Family & Consumer Sciences

Top career exploration activities for the FCS classroom

Your FCS classroom opens a world of possibilities to your students and can inspire them to pursue careers in the culinary arts, childcare, interior design, and more. Check out the following career exploration activities that provide your students with hands-on practice for a variety of pathways.  

Childcare career exploration activities  

Boy works with ready or not tot for childcare career exploration

Instruction in childcare can lead to a variety of roles for students, including daycare workers, early childhood teachers, and pediatric healthcare positions. Use the following resources to introduce students to prenatal, infant, and early childhood care.  

The knowledge they’ll gain through activities and simulations can help them decide if a career working with infants and children is right for them. 

Nasco Ready-or-Not Tots® 

These ultra-real childcare simulators are the next best thing to working with real infants. They cry, coo, and require round-the-clock care from your students. Ranging from basic to advanced, these simulators can even replicate the needs of a drug-addicted infant. Programming the infant’s care is easy, and the included templates make student responses easy to assess.  

Nasco Baby Basics: Not-So-Trivial Game  

This trivia game is all about babies! Place students in small groups to answer questions in six categories: Prenatal, Birth, Naming, Newborns, Infants, and Toddlers. Students will learn about fetal development, the stages of birth, how to care for toddlers, and more.

Nasco Activities for Child Care Classes: Toys 

With this kit, your students can take a hands-on role in making toys for children while learning about important concepts in children’s toys and play. The teacher’s guide contains reproducible puzzles and quizzes as well as patterns and instructions for seven toy projects: lacing cards, puppets, a felt board, small magnetic toys, bears, sock toys, and beanbags. The kit also includes project supplies, including felt magnetic tape, poster board, and felt board.  

Human services & counseling career exploration activities 

Boy plays game in FCS classroom to help him explore different careers.

As they study childcare, your students may want to extend their knowledge into child life and family studies. These community-based education roles can include marriage counselors, addiction therapists, eldercare workers, and more. 

Help students explore where these areas of study could take them using the resources below.  

Fatal Vision Opioid Program Kit  

Opioid addiction is a growing crisis. Educating students about the dangers can not only help save their lives, but it can also help them see a career pathway in which they can help.  

With the goggles in this kit, students can experience the simulated effects of opioid use, including divided attention failure, nodding out, contrast sensitivity impairment, and heaviness and lethargy of the extremities. Making students aware of the negative consequences will give them a new perspective and understanding of the inherent dangers and help them see why this crisis needs to be addressed

Understanding Mental Health Books 

Each 48-page book in this series takes a sincere and authentic approach to different mental health issues and disorders. The concise, easy-to-follow text explains the importance of social and emotional health and the symptoms and possible treatments of different mental illnesses. First-hand accounts from people with mental illnesses as well as from family and friends help make this difficult topic relatable and provide an opportunity for an open and honest discussion about stigma, what is normal, and how to help a friend or family member with a mental health issue.  

Culinary career exploration activities 

Girls explore culinary careers in their FCS kitchen.

Jobs in the culinary arts are diverse, including cooks, meat cutters, food stylists, and more. Through the resources below, your students can gain exposure to these options, learn about what the job would entail, and gain hands-on experience to see if it’s the right fit for them.  

Reservations™: A Culinary and Hospitality Knowledge Game 

Teach students about key concepts in culinary arts, restaurant management, and hospitality with this fun game! Players begin as entry-level employees and get promoted by answering questions from 9 areas. The game includes over 2,000 questions across the following topic areas: 

  • Food and Beverage Preparation 
  • Sanitation and Safety
  • Hospitality and Lodging 
  • Menu Terminology 
  • Cost Control 
  • Nutrition and Food Chemistry 
  • Flavor Builders
  • Tally It Up (Math) 
  • Food History

    Exploring Culinary Careers Lesson Plan Series 

    This series of guides is specifically designed to introduce students to careers in the culinary arts. Each guide includes a lesson plan and an interview with someone in the field discussing the path to their career. There are also three recipes for students to try in the kitchen and an end-of-unit review worksheet where they can summarize what they’ve learned.  

    Nutrition career exploration activities 

    Girls explore nutrition careers in their FCS classroom.

    Nutrition careers combine an understanding of food and how our bodies function. These roles often function in a healthcare setting and can specialize in different areas, even working with animals. Use the resources below to familiarize students with some of the concepts they’d be working with if they chose this career path.  

    5-Minute Food and Nutrition Activities Book  

    Class time is always in short supply. But with these activities that only take 5–10 minutes, you can cover nutrition concepts with students anytime you have extra time. You can also use the activities to introduce lessons or conclude a unit on healthy food choices, nutrients, food trends, or health. As students become more familiar with concepts, lead them through an exploration of how they can turn their newfound knowledge into a career. 

    Nasco Double Food Card Set 

    These durable cards offer multiple ways to teach nutrition, food variety, and portion sizes. The back side has a nutrition label with the exact portion size that the picture replicates so you can use them to build your students’ nutrition knowledge. Try activities such as sorting from the least to the most calories or planning calorie intake for someone with specific dietary needs. The deck includes 100 cards spread out across all the food groups. 

    Food science career exploration activities 

    Girl explores a food science career in her FCS classroom.

    Do your students know that a degree in food science can actually lead to a job as a taste tester? Taste testers study food production and even train their taste buds by eating a variety of foods.  

    There are many other interesting jobs in food science, and you can use the tools below to help students discover the possibilities.  

    5-Minute Food Science Activities  

    Quick, easy, and effective — that’s what these science tasks are all about. Use these 5- to 10-minute activities to get students thinking about food science, food production, food chemistry, and possible future careers. 

    Innovating Science® Testing Food for Nutrients Kit  

    The proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids found in food all help our bodies function in different ways. This kit lets students go in-depth with food science as they run experiments to identify simple sugars, proteins, starches, and more.

    Food Nutrient Analysis Classroom Kit  

    What’s in our food? Students can find out as they use this classroom kit that provides pure samples of nutrients. Students can practice testing and identifying sugar, starch, lipids, protein, and vitamin C.  

    Interior & fashion design career exploration activities 

    Student looks at fashion and interior design resources in their FCS classroom.

    Do you have some particularly stylish students? Or maybe your students just need to get hands-on with the right project to tap into their creativity. Well, now’s their chance! With the resources below, students will learn the basics and beyond of textile and building design.  

    5-Minute Fashion and Technology Activities 

    Here’s a great way to fit fashion design and technology into the school day. With 50 short activities that range from 5 to 10 minutes, you can get students excited about textile innovation, computer-aided design, apparel construction, wearable devices, and more.  

    Nasco Elements and Principles of Design Kit  

    With enough materials for 10–12 students, this kit introduces the elements and principles of interior and fashion design and then lets students dive deeper and apply what they’ve learned. You can walk students through each activity covering color theory, form, function, and more with the included lesson plan. 

    3-D Home Kit 

    This kit will inspire budding architects and interior designers as they construct a detailed, three-dimensional scale house model. The kit comes with all the materials students will need to create the exterior and interior. Students will learn how to use a floor plan grid, scale ruler, and a roof slope calculator and get professional design tips in the step-by-step instructions.  

    More to explore  

    There are so many opportunities to nurture your students’ interests in the classroom. Explore more tools and ready-made kits that make your school day easier at

    Top career exploration activities for the FCS classroom

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