1) Celebrate Chinese New Year
This year, Spring Festival (春节) falls on February 10, and you know what that means: a sea of red decorations, firecrackers going off until dawn, a mass exodus out of the city – and tons of great food. If you’re sticking around Beijing for Chinese New Year, there are several family-friendly events happening around town at TreeHouse Family Cafe and Playground, Atelier, and The Schoolhouse at Mutianyu. For details, see Events.
2) Help Kids in Need at the New Life Music Festival
On January 19, head to Green T. House Living for a music festival featuring student performers from WAB, ISB, CISB, Harrow, and Daystar. The concert covers a wide variety of genres and all proceeds benefit the New Life Learning Center, an orphanage and learning center for local children in need. For ticket information, see Events.
3) Delve Into a Temple Fair
You haven’t truly experienced Chinese New Year if you’ve never been to a temple fair; these bustling cultural events bring together traditional entertainment, handicrafts, and foods during the holidays. Though packed, they’re worth attending at least once for the sheer excitement of rubbing shoulders with Beijingers of all stripes. Stay tuned on www.beijing-kids.com for a roundup of temple fairs. If crowds aren’t your thing, schools like Dulwich College Beijing and Children’s House International Montessori Kindergarten have their own versions. For more information on the latter, see Events.
4) Cheer on the Home Team at Super Bowl XLVII
It’s time to beat the winter chill with some Super Bowl heat! On February 4, join beijingkids at Kerry Hotel Beijing for the American football event of the year, with a live broadcast of Super Bowl XLVII (complete with commercials and half-time show),
appearances by NFL players and cheerleaders, a silent charity auction, signed
memorabilia giveaways, and more. For full details, see Events.
5) Head for the Snow-Covered Hills
With winter in full swing, it’s time to hit the slopes at one of Beijing’s many surrounding ski resorts. O’le Ski operates weekend trips and day trips for individuals, groups, and families to Duolemeidi Ski Resort, with competitively-priced packages for people with or without equipment. Or, turn to Weekend Warrior for our top places to ski and snowboard.
6) Ward Off those Winter Pounds
It’s easy to complain about the cold and kick back on the couch, but you’d be missing out on fun winter sports and bonding time with the family. Join some of the many sports workshops and camps happening in Beijing, such as Black Tiger Fight Club’s junior Muay Thai and MMA workshops and a special tennis winter camp with US coach Russ Bucklin. See Events for more info.
7) Talk the Talk
If you’re not heading to warmer climes during the holidays, now is an excellent time to work on learning and self-improvement. Check out YCIS Beijing’s parenting workshops for adults, including talks on finding your parenting style, supporting English learning, solidifying phonics, and more. HoK hosts a talk on multilingualism in early childhood, while DCB presents on the importance of play in a child’s development. For details, see Events.
8) Dine Your Way Through Beijing
Are you a foodie family? You’re in luck! Our annual food issue is jam-packed with reviews of the city’s 50 most family-friendly restaurants, including information on kid-friendly foods, highchair and changing table availability, and flexibility in modifying dishes. Enjoy old favorites like Element Fresh and Crêpanini, as well as newcomers like Wagas and Royal Smushi House. To dig in, flip to Feature.
9) Run Rampant at Indigo Mall
Located in Jiuxianqiao, one of Beijing’s newest malls has tons going for it. Stores include Page One Bookstore, Gap, H&M, Babyland, and Kidsland. For eats, stop by Hercules, Ganges, Bibigo, or Beijing duck restaurant Xihe Yayuan. Combine a day trip to Indigo Mall with a lazy Sunday stroll at 798 Art District. Just be sure to layer up!
10) Ice Skate on Houhai Lake
You knew this one was coming – after all, ice skating on Houhai Lake is possibly Beijing’s most iconic winter activity. Locals and expats of all ages glide, wobble, trip, and slide their way around the frozen-over lake every year. Take a spin on one of Houhai’s peculiar ice chairs or bikes if you’re not too steady on your feet. The ticket price includes skate rental, but it’s worth bringing your own if you have particularly large or wide feet.
RMB 10 (Mon-Fri), RMB 15 (Sat-Sun), RMB 20 (ice bike rental), RMB 2 (locker rental). Daily 8am-5pm. 50 Houhai Bei’an (west of Yinding Qiao), Xicheng District 什刹海溜冰场，西城区后海北沿50号（银锭桥西)
This article originally appeared on p14 of the beijingkids January/February 2013 issue. View it in PDF form here or contact email@example.com to find out where you can pick up your free copy.