CFA’s two-week courses are tailored to teach budding designers how to sketch silhouettes, spot trends, create storyboards, drape and sew and much more. By the end of the ten sessions (10am-2pm), campers will have designed and sewn an original piece which they’ll then model down a runway and take part in a photoshoot. Visit catalinacalin.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And check out some one-day workshops and classes
Photograph: courtesy Multisport
17. Multisport Sunday Morning Camp
From gymnastics to help build strength, control and coordination to boxing classes in partnership with Golden Gloves, youngsters can try their hand at a whole mix of sport at these Sunday morning sessions. To sign up, call 5465 5715, email email@example.com or follow ‘MultiSport’ on WeChat.
Ages: Four years old and up.
Dates: Every Sun (9am-midday).
Price: 200RMB (one-hour class); 500RMB (full morning with three one-hour classes).
18. Green Steps Outdoor Activities
Get your nature lovers into the great outdoors with this eco-group. Workshops include the likes of wild cooking and ‘Plastic Pirates’ that teaches about the journey of waste and its impact on the local ecosystem (while doubling up as a cleanup). Follow ‘Green_Steps’ on WeChat.
Ages: Three to 12 years old.
Dates: Times and dates vary by session.
Price: 400RMB (one adult and one child).
19. PWS Kids Club
Where better to fine-tune your young artist’s motor skills and creative thinking than the pottery wheel? Ceramic studio PWS encourages kids to get hands-on (and messy) while making something from scratch. Add WeChat ID ‘13564377882’ or follow ‘pws-sh’.
Ages: Five to 13 years old.
Dates: Sat and Sun mornings (10.30am-midday).
Price: From 1,200RMB for four sessions to 14,400RMB for 48.
When the sun's shining, explore the great outdoors at these parks
Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe
An all-round classic Chinese park, Zhongshan has requisite leafy walkways, ballroom dancers and tai chi groups. It’s also got plenty of grassy space to fly a kite, chuck a frisbee around or put a rug down and settle in. It often gets busy, but since many come to let their children go wild (or let loose themselves), no one minds a few more running around.
Easy to reach from most of downtown Shanghai (hop on Line 2 wherever you are and it won’t be long before you arrive), this huge Pudong park is a popular spot for families for good reason. It’s got all kinds of activities to help kids burn off some of that youthful energy – green spaces to run around in, pedal boats on the lake, even a running track. If you’re looking for some quiet time with little ones, take a relaxing stroll through the flower gardens.
Photograph: Grey Elf
Escape the big-city vibes for a day of bucolic bliss at this verdant forest park. Unlike many of its more central counterparts, you can do what you want on the grass (though there are designated kite-flying areas) and it’s got barbecue pits.
A green escape in the heart of downtown Shanghai, what Fuxing Park lacks in size it makes up for in character. The charming French-style park is usually abuzz with dancing ayis, musicians and tai chi groups. If you’re looking to picnic away from the action that surrounds the main lawn, head towards the (slightly quieter) northeastern corner of the park by the Marx and Engels statue and you’ll be able to base yourself just a short walk from the Yandang Lu cafés and convenience stores for extra supplies.
One for future naturalists, this impressive botanical garden in Songjiang district covers a whopping 200 hectares (or two million square metres) and houses over 9,000 species of plants. It’s the perfect place to soak up some natural beauty.
Get to know the city from all angles with top family-friendly tours
Photograph: courtesy Shanghai Insiders
Cover serious ground cruising through Shanghai’s old neighbourhoods and hidden gems in a vintage Beijing Jeep with one of the city’s coolest tour companies, Shanghai Insiders. The guides are well-practised in recounting interesting tidbits and lesser-known history while winding through the city’s streets from sight to sight. They’ve also got child car seats if needed and can tailor itineraries for younger guests (kids below 12 need to be accompanied by at least one adult).
In a bid to help preserve and raise awareness of Shanghai’s vibrant past, heritage society Historic Shanghai has been piecing together and passing on stories from the city’s Golden Age and beyond for two decades. Hosting talks and walks that sprawl all over the city and cover everything from the revolutionaries who shaped Shanghai to the history behind the old lanes, they’re great for history-mad teens.
The customised tour specialists over at Bespoke Travel Company are putting on a special lineup of family-friendly activities to get your youngsters exploring the city and beyond this summer. Currently, there’s a DIY Bundside scavenger hunt in the works – a booklet that offers a guide to the neighbourhood with questions to answer and info to hunt down. They’re also planning a series of kid-friendly mini-breaks, including the Secret Suzhou day-trip that winds around the backstreets of the city with a local tour guide, as well as longer breaks like the Guilin Getaway that offers hiking, biking and more.
Rainy days dampening your spirits? Let your kids blow off some steam at indoor play centres
Photograph: courtesy Mini Mars
Organised chaos reigns at sprawling play paradise, Mini Mars. Found beneath sports bar Cages on the first floor of Jing’an Sports Centre, it’s got obstacle courses, foam pits, slides, dressing-up areas, circuit tracks... basically everything kids need to throw themselves about for a couple of action-packed hours. There’s also a less rambunctious baby zone for tots under two.
29. Kerry Adventure Zone
Kerry Hotel Pudong’s Adventure Zone is the sort of play area that makes you wish you were eight years old again. There’s a great jungle gym, ball pool, three fun slides and a range of various themed party rooms for kids to run riot in. A small café next door provides a more sedate spot to unwind for waiting parents. Pair it with brunch at The MEAT
for free one-time entry.
Photograph: courtesy Twinkle Premium Kids Club
30. Twinkle Premium Kids Club
A treat for parents and kids alike, Twinkle Kids is a high-end indoor play area and quality café (with actually decent coffee and food) that should definitely be on your hitlist. There are a few locations dotted across the city, including an expansive flagship in the Shanghai Centre and its ever-popular Xintiandi space (pictured). The play areas have bouncy castles, ball pits, mini mock supermarkets and kitchens, karaoke stages and so on.
31. Peppa Pig World of Play
If you’ve got little ones obsessed with Peppa and co, this 1,100 square-metre play area is a winner. It’s ten zones are set up to look like scenes from the programme – Peppa’s house, George’s fort, Grandpa Pig’s garden and the ‘mud puddle’ (a firm favourite). It’s also got a load of activities to keep kids entertained while teaching about responsibilities, like helping Mummy Pig with the shopping, delivering mail for Zoe Zebra or learning to recycle in Peppa’s kitchen.
... and some of Shanghai's best kid-friendly museums
Photographs: Exhibition View of Epson TeamLab无界美术馆: TeamLab Borderless Shanghai, 2019, Shanghai, China © TeamLab. TeamLab is represented by Pace Gallery.
Explore the whimsical wonderland that is Tokyo-based digital art collective’s first outpost outside of Japan. A sensory overload of interactive exhibitions (think brightly coloured ‘forests’ of owers) this is one you and the kids will easily lose yourselves in.
This colossal museum is perhaps the best place in the city (and maybe even the country) for kids to discover all corners of the natural world. With interactive exhibits for young kids to more in-depth exhibitions for older ones, it houses fossil and taxidermy collections, panoramas on ancient agriculture, ethnic minorities’ traditional clothing and much more.
School might be out, but you can still put your kids’ (and your own) brains to the test at the immersive Museum of Optical Illusions. Here nothing is quite as it seems: rooms go topsy-turvy, heads float on platters, you can see your own face in kaleidoscopic patterns and more. There are also a load of puzzles to solve. Make sure your phone is fully charged – this one's all about the photo ops.
Part of the Shanghai Museum of Glass Park, KMoG is set up as a ‘glass city’. Upon entry, little explorers are given their own map so they can move about the space independently. A trip here is supposed to be an intuition-based experience, all in a supervised setting where touching something won’t end in tears.
The perfect hangout for history buffs in the making, this oldie-but-a-goodie packs in a huge collection of propaganda poster art and old Shanghai commercial posters from 1949-79. The original pieces on display were created by some of the best artists at the time.
Or settle in for a movie marathon with the whole family
Image: courtesy Pixar Animation Studios
37. Inside Out
Prepare for a roller coaster of emotions is this Pixar flick. The key characters are actually a little girl’s feelings – Disgust, Joy, Sadness, to name a few – who accompany her on an unexpected move. Clever, charming and gut-bustingly funny, this is a movie for the whole crew. Available on Disney +.
38. My Neighbor Totoro
Studio Ghibli’s ageless movie is a delightful way to spend a couple of hours as a family. Two little girls move with their father to a remote new home in the country, and gradually become aware that something’s stirring in the trees outside. Available on Netflix.
In this cult classic fairytale, a teenage girl is forced to enter a fantasy world and solve a wild labyrinth in order to rescue her brother from the Goblin King. It sounds dark, but the plot is really just for director Jim Henson to delight us with all manner of strange puppet creatures and musical numbers (little ones will be singing 'Magic Dance' for weeks). Available on Netflix.
40. Fantastic Mr Fox
Wes Anderson takes on Roald Dahl’s tale of Mr Fox – a dapper chap trying to protect his family from danger and his foes, three cider-swilling farmers, Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Available on Amazon Prime.
One for teens, Boyhood is a sweeping portrait of childhood, the teenage years and parenthood in all their glory, pain and messiness, it’s a uniquely relatable movie whether you’re 15 or 50. Available on Netflix.