With its reputation for smog and high-brow culture, people often make the mistake of thinking that there aren’t many activities for kids in Beijing to enjoy.
For many expat families, the differences in culture and surroundings means that even attractions that aren’t necessarily aimed at children can be appealing.
Children moving to China, like their parents, have major challenges to overcome, especially in terms of the language barrier and culture shock. At the same time, the country was praised by HSBC’s 2013 Expat Explorer Survey as a good destination for raising children.
While education in Beijing continues to be a challenge for many expat families, learning a new language benefits children not only in terms of knowledge, but also in terms of their confidence and their development as an individual. Furthermore, more than half of the expats surveyed say that the quality of education they have access to in China is better than it was in their home country.
Parents will also be pleased to know that the country ranks especially highly when it comes to child safety, the affordability of childcare, and the cost of education. Perhaps surprisingly, more expat families get involved with outdoor activities and sports in China on average than elsewhere.
Activities for kids in Beijing
Thankfully for expat parents, a host of attractions in and around Beijing keep children entertained and interested, with the added benefit of helping them integrate into their new surroundings.
Popular activities for expat kids include field trips to major attractions such as the Great Wall of China, the Underground City and the Forbidden City. Others prefer taking advantage of modern offerings such as the interactive Sony Explora Science Museum, or Fundazzle’s double story jungle gym, slides and endless ball pit.
A day out at the Shijingshan Amusement Park is another popular activity for families. Officially themed after the Grimm Fairy Tales, parents will enjoy spotting where many of the park’s characters get their inspiration from, while kids can enjoy riding inside a giant bok choi in the Dream Land section.
The China Science and Technology Museum is classified as a AAAA national tourist attraction, with the famous mirror dome that contains its 360 degree cinema attraction thousands of visitors every year. Full of interesting exhibits that educate while entertaining, parents can enjoy the offerings of the main exhibition hall or explore the museum’s scientific amusement park with their children.
Parents wanting their children to explore nature without heading out of the city have a number of options too.
The Beihai Park to the northeast of the Forbidden City is perfect for picnics, paddle boat rides and curious exploration through what is one of the largest and most historic gardens in China.
Milu Yuan or Milu Park is also popular, housing a selection of endangered species in what used to be Imperial hunting grounds. The Milu deer is the most popular among these, becoming extinct in China in the 19th century before being reintroduced from Britain in the 1980s.
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