fun to do kids beijing china   Travel for Kids


Beijing, capital of China, was founded by Kublai Khan in 13th century and called Khanbalik. The Ming Emperors built the lavish Imperial Palace (Forbidden City) and peerless Temple of Heaven. Beijing remained the capital through the Qing dynasty, until the early 20th century. In 1949, in Beijing, Mao Zedong declared a new era in Chinese history. Today, visiting Beijing with kids, contrary to what you might expect, the city has amazing green parks and lakes, where emperors and empresses once composed poetry amidst nature.
    Imperial Palace – Forbidden City
    Tiananmen Square
    South of Tiananmen Square
    Summer Palace
    The Great Wall
    Explore the hutongs – Hutongs are traditional Chinese neighborhoods, houses built around courtyards, like a village in the city. Kids will enjoy a fascinating glimpse into Chinese family life, and the best way to explore the hutongs is with a tour.
Child visiting the hutongs
    At your hotel, ask to arrange a Hello Beijing bicycle rickshaw (pedicab) tour – riding through the narrow alleys in a bicycle rickshaw is part of the fun. On the tour, you'll stop at a market, visit an elementary school, have tea and snacks in a Chinese home. The school classrooms are a real eye-opener, and it's great way for your kids to meet other Chinese kids. The tour is two hours long, has excellent English speaking guides, highly recommended by one family on their visit to Beijing.

Tip: Taking taxis is a convenient way to get from here to there in Beijing. At your hotel, have them write down your destination(s) in Chinese, so you can hand this to the taxi driver. (And be sure to get your hotel address with directions in Chinese for the return trip.) Or, if your Beijing map has destinations in English and Chinese, point on the map where you want the taxi to go. Use taxis with meters, so there's no problem about the fare.


Fun food – Beijing is chock a block with fun snacks or small meals. In the morning, try baozi (steamed filled buns) with doujiang (soy milk). Huntun (wonton soup), xianbing (flat pancake with vegetable and eggs), miantiao (noodles fried or boiled with meat and vegetables) are great for quick bites. Kids will have fun at a hotpot restaurant – thin sliced beef or lamb is dipped into a simmering soup to cook, along with noodles, tofu, vegetables etc. For a treats, try youtiao (sweet deep fried dough twists).


Shopping – There's no shortage of places to shop in Beijing, from individual shopping streets to mega shopping centers. Look for silk purses and silk quilts, small carved swords, Mao caps, calligraphy brush sets, jade jewelry, wooden combs with figures of Chinese gods, pearl hair pins, beaded bags and shoes.

kids books beijing
Angel in Beijing
Belle Yang

Take a bike trip around Beijing to Beihi Park (people play music, vendors sells candied haw fruits), enormous kites fly in Tiananmen Square for the Dragon Boat Festival, climb up Jingsan to look down at the Forbidden City, stand in the Temple of Heaven. Where has kitty gone? Charming illustrations! (Picture book)


Beijing (Through Time)
Richard Platt, Manuela Cappon

Illustrated history of Beijing from a simple farming village to conquest by the Mongols and capital of Kublai Khan, the Ming dynasty and creation of the Forbidden City, up to the present day. Super illustrations and cross-sections bring the city to life. (Picture book)


children history Beijing (Through Time)
Kubla Khan kids biography beijing  
Kubla Khan: The Emperor of Everything
Kathleen Krull, Robert Byrd

Who built the Imperial City that became Bejing – Kubla Khan, the Mongol emperor. Read about his court, his palaces, festivals, building projects, and parties for forty thousand guests. Lively, detailed illustrations. (Picture book)


The Mystery in the Forbidden City
Harper Paris, Marcos Calo

Ella and Ethan are having fun eating bao and exploring the Forbidden City, but they have a mystery to solve - find the Imperial Garden and three stone dragons. (Easy reader)


the mystery in the forbidden city
ming's adventure in the forbidden city  

Little Ming takes a tour of the Forbidden City, but after he finds a mysterious gate, he steps back in time, to the time of the Emperor. A good introduction to this famous cultural site, full two page illustrations. (Picture book)


Elephants and Golden Thrones
Trish Max, Ellen B. Senisi

Step inside the Forbidden City, where the emperors lived along with ten thousand people. Stories of different emperors, plus history, celebrations, customs, private rooms of the Forbidden City. Gorgeous photographs. (Illustrated chapter book)


Elephants and Golden Thrones beijing forbidden city kids
Where Is the Great Wall?
Patricia Brennan Demuth, Jerry Hoare

Illustrated history of the Great Wall, the largest man-made structure in the world. How the First Emperor built the first wall with towers, packed earth and towers, and a thousand years later, an improved wall was constructed with brick and stone, which has lasted to this day. (Chapter book)


(More children's books on other China pages)
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