The Best Classes and Activities for Kids in Hong Kong
As a parent, you very quickly learn that child development experts agree on virtually nothing. From the get-go, your sleep deprived brain is befuddled by conflicting advice about the best routine for your newborn, and this can last all the way until your baby has turned into a teenager, and you find yourself reading yet another article telling you the best way to handle their moods. And that’s the kicker about parenting – there is no right way.
However, amongst this quagmire of contradictory opinions, there does appear to be one general consensus: the importance of sport. Whether it is a tool to help tackle the growing problems of childhood obesity and diabetes, or as a method to help develop self-confidence, focus and teamwork skills, or simply as a way to help ease the difficulties many children can face fitting-in in the playground – taking up a sport, be it competitive or not, can be invaluable. The trick is sometimes just finding the activity, team, club or the coach that works for them.
Luckily in Hong Kong, there is no shortage of options! So, whether you are new to Hong Kong, or your kids just fancying trying their hands at something different, here is a round-up of some of the great sporting options out there:
ESF Sports – Basketball
ESF provide comprehensive basketball coaching for all keen ballers out there, starting with their mini-basketball programme for primary-aged kids right through to their after-school and elite academy programmes for tweens and teens. Coaching focuses on developing SAQ (Speed, Agility & Quickness), Technical Skill and Game Play, and for talented players who want to specialise in the sport, there is the chance to take part in external competitions both at home and overseas.
Location: Various locations across HK Island, Kowloon and the New Territories
Age: 3 – 16 years
Hong Kong Basketball Academy
Set up as a North-American style basketball school, with international and multicultural influences, the Hong Kong Basketball Academy looks to develop high-character, responsible athletes that share their love of the game. In order to join the academy, students need to attend a trial class, where their level of skill will be determined, before being invited to join an appropriate class.
Location: Various locations on HK Island
Age: 8 – 18 years
YMCA Eagle Basketball Training Scheme
Alongside its other great classes, the YMCA has teamed up with the Hong Kong Basketball League Division A1 EAGLE Team to develop an on-going training scheme that looks to develop young players into the professionals of the future. Instruction is in Cantonese, although it can be supplemented in English, and for more information you can email: [email protected]
Location: TST, Kowloon
Cycling, Roller-Blading and Skate-Boarding
If wheels and speed are your kid’s thing, they may want to check these options out:
The Cycling Association of Hong Kong
From cycling proficiency courses to BMXing and mountain biking, the HKCA has it covered. In addition to training courses, they also run a Youth Development Scheme which aims to discover athletes with potential in cycling and providing them with the necessary training.
Location: Kwai Fong, The New Territories
Checker In-line Skating School
If roller-blading sounds appealing, it might be worth trying out these in-line skating classes. The focus for beginners is to master the 10 foundation skills essential for safe and effective skating, before moving on to develop speed skating skills, and eventually racing technique. Instruction is mainly in Cantonese, but can be supplemented in English when necessary. Students wear helmets and protective pads throughout the lessons, which are available to borrow for free. Skates can also be rented at a cost of HKD$30 a lesson, or you can buy all you need at the school.
Location: Tai Koo, HK Island
Skate-boarders will love this air-conditioned, indoor skatepark – away from the heat and humidity – and there are hour-long lessons available here too, you just need to book a week in advance. Skaters can bring their own equipment, although boards and helmets are available to hire for beginners.
Location: Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Age: Students as young as 4 years old have attended lessons here, although the ideal age is probably around 8 years and up.
Whether your child is a budding ballerina or a hopeful hip-hop star, they’ll not find themselves short of choices when comes to dance schools in Hong Kong. For ballet, the Jean M Wong School of Ballet is an ever-popular choice, with classes across the territory and a specific class for boys, taught by male dancers. The SDM Jazz and Ballet Academie also runs well-respected classes across Hong Kong, following the Royal Academy of Dance examination system, whereas if your child prefers to follow the classical Russian Vaganova system, the Russian Ballet School may well be for them. Other great options for dancers are:
Academy of Jazz
With a 100% examination pass rate, the Academy of Jazz has rightfully earned its reputation as a top notch dance school, with classes in Modern Jazz, Jazz Funk, Tap and Hip Hop. Students follow a progressive modern dance syllabus that incorporates all the technical elements needed to become a professional dancer, with a huge splash of style and creative fun along the way.
