1.Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival
On Sep 14, get into the spirit of this festival of abundance and togetherness that dates back over 3,000 years to the Zhou Dynasty. Traditionally, family members gather under the bright harvest moon and eat rich mooncakes – round pastries filled with everything from nuts and jam to lotus seed and egg yolk (symbolizing the full moon), and etched with the Chinese characters for harmony and longevity. Try all different types – sweet, spicy or salty – and remember the legend of Houyi the archer and his beautiful wife, Chang’e, who swallowed a magic pill and lives on the moon.
2.Attend the Paralympics
Don’t fret that the Olympics are over – Beijing is also hosting the thirteenth Paralympics on Sep 6-17. The event includes 20 sports such as archery, cycling, table tennis, swimming and volleyball. Four thousand athletes from 145 countries – an unprecedented number – will be competing in locations including the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube. Tickets (RMB 30, 50 and 80) sold at various Bank of China locations throughout Beijing or visit www.tickets.beijing2008.cn
3.Go for a Hike
The heat of summer is dissipating, the trees still have leaves on them, and the air is fresher than ever, making September the best month to head for the hills. beijingkids and Beijing Hikers show you easy, family-friendly hikes that are replete with beautiful scenery, freshwater springs and historical sites, and best of all, just two hours away. See silver pagodas, temples and stretches of the Great Wall.
4.Give Thanks to Teachers
Students might be the ones doing homework, but just imagine who has to grade it. Students head back to school this month and in China, Teacher Appreciation Day falls on Sep 10. This is the perfect chance to show dedicated teachers just how much students appreciate their hard work. Traditionally students write greeting cards, but why not give teachers mooncakes for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival? It’s one of the sweetest, and tastiest, ways to say thank you.
Looking for a way to keep kids busy, feed their stomachs and be off kitchen duty – maybe for good? Sign them up for cooking courses at The Hutong. Classes meet on Saturdays throughout September and will cover Thai, Taiwanese and Singaporean cuisine. Kids will also get to make new friends while learning new recipes. For children ages 7-15. RMB 150. 10am. www.the-hutong.com
6.Give a Fish a Shower
At the Blue Zoo Beijing aquarium, kids have the chance to get up close and personal with marine life. They can play with a turtle, pet a shark or scrub a fish with rocks (the equivalent of a fish shower). Kids age 8 can go for fun dives and kids age 10 and up can take scuba diving courses. Wander through this aquarium, which is filled with 3.5 million liters of salt water, and spot stingrays, eels, coral reef fish, sea horses and more. Catch divers feeding fish and sharks twice a day. For more information about scuba diving from the Blue Zoo’s Sinoscuba instructor. RMB 75, RMB 50 (kids under 12 years old), free (kids under 1m), Blue Zoo Beijing, www.blue-zoo.com
7.Gear Up for School
All right, we know no one wants to say goodbye to summer, but school doesn’t have to mean the end of fun. beijingkids shows kids how to get into the back-to-school groove, with tips on the best ways to try new activities.
8.Travel with Your Taste Buds
Take a culinary journey by venturing to Lakeview, the new shopping complex in Shunyi. This area boasts restaurants from scads of cuisines, with Japanese sushi at Yotsuba, Middle Eastern shawerma at Za’atar, American sandwiches at Paradiso Cafe, Mexican tacos at Meches, Russian borscht at Russlan and Malaysian laksa at the Niah.
9.Listen to Angelic Voices
Catch St. Florian Boys’ Choir on Sep 12-13 as the Austrian troupe sings favorites from The Magic Flute, The Bat, selections from The Sound of Music, Sound from Heaven, and some Chinese classic songs while dressed as sailors. Founded in 1071 as a church choir, the talents in today’s group, ages 8 to14, are known for shows with family-friendly repertoires. RMB 80-880. 7.30pm. Tickets at 6417 7845. Beijing Concert Hall
10.Watch Out for Dragons
For sunny afternoons or lazy evenings, head to Longtan Park, where you’ll find stone dragons, dancing red lanterns, and paddleboats for rent. Enjoy the waterfalls and the two amusement parks as you wander through this enchanting playland.
Readers are urged to double-check event details during September, as locations and dates may change.