The Great Wall of China

We’re venturing a little further afield to Beijing for dumplings, Kung Fu, and the Great Wall.

Beijing has been China’s capital since the early 15th century and is thought to have been the largest city in the world until the early 19th. It has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the best known sections of China’s best known landmark: the Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

Setting the scene

We’ve recycled an old Chinese New Year wall hanging, and will be wearing bright red clothing for the day — a colour considered lucky in the Chinese culture.

I’ve found a Spotify playlist of Chinese hip hop music that we’ll put on in the background throughout the day.

We’ve also printed boarding passes and packed a cabin bag for each boy, with their usual travel toys, snacks, water bottles and outfits for the day.


We’re flying into the Beijing Capital International Airport. Our flight leaves after breakfast; our plane is already getting a little grotty and we really shouldn’t be allowing any more food onboard.

We’re kicking off the day with a bit of Shaolin Kung Fu. Kung Fu has been practiced by monks of the Shaolin Temple in central China since the late 5th century and peaked in the 16th and 17th century, when the Shaolin Temple housed over 1,000 warrior-monks who would help defend the ruling Ming Dynasty from rebellions, invaders and pirates. We’ll learn a few moves from the Shaolin Temple Cultural Centre. (Younger children may prefer this cartoon practice session instead.)

Next, we’ll take a quick virtual tour of the Great Wall between Jingshanling and Simatai, which is a well-preserved 11 kilometre stretch located about two hours out of Beijing. We’ll study the barrier walls, watch and beacon towers before attempting to construct a Cardboard Box Wall to defend our lunch from invading forces (Dad … and probably the cat). We haven’t got anything that passes for a bow and arrow, so may have to resort to Nerf guns for weaponry.

After lunch, we’ll settle down for some craft: we’re making paper lanterns to brighten up the room (instructions here). Then we’ll treat ourselves to some screentime: Disney’s Mulan should fit the theme.

Dinner will be steamed dumplings ⁠— theoretically with homemade wrappers and a pork mince filling, but delivery is a good option too!

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