Passport to Fun - China

Travel the world from the comfort of your living room with this Passport to Fun series!  Whether you use these ideas as a date night, family fun night, or homeschool study, you'll be sure to have fun and bring a bit of the Chinese culture right into your own home!

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You'll remember that I came up with a pretty awesome idea for G's Christmas gift last year.

If you're new here and don't know what I'm talking about, then feel free to wander on over to this post to read all about it.

I'll wait.

Even though we spent all of 2016 traveling to new countries each month, we had so much fun I decided to extend this series indefinitely - so many cool places to learn about and we've even got a list of places we want to return to in the future!

For our next "trip," we went to China - that way, we could sync up our visit with a Chinese New Year celebration!

January - China

Set the Stage

Time to turn the page! Once I added the next stamp to G's passport, I left it out where he'd find it the next morning before he went to work so he'd see where we were going,:

A new year, a new page in the passport!

What to Decorate With

The flag thing is our go-to wall art for each trip.  It's something fairly simple for Gv and I to do together, uses supplies we already have, and still lends an air of the locale.

I used to have a fan from China's pavilion at Epcot, but I couldn't find it and am assuming I donated it somewhere along the line, even though it had my name written across it in Chinese.

That was okay, because we just decided that all the crafts we had planned would be our decorations for the month.

What to Dress Like

I feel like we totally failed our outfits this month - we were actually all feeling under the weather and not so much in the mood for any extra effort.

We tried to create Hanfu costumes, but ended up just pretty much looking like we had on kimonos (so expect us to pretty much wear the same things when we travel to Japan)... 

Hey, at least we were comfy...

I actually used to have the perfect dress for this month's trip, but since I never had an occasion to wear the thing for years and years, I finally donated it. I loved that thing, though. Wore it to a high school reunion and several weddings:

Man, I loved that dress. Love the cousin, too, but luckily I still get to see her on a regular basis.

What to Listen to

I created a playlist for this month based off of whatever related songs I already had on my ipod:

Enya's China Roses, Billy Joel's Great Wall of China, Veggie Tales' Do the Moo Shoo and the Chinese Dance from The Nutcracker complemented my Asian Dreamland, Globetrekker and Silk Road Journey albums for the night.

What to Eat

I had a whole meal planned out for this trip that included homemade hot & sour soup, bitter melon chips, eggrolls, fried rice, beef with broccoli and some green tea ice cream.

But then I had a bad day and G decided he'd just pick up some Chinese take-out on the way home.

We still had the hot & sour soup (which Gv loves) followed by some dumplings and main dishes of pork with oyster sauce (G) and beef with garlic sauce (me, of course) and plenty of rice. 

We had fortune cookies for dessert and it was a fun treat.

I won! (meaning I got the best fortune - can you tell which one it is?) We let Gv have two, which is good, because her first fortune was just plain stupid (can you tell which one that is, too?)

A few days later, I made up a batch of the scallion pancakes that I'd wanted to originally try for this meal, so at least I didn't totally neglect using our kitchen for part of this trip.

They were really delicious, too:


(scallion pancakes)

I think I'm going to be making a lot more of these - they'd make great wraps, too.

What You Need

1 1/2 cups wheat flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 chopped green onions

1/2 cup boiling water

2 Tablespoons sesame oil

What You Do

1.  Whisk together the flour and salt, then add the onions.

2.  Add the boiling water and mix until dough comes together.

3.  Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, then plop into an oiled bowl and cover for an hour (or a day...)

4.  Divide the dough into 8 balls, then roll one into a 6-inch circle onto a floured surface (you'll want to keep flouring throughout the process).

Make sure you keep your rolling surface well-floured!

5.  Brush circle with a bit of sesame oil, then roll it up like a cigar

This is the perfect task for little hands to help out with - it's just like Play Doh!

6.  Next, roll that up like a snail.

7.  Squash this spiral down a bit, then roll it out into a 6-inch circle, repeat #5 & 6, then roll dough into a 6-inch circle again. (This reminds me of croissants!)

8.  Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.

9.  Swirl some oil into a pan or electric skillet and heat to medium-high.

10.  Fry the pancake for about two minutes per side until edges are golden.

11. Serve immediately and with a dipping sauce of vinegar, coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and maybe a drop or two of chili oil.

11. Wish that you'd doubled the recipe, because you'll be fighting over the last one.

What to Do

We did a whole bunch of activities for this month's trip.

First, we made a lantern out of red construction paper:

Fold paper in half, then cut slits almost all the way across. Join the uncut edges together with tape and stand up or hang your lantern.

Then, we made these cool dragon puppets:

Gv's red dragon

My (big surprise) rainbow dragon

We painted the Chinese characters of our names:

This actually says "Mommy"

Gv's says "Rorschach Test" {grin}

We held a race using chopsticks to move pom poms from one box to an ice cube tray:

I don't know how she managed to get a pom pom this way...

...but she did!

We played a rousing game of Chinese Checkers:

I totally won the game, btw!

And finally, we watched this video of Chinese acrobats.

This is just one of the zillion "Chinese Acrobat Acts" videos you can find to watch!

What to Read

Gv and I have been reading The Cricket in Times Square this past month - totally coincidental, but a perfect choice. We also read our Ms. Frizzle Imperial China book, The Story About Ping, The 5 Chinese Brothers, and one of Gv's absolute favorites: Tiki Tiki Tembo.

What to Watch

Mulan was what we watched with Gv, but other kid-friendly ideas are Kung Fu Panda, The Karate Kid, or either the original (fabulous) or updated versions of Around the World in 80 Days.

Grown-ups can watch The Joy Luck Club, Empire of the Sun, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Man with the Golden Gun, Tomorrow Never Dies, Rush Hour or any other Jackie Chan movie.

George had never seen a Jackie Chan movie, so we had a Rush Hour movie marathon.

And that wrapped up our "trip." It was another huge success and we can't wait to jet off to someplace new next month!

Travel all over the world, without leaving your living room!  Come back each month to see where we head next.  Can you think of any other ideas to add for a trip to China?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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Want more?  Check out some of our other trips:

Love this idea, but want the easy, made-for-you-and-all-you-do-is-print-it version?  Click here to get your own pack and see what inspired me to create this series!

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  1. This series is lots of fun. I really enjoy how much effort and fun your family has on every trip. Enjoy your week. Leanna

  2. Hi Lisa,
    I was in China last summer.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  3. Hi,
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  4. Looks like so much fun, and I really love the family picture! Thanks for linking this up at Booknificent Thursday on!

  5. Lisa I love that white dress you had. I also had a blouse with that kind of neck. If I were to do a post on China I'd probably overdose on chinese food. At least that's what I was eating a lot of on my recent visit. Yum!!