Hong Kong is in many ways the worst place to have two toddlers, and in other ways perfect. There’s really limited outdoor space in the city, and the humidity and pollution mean it’s not that pleasant to be outside anyway. But the city has recognised this dilemma and provided the perfect solution – a seemingly unlimited number of organised activities that are both affordable and accessible.
My kids have been REALLY struggling in the heat, particularly my little boy, who is a solid guy and breaks into a sweat the minute he walks out our apartment door. I decided to investigate some air conditioned play/activity options and keep us all cool.
Little Beetles, Wan Chai
Little Beetles is a toy store/playroom in the Hopewell Centre, which is conveniently located about 500 metres from our building. But that’s not the only reason I love it! It’s affordable, at $50HK for half an hour or $800 for 10x1hr sessions. It also provides only wooden, HABA toys, which for a half-German family is very appealing.
It is a small space, but that’s what you get in Hong Kong. I find it particularly great for my daughter, who is more into imaginary than active play – it has a toy kitchen set up, a shop, an ice cream van and so forth. But my son loves it too, particularly the plane swing that he wildly flails about in. We bought the ten visit pass and I’m sure will go through quite a few of those in our time in this apartment.
Tip: Don’t forget socks!
FunZone, Kennedy Town
Now here’s one for the boys! FunZone is a (comparatively) huge soft play area located in The Winston in Kennedy Town, though there are multiple Fun Zones across Hong Kong. There’s a toddler area for the under 3’s that’s pretty big in its own right and full of toys as well as climbing options and a small ball pit. Both my kids spent most of their time here, even though my daughter is nearly 4 (but she as mentioned is a less active four year old).
The “big kids” area is at least five times the size and your kids could definitely get lost in there – in fact, mine did (just what I needed, the only six foot tall white woman in the place getting stuck in the climbing equipment looking for a cheeky one year old!). There’s a fun/terrifying area where seven year olds gather to shoot balls at each other’s heads from large guns, and lots of slides and hidey holes.
Fun Zone also runs classes such as ballet, Kindermusik, MiniSport and Yoga (cute!) which I imagine would be a great chance to meet other Mums (or helpers, more likely). Admission is HK100 for 1-2 year olds and HK120 for older children, and one accompanying adult is free – plus you can stay as long as you like.
Tip: Don’t wear a short dress! