International Day of Families is observed every year on May 15, and 2024 marks the 30th anniversary of this important initiative. To celebrate International Day of Families, we asked our BASIS International & Bilingual Schools China teachers to share their favorite family activities in and around their cities, and what living in China with kids is like. From cycling along the picturesque lakes and rivers in Hangzhou to indulging in the endless delights of soft play areas in Guangzhou, catch a glimpse into the adventures of our BASIS China families. 


 Exploring East Lake in Wuhan 


My family and I enjoy uncovering hidden gems scattered across Wuhan. Among these treasures, East Lake stands out as a cherished discovery. Here, amidst nature’s embrace, we find solace and serenity. We relish in long hikes, allowing us to not only explore the surroundings but also to relax our minds. Here, we carve out moments for introspection and relaxation. 

The proximity of charming coffee shops and restaurants adds another layer of delight to our excursions. These places not only tantalize our taste buds but also provide cozy retreats where we can unwind. In essence, our sojourns to East Lake encapsulate the perfect blend of natural beauty, culinary delights, and meaningful moments shared with loved ones, enriching our lives with unforgettable experiences. 

Greg McGuire
Kindergarten Teacher
BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Wuhan 

Outdoor Playtime in Wuhan  

Here at BASIS Wuhan, my favorite part of each day is when I finish eating dinner around 6 pm and hear the sound of children playing outside. It’s the sign to my two kids, Rowena (6 years old) and William (4 years old), that they need to finish their vegetables so we can go down and play. We have many families living in faculty housing, and every evening, we meet on the school track to let the children play and chat. Seeing the kids running around, racing their bikes, and playing basketball reminds me of my own childhood when I could run out and play with the neighborhood kids.  

On the weekends, we often go further afield, taking trips to the East Lake or the downtown area. Experiencing these memories not only with my own kids and family but also with other families makes me incredibly gratified that my kids can grow up as part of this vibrant community. 

Steven Cumberworth
Vice Head of Division, Upper School
BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Wuhan 


Dreamy Amusement Park in Chengdu 

One of the places we like to go as a family is Nanhu Dreamland (南湖梦幻岛). It is close to our home, and we always have a good time together as a family. My son enjoys riding, or perhaps being terrified by, the caterpillar roller coaster. He also likes searching for our home from the top of the Ferris wheel, and, of course, eating lots of popcorn all day. 

Bill Belding
Math Teacher
BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Chengdu 

Outdoor Family Gatherings in Chengdu 

As we celebrate International Family Day, it’s a time to reflect on the importance of family and community in our lives. For many of us living abroad, being away from our loved ones can sometimes make us keenly aware of the things we miss the most—the simple joys of spending time together, sharing laughter, and creating cherished memories.

Family gathering in Chengdu, China

One of our favorite pastimes is gathering with our family and friends at the park, bringing delicious food to share, and engaging in activities like flying kites. These moments of togetherness in the outdoors not only bring us closer but also provide a sense of rejuvenation after a long and tiring week.

Being surrounded by loved ones and having a strong sense of community helps us feel connected, supported, and a part of something bigger than ourselves. It is in these moments of bonding and shared experiences that we find solace, joy, and strength to navigate life’s challenges.

So, as we mark this special day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty of family and community, whether near or far. Let’s cherish the moments of laughter, the warmth of togetherness, and the healing power of nature that surrounds us. Happy International Family Day to all. May the love and bonds we share with our families and communities continue to uplift and inspire us every day. 

Neressa Naidoo
Math Teacher
BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Chengdu 

Horseback Riding in Chengdu  

As a family having just moved to Chengdu, we have found that this wonderful city has so many outdoor activities to offer! We try to participate in as many new types of activities as possible! Our most recent activity was horseback riding. Each of my family members has tried it, and it has been a blast! My youngest son tried for the first time and was very comfortable and excited to ride on the horse. He’s only two years old but absolutely nailed his first ride! My older children rode horses in the past and feel pretty confident every time they do it again. My wife must’ve been the most excited of all of us! She always loves doing activities with the children instead of just being an onlooker. We’ve always enjoyed nature as a family, and horseback riding suits us very nicely. We look forward to whatever new activities may come during our time in Chengdu! 

Andrew Dupre
Founding Speech & Debate Coach 

BASIS International & Bilingual Schools Chengdu  


Cycling the Lakes and Rivers Around Hangzhou 

I like to be outdoors and try to encourage the kids to get out and about as much as possible. We will often cycle around West Lake or along the Qiantang River when we have some free time at the weekend, or, if we are feeling more adventurous, cycle around one of the lakes on the outskirts of the city. There are some nice rides the further afield you travel from Hangzhou. There is nothing more pleasant than the sun starting to set over the water as you go. It is also one of those activities that ensures that the kids will sleep in the car on the way home! 

Tom Owen
Primary Dean
BASIS International School Hangzhou

Exploring Cultural Landscapes and Culinary Delights in Hangzhou 

Expat kids in China enjoying food in Hangzhou

Hello from our campus in Hangzhou, a city that beautifully blends tradition and modernity! One of our family’s favorite activities is visiting the iconic West Lake. This UNESCO World Heritage site is not just a park but a cultural landscape that encapsulates the essence of Hangzhou. We love strolling around the lake, taking in the serene views, and enjoying the seasonal blooms. It’s a place where we can unwind, connect with nature, and create lasting memories. 