Location: Pok Fu Lam, Mei Foo and Ma On Shan
Age: 16 months – Adult
Dance for Joy HK Ltd
Funky Dance and Hip Hop classes are available here, including specific classes for teens, and there is also the chance for primary-aged kids to join the Cheer Squad, which combines basic gymnastics with cheerleading.
Location: Tung Chung, Lantau with a Kowloon location planned to open soon.
This popular dance school teaches Disco Freestyle, Jazz Funk, Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tap and Zumba at over 14 venues around Hong Kong. Alongside classes and in-school productions, dancers are also given the opportunity to strut their stuff at large events, which in the past have included the Chinese New Year Parade and Rugby Sevens’.
Location: Various locations across Hong Kong, Kowloon, the New Territories and in Discovery Bay.
Age: 18 months – Adult
In addition to running great classes for toddlers and pre-schoolers, this kid’s gym also has Zumba© Kids Jr sessions for 3 years through to tweens which are great for getting fit, building stamina and having fun.
Location: Sheung Wan, HK Island
Age: 3 – 12 year olds
Red Shoe Dance Company
Specialising in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop and AcroDance, the mission here is to provide their young students with the essential tools for a career in dance and the performing arts.
Location: Wong Chuk Hang and Central, Hong Kong Island
O’Conner Barton Irish Dance
If your kids fancy learning a social form of dance, they may well enjoy the Irish dance lessons on offer here. All dancers will be taught by a qualified teacher and will learn self-discipline and dedication, whilst also getting fit and having fun.
Location: Various locations across HK Island, the New Territories and Lantau
Age: 3 – Adult
Hong Kong Sport Fencing Union
This fencing club helps young people understand that sportsmanship, respect for participants, and dignity in the face of adversity are more important than winning the contest. It also encourages fencers to live in the moment and develop fast reactions and coordination.
Location: Causeway Bay, HK Island
Age: 5 – Adult
i-FENCING ALLIANCE CLUB
Since 2005, i-Fencing Alliance Club has been developing a vibrant community of fencers. Classes here teach sportsmanship, perseverance and problem-solving skills in this large, bright studio.
Location: Fo Tan/Sha Tin, New Territories
Age: 4 – Adult
All of the extra-curricular sports activities held at the Canadian International School are open to non-students, and their gymnastics classes are particularly praised amongst those in the know. Alongside the fun classes for beginners, there are lessons that allow serious gymnasts to take their tumbling and vaulting to the next level, following the Australian Gymnastics National Development Programme.
Location: CDNIS, Aberdeen, HK Island
Age: 4 +
ESF aims to develop their gymnastic students’ strength, stamina, suppleness and discipline in these fun and enjoyable classes. For high flyers, there are also trampoline lessons.
Location: Various locations across HK Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.
Age: 4 -14 years
The well-regarded gymnastics courses on offer here have been developed by Mr. Danny, a former international gymnast and judge, and are taught by experienced and certified coaches. There are classes for beginners, although talented and committed students also have the possibility of being selected for interschool meets in Hong Kong and friendly meets in mainland China.
Location: Hong Kong International School, Repulse Bay, HK Island (open to non-HKIS students)
Age: 2.5 +
3-year old beginners right through to advanced gymnasts can enjoy the gymnastics and trampolining classes run by the team at Multi-Sport. In-house competitions and parent-interactive lessons are organised, so that gymnasts have the opportunity to demonstrate the routines and skills they’ve acquired.
Location: Jardine Campus, Lycée Français International and YWCA, Hong Kong Island
Students here can attend classes in either gymnastics or rhythmic gymnastics, and have the opportunity to take part in the British Amateur Gymnastics Association Award badge test (from Level 1 to 7). Instruction is mainly in Cantonese, but can be supplemented with English.
Location: Causeway Bay, HK Island
Age: 2 +