Any free weekend
If you’re looking for a great activity for kids of all ages, throw a pizza party! Make pizzas healthy with low-sugar homemade sauce (canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, herbs and veggies), whole wheat dough (kids won’t know the difference) and low-fat cheese. All of these ingredients are available at Jenny Lou’s (get yeast if you want thick crust). Make more dough than you think you’ll need because kids love to play with it. Clear off a low table and place a plastic placemat, dusted with flour, in front of each child – and have them construct their own pizza pie. While the pizzas take their turn baking in the toaster oven, have some snacks ready for your kids to munch on as they wait for their creations to cook.
Until Nov 8
Glimpse autumn’s beautiful red and golden leaves in an emperor’s country estate. Seven hundred years ago, Jin dynasty emperors looking for a rustic getaway from Beijing settled on Fragrant Mountain, or Xiangshan, located in the northwest suburbs of the city. Now there’s an annual festival where vendors and artists from around the country gather to showcase their regional foods, arts and crafts. For those who want to hike up the mountain, the trail begins at the park’s east gate. Hunt for red leaves during your trek – it’s a Beijing tradition.
Any chilly afternoon
Smoothie season is over, and chilly fingers and cold noses will need a beverage to stay warm. Try the hot chocolate at Comptoirs de France or Eden Juice Bar – they serve hot chocolate and apple cider in the winter months. Need to get cold before you warm up with a cup of hot chocolate? See What’s Fun In (p26) for a guide on what to explore in Gongti, and then finish up at the French Cultural Centre for a croissant and a warming cup of chocolate goodness.
beijingkids Club Brunch
Meet other families at the inaugural beijingkids Club brunch on
Saturday, November 21 from 11.30am-3pm. Members will enjoy a full seafood buffet-style brunch with games, painting, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy and a kids’ juice corner. For families with kids of all ages. RMB 200 (adults). RMB 100 (kids). Advance purchase
required (book before Wednesday, November 18); call Veronique at 5820 7700 ext 865 or e-mail email@example.com. Open to beijingkids Club members only – to join, visit www.beijing-kids.com.
Taste Restaurant, 2/F, Westin Beijing Chaoyang, 1 Xinyuan Nanlu, Chaoyang District (5922 8888) 朝阳区新源南路1号金茂北京威斯汀大酒店
Give thanks by eating out at one of the many restaurants offering a full Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings. Enjoy a fancy meal at SALT for RMB 288 or an all-American menu at Union Bar & Grille for RMB 220. To make a daytrip out of the holiday, head out to the Mutianyu Great Wall to enjoy a family-style turkey dinner at the Schoolhouse (see opposite page for details). If your family prefers a traditional home-cooked meal, stock up on ingredients at Jenny Lou’s to create your own Thanksgiving banquet. You’ll even find the coveted canned cranberry sauce there.
Hot Pot Noodle Dancing
Any cold night
If your little ones are ready to warm up with hot pot but could use some entertainment while waiting for the food to cook, head to this hot pot place just off South Sanlitun Street. What makes this hotpot more fun than your average dinner? Order the lamian (pulled noodles) and get a performance where a noodle expert will pull a strip of dough into a multi-strand delight, swaying with more agility than a ribbon dancer. Haidilao Hotpot (海底捞) at 2A Baijiazhuang Lu (白家庄路甲2号 ) off Nansanlitun Lu. Don’t forget to keep the kids away from the boiling water in the pot and be mindful of the spice factor of Sichuan cuisine!
Enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch featuring imported wines while
supporting UNICEF, the Magic Hospital, and others. Exquisite Chinese handicrafts, jewelry and other gifts will be sold at the INN Holiday Bazaar. Live performances too. Book tickets at 135 0127 3727. Price TBA. 10.30-2pm. Beijing Marriott Hotel
Beijing Playhouse Theater Camp
Little thespians, costume designers and artists get to do it all at this theater camp! Kids will act, sing, paint sets, create props and design costumes. Register on Sunday, November 29 for the next theater camp (lasting from Dec 28 to Jan 2). The camp culminates with a performance of A Christmas Carol on January 2 at 2pm. For ages 6-13. Registration limited to the first 30 students. RMB 2,500 (includes lunch, snacks and beverages). Instruction and performance in English. Visit www.beijingplayhouse.com for details.
BSB Christmas Fayre
Sat Dec 5
For those who don’t know, a traditional Christmas Fayre is a charity event at which families can experience a little bit of a European Christmas. Try a wide range of food and beverages and browse the stalls for Christmas presents. Stock up on stocking fillers and beautiful gifts. Noon-3pm. RMB 10. Details at elliot.richards @britishschool.org.cn or 8532 3088. British School of Beijing, Sanlitun Campus, www.britishschool.org.cn
Photos by BSB, Beijing Playhouse, Westin Chaoyang and Theodore Scott, Macinate, Colinjackson197, Xybermatthew and Muffet of Flickr