But that’s not all Hangzhou has to offer. This city is a gastronomic paradise, and exploring its diverse food scene is another family favorite. We particularly enjoy the variety of international restaurants available, where we can savor Middle Eastern, Western, and other global cuisines. The attached photo captures a moment of joy as my daughters relish their food, a testament to Hangzhou’s culinary delights. 

Whether it’s a leisurely walk in the park or a culinary journey through the city, Hangzhou never fails to delight us with its charm. We feel incredibly fortunate to call this city our home away from home.  

Jake Smith
Dean of Student Activities, Grade 8 English & Grade 4 ELL Teacher 
BASIS International School Hangzhou   


Kids’ Play Paradise in Guangzhou 

Children playing in soft play area in Guangzhou

Kids playground in Guangzhou, ChinaAs a father of two, I find China a serendipitous place to raise my little rugrats. My daughter is two and my son is four; in the USA, we may struggle to find suitable activities for their age range or something that gets them excited and moving. Here in China, we love to go to the soft play areas that are popular all around the country. When sightseeing takes its toll on the attention span of the little ones, we find that these soft play areas give them endless hours of kinesthetic joy in a safe/controlled environment! Not only are they everywhere, but there are so many to choose from. Some soft-play areas have mazes, multiple levels of soft-foam corridors, costumes, and play equipment where mom and dad can have a well-deserved respite or get in on the fun alongside their little kiddos. Here at BASIS International School Guangzhou, we even have a place just 15 minutes from our house that is connected to a petting zoo! 

Ed Winsted
English Teacher
BASIS International School Guangzhou  

Fun-filled Shopping Malls on Hot Days in Guangzhou 

Our family loves to be outside in the parks of Guangzhou with a picnic; however, if it’s too hot or raining the next best thing is walking around the shopping malls. We find that the shopping malls in Guangzhou have such a variety of activities, such as soft plays, food, desserts, fun photo booths, ice skating, arcades, and more. Our favorite would be the one under Tian He Sports Centre in Zhu Jiang New Town, it’s so interesting, and when our family came to visit from England, this was also their favorite spot! 

Kimberly Xie-Smith
Drama Teacher
BASIS International School Guangzhou 


Day Trip to Dameisha Beach from Shenzhen 

The J-Team had an amazing time during the Labor Day holiday, even though the weather was overcast. We kicked off the day early and took subway line 8 to Dameisha. After arriving, we went on a bike ride, explored shops and restaurants, and admired the beautiful beaches. We also had some time to relax and people-watch. 

Later that day, we visited friends, had delicious food, played games, and listened to music. The girls even put on a drama performance with their friends, which was a lot of fun. Despite the weather, everyone had a fantastic day filled with love, laughter, and good times. 

Jack Marsala 
Homeroom Teacher/ECE, Co-Chair of ECE 
BASIS Bilingual School Shenzhen 

Seaside Park in Shenzhen 

My son loves two things more than anything else at 20 months—stomping around in the water and finding stones and shells. Our favorite thing to do as a family is to head to Shenzhen Bay Park (深圳湾公园) and splash around in the water! 

Ross Salerno
Science teacher
BASIS International School Shenzhen

Emily Ning
Chinese teacher
BASIS International School Shenzhen 


Family Fun Extravaganza in Nanjing 

Kids at Wondermall in Nanjing

My boys adore Wonder Mall. It’s an indoor fair, game place, and all-around fun time extravaganza for the whole family. I have to admit, the VR is so much fun; you can hear my laughter booming around the building! It’s our favorite place to go and just be kids, big and small. This place is great for all weather; you can shelter from the cold, rain, or blazing summer sun. 

Logan and Phoenix like the big rides and are very brave. I love the fact that it’s so safe, and we can get a coffee as they play. It is every kid’s dream, flashing lights, video games, bouncing play, big rides, and so much more. This is our ‘go-to’ recommendation for anyone new to Nanjing. 

Bethany Mason
Chair of Fine Arts, Performing Arts Teacher
BASIS International School Nanjing 


 Exploring a Geological Park in Yunnan 

When travelling to China, we honestly had no idea just how vast it is. One of our favorite pastimes is travelling and exploring within China! These pics are from our last hike, about six hours, along a geological park trail built into the sides of a mountain range near Dali, Yunnan province. There is so much variety and beauty to be found in this country, all just a cheap flight or train away! 

Matthew Ryan
ELL Chair
BASIS International School Guangzhou 


China is full of myriad fun and exciting activities for families and children, as our BASIS International & Bilingual Schools China have shared. Their stories reflect the spirit of adventure and togetherness that defines both their teaching experiences and family lives across the broad landscape of China. As we celebrate these educators and their contributions, we’re reminded of the profound impact that teaching with BASIS International Schools has had, not just on their careers, but on their families and communities as well.

For more information on teaching with BASIS International Schools, visit our careers website.

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