Keeping the kids occupied on holiday can be quite hard going, especially if you want to see the historical and cultural sights the destination has to offer. China’s bustling crowds makes things particularly difficult with the little ones in tow. Take a look at how you can combine kid friendly activities whilst seeing what you want to see at the same time!
1. Flying kites in Tiananmen Square
A visit to Tiananmen Square has the potential to be rather tedious for kids, a few monuments, a picture of a long-dead former leader of China, some buildings … so you need some way to 'spice it up' a little.
What small person could fail to be enthralled by flying a kite in the square?
You can buy a kite from one of the many kite sellers, although if you arrive late in the day, you might be disappointed as they aren't always around later in the afternoon. But a more exciting thing to do would be to ask your guide to take you and the kids to a kite shop, as it will undoubtedly be full of other interesting trinkets and Chinese games.
You get to see the historic monuments and sample the culture, and they get to play. Perfection!
2. Beijing by Rickshaw
Close to Tiananmen Square lies the traditional old centre of Beijing. The narrow alleyways and streets are referred to as hutongs and are a great place to see real life in the city. Walking isn't usually one of the favourite pastimes for kids so let someone else do the hard work. A rickshaw trip around the hutongs will surely surprise and delight both you and your offspring – elderly people playing traditional games like mahjong outside their homes; street stalls selling colourful fruits and so much more.
3. Go to a show
On the face of it, going to a show would be the last thing that a child on holiday in Beijing would really want to do.
Not if you pick the right one!
We are not talking opera or a musical, but rather a martial arts or acrobatic show. It has to be said that the Chinese are superb gymnasts and acrobats. Your youngsters will be astonished as the acrobats perform amazing feats of balance and flexibility without any apparent effort. China is the spiritual home of martial arts and their breathtaking display shows will have your kids gasping at the speed and agility of the performers.
4. Beijing Zoo
A more traditional day out with the kids is to go to Beijing Zoo. The main attraction will no doubt be the giant pandas – everyone loves them! Pandas were once widespread but hunting and destruction of their natural habitat has now put them on the endangered list – there are probably no more than 1500 of these beautiful creatures left in the world today. All in all, the zoo has about 600 species including monkeys, snakes, crocodiles as well as a whole host of other endangered species.
5. The Great Wall of China
Uh-oh! Surely not great for taking the kids? Well actually, it makes an interesting trip if you choose the right section. The most popular and possibly the best for taking your kids is at Badaling. It is the closest to Beijing so you will have less of the 'are we nearly there yet' behaviour to contend with! It will be crowded in the main holiday season, particularly near the start where there are also loads of trinket sellers. But the great thing that makes it a bit different for the kids is to take the cable car to get three quarters of the way up (beats walking!) and then to come down on the zipline. There are great views from the highest point if the kids let you get there.
As well as the above ideas, there are plenty of other kid friendly places in Beijing like the aquarium, indoor play centres, the Five Colour Earth Craft Centre and Shijingshan Amusement Park for them to enjoy.
Are you planning a trip to China with the kids? Speaking a few words of Chinese would certainly impress the locals so why not contact us to find out about Chinese courses in your area.