Oh how I wish I had kept a diary when I was in China. Although a lot of my memories are now fading away, one event that remains vivid is June 1st of every year during my elementary school years in China. June 1st is known as 六一国际儿童节 (liùyī guójì értóng jié, International Children’s Day). It’s a holiday dedicated to children (and to bring awareness to child abuse and exploitation). As a little kid, I only remembered the fun part. And so, I want to take you with me down memory lane and then we will go over some activities that you can do if you’re a parent; or if you aren’t, you can always take your inner child out for a treat!



International Children’s Day During My Childhood


A few weeks before June 1st, our class of 30-something students would choose an activity and performance that we would host for the International Children’s Day celebration at our school. Our homeroom teacher often finalized the performance choice and details. We would vote whether we wanted to sing a song, perform a dance, or act out a mini-drama. Then the teacher would select some students and arrange times for rehearsals. We hosted the activity in our classroom for other students to come and enjoy.


Activities would range from Blind Man’s Bluff (摸瞎子, mō xiā zi), The Eagle Catches the Chickens (老鹰捉小鸡, lăo yīng zhuō xiăo jī), Idiom Solitaire (成语接龙, chéngyŭ jiēlóng), Chinese Chess (象棋, xiàngqí), and so much more. Each class would get to host one such activity, and rewards were often handed out for the performances. So, by the end of the day, students would have a bag of goodies if they participated and would have won some of the competitions. The students would rotate in hosting the activity so that everyone would get a chance to go and check out the other activities and shows at the school.










chànggē biăoyăn

singing performance


wŭdăo biăoyăn

dance performance


xìjù biăoyăn

drama performance


értóng jié yóuxì

Children's Day game




1. 摸瞎子 (mō xiā zi) Blind Man’s Bluff


This is a variation on the game of “tag”. The player who is “it” is blindfolded. The player has to catch the next person to stop being “it”.


2. 老鹰捉小鸡 (lăo yīng zhuō xiăo jī) The Eagle Catches the Chickens


A multi-person game where the eagle (only one) tries to catch the chicks hiding behind the Hen. The chicks behind the Hen must hide in a line.


3. 成语接龙 (chéngyŭ jiēlong) Idioms Solitaire


If you haven’t read my previous articles about 成语 (chéngyŭ, Chinese idiom), you have to! Idioms are four-character phrases (sometimes more) that are jam-packed with wisdom and folk stories. They embody the richness of the Chinese language. Idioms Solitaire has multiple variations. One of the most common variation is to use the last character in the previous idiom as the starting character for the next Chengyu.


  • For example: 坐井观 to 下无敌


is the last character in the first idiom 坐井观天, so the next idiom has to start with , such as 天下无敌



zuò jĭng guān tiān (jĭng dĭ zhī wā)


  • Literal Translation: Viewing the sky from the bottom of a well.
  • Meaning: It is used to describe someone who has a limited view of the world.



tiān xià wú dí


  • Literal Translation: No one under the sky matches him as an enemy.
  • Meaning: You’re invincible!


4. 象棋 (xiàngqí): Xiangqi is also known as Chinese Chess


This is a popular strategy board game. Xiangqi is played with two people. Each person has a set of pieces that represents their amy. The end goal is to capture the enemy’s general. Xiangqi is popular among kids as well as adults!


If you’re a parent…


As I got older, I started to better understand why people often say, “Being a child is the best”. If you are now a parent and didn’t get the chance to celebrate International Children’s Day when you were a kid, you can always pass on the blessing of this day to your child or children. Here are some activities you can do with your family.





liùyī értóng jié shí, fùmŭ kĕyĭ dài háizi qù yĭ xià zhè xiē dìfang wán:

On June 1st, parents can take their kid(s) to the following places:




Amusement Park








diànyĭngyuàn kàn diànyĭng

Watch a movie at the movie theater


If they don’t like any of the activities above, you can always spend a day with them at home, being fully present and appreciating their presence and existence.


If you’re not a parent…


Children are gems. I am blessed to “work” with so many amazing children with very caring parents. I have children who are half my age, but seriously, they are twice as intelligent! Sometimes I feel like I am the student. I learn so much from them.


One of the reasons why I continue to teach children is because they remind me to never let your inner child cease to exist. Do not let your curiosity get burned out by your workload. So even if you are not a parent (yet), you can always take your inner child out for a treat.


Do you celebrate International Children’s Day? If you do, how do you celebrate it? Do you remember what International Children’s Day was like when you were young? Share in the comments below, or talk to your italki Chinese teacher and share your teacher’s experience (with your teacher’s permission, of course).


liùyī guójì értóng jié kuàilè!
Happy International Children's Day!


Hero image by Tim Gouw (CC0 1.0)