with Christina M. Allen, Robert Ballard, Michael L. Blakey, Ann Bowles, David Doubilet, Jane Goodall, Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Michael Novacek, Johan Reinhard, Rick C. West and Juris Zarins compiled and edited by Pam Cummings and Linda Cummings
Have you Seen this Face?: the Work of Forensic Artists by Danielle Denega
Unusual and Awesome Jobs Using Science: Food Taster, Human Lie Detector, and More by Jennifer Wendinger
Dusted and Busted!: the Science of Fingerprinting by D.B. Beres
Unusual and Awesome Jobs in Sports: Pro Team Mascot, Pit Crew Member, and Moreby Jeremy Johnson
Scuba Divers: Life Under Water by John Giacobello
Unusual and Awesome Jobs in Math: Stunt Coordinator, Cryptologist, and More by Lisa M. Bolt Simons
For the youngest readers I would recommend the easy nonfiction series’ by Patricia Hubbell or Heather Adamson. Here are some of those titles; Police: Hurrying! Helping! Saving!, Teacher!: Sharing, Helping, Caring, , Firefighters!: Speeding! Spraying! Saving!, Check it Out!: Reading, Finding, Helping, A Day in the Life of a Police Officer, A Day in the Life of a Firefighter, A Day in the Life of a Construction Worker.
There are even more resources for the older readers and young adults, including; Cool Careers Without College for Animal Lovers by Chris Hayhurst, Exploring Careers: a Young Person’s Guide to 1,000 Jobs from the editors at JIST, The Teen Vogue Handbook: an Insider’s Guide to Careers in Fashion, Careers for Environmental Types & Others Who Respect the Earth by Michael Fasulo and Jane Kinney, College Majors and Careers: a Resource Guide for Effective Life Planning by Paul Phifer, and Great Careers in 2 Years: the Associate Degree Option: High-Skill and High-Wage Jobs Available Through Two-Year Programs by Paul Phifer.