Remember the weary day you dragged the kids off that dreaded long-haul flight and tumbled headlong and wide-eyed into the capital of China? Probably all too well. Whether you’ve just arrived or are about to leave Beijing, have fallen in love with the city or are aching for home shores, there is one thing for certain: Living in Beijing is a completely unique experience, one that passes far too quickly, especially for youngsters.Preserve and celebrate your child’s time in Beijing by using these simple, whimsical memory-keeping ideas. These projects are fast and easy but will be treasured for a lifetime, and all are perfect farewell gifts for friends leaving Beijing.
This idea is particularly good for older kids. The journal can be used for any subject - travel, a school trip, special experiences and events. If your child is a diary-writer, it could simply be a daily account of Beijing life.
Have your child decorate the front of the journal or wrap it in Chinese wrapping paper, using double-sided tape.
For younger and older kids alike, this scrapbook idea is also perfect for the family in general. Using a large scrapbook, have your children create a title page - perhaps “Our China Adventure” or “My Life in Beijing” or “A Mandarin Odyssey.” Decorate the exterior or wrap it in Chinese paper.
A scrapbook is really just that: a book for scrapping and storing of memorabilia. Paste in anything and everything that will lie flat, including photos, and don’t be afraid to layer your pages. You can label certain pages if you like or just periodically record the date as you go. Have kids contribute to this book regularly and watch it grow fat with priceless memories.
Just like a visitor’s book in the doorway of a country manor, this allows kids to revisit their friendships when they return home to ‘real’ life.
Some ideas for a friend’s bio page:
Favorite thing about Beijing:
All you need for this 3D project is your memorabilia and a deep picture frame (available at IKEA, or you can have one made at a framer’s shop).
Print off a photo of your child. You can cover the entire background of the frame with their picture, or you can crop it and add your own clip art and text around the photo using decorative paper or even your childís artwork. You can also add clip art to the inside of the glass for a real 3D effect.
Once the background and photo are in place, allow your child to add their own mementos, toys or souvenirs to the front of the picture, layering them for visual interest.
These cards are quick and easy and make for great gifts. From a large piece of cardstock (available at markets and art supply stores), cut a long strip at least 12cm wide. Fold into a concertina strip, making a sharp crease along the edges. If desired, you can trim the card into a circle or give it rounded corners.
Fast Photo Books
Make quick and easy photo books that kids can use as brag books or as an excuse to revisit their memories. They can be photos of school events, travels, parties - the list is endless.
Print a large (at least 20x25cm) black-and-white picture of a Beijing street scene - the hutongs in summer, Houhai lake in winter, the Great Wall or your child’s favorite place. You could also print one of your child’s special interests.
Now think about the ‘body’ you can use for your child. Is your child into sports? Are they a dancer? Do they like to hike? Decide on your theme and scour the Internet for pictures (preferably drawings, artwork or clipart) that you can print off and cut out.
Glue the body and face of your child onto stiff cardboard and cut out carefully. Using double-sided thick foam tape (available at local markets), place your child into their Beijing scene. The tape raises your child up against the black-and-white photograph, giving them a fantastic 3D effect.
First published in beijingkids magazine and on the beijingkids website. Photos by Luna Zhang.