China Institute’s We All Live in the Forbidden City (WALFC) program offers a series of interactive children’s workshops that can be brought to schools, museums, and libraries. Led by the program’s experienced teachers, students will learn about Chinese history and culture through creative activities, interactive storytelling, animated videos, and group discussions. By exploring the core values that are at the center of each workshop, such as the influence of nature in Chinese art, and drawing comparisons to their own lives, students will learn to appreciate not only Chinese culture, but the world around them. Each workshop is 1 hour long.

To apply or to speak to us about this program, please email [email protected]

The Palace is like a Big Forest:

In this interactive workshop children will learn about the largest wooden architectural structure and largest enclosed palace in the world: the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. Students will learn how the inspiration for building the palace came from nature and they will have the chance to design their own palace. Through additional games, movement activities, discussion, and an animated video, children will learn not only how nature influenced and inspires Chinese culture and the building of the Forbidden City, but also how nature can inspire and nurture us in our daily lives.

How Are You, Mr. Emperor?

In “How Are You, Mr. Emperor?” students explore the life of Chinese emperors in the Forbidden City and what it means to be a good leader and citizen. Through discussion and watching an animated video children learn about the emperors’ daily life and responsibilities. By playing a game, they will think about the benefits and limits of power. A group writing activity will help students explore the virtues of good leaders (and good people). Through additional group activities, children will think about their own good qualities, what they would do if they had a lot of power, and might realize that an emperor’s life was not as easy as we might think.

The Emperor’s Big Family

In this workshop, students will discover what life was like inside the court of the Forbidden City and how it resembled one big family. Through discussions, a game, and a role-playing exercise, they will learn how the imperial court functioned and exercise problem-solving skills. By learning about the duties of people inside the palace, students will learn to appreciate individual contributions and the importance of collaborative efforts. Finally, by filling out a clever questionnaire, students will reflect on their own talents and interests, and how they can benefit their communities.

Bowls of Happiness

By studying the art of Chinese porcelain, students will discover how bowls are made and learn how to appreciate them as works of art. They will learn about auspicious symbols found in Chinese culture (such as bats, butterflies, and peaches) and explore their meanings, which serve as expressions of caring between people. Using improvised Chinese song, an animated video, and a fun game, they will learn about the Chinese language and culture, especially how beautiful elements in nature influenced the designs on Chinese artworks. Lastly, students will learn and draw the symbol for “longevity” and design their own bowl for a special person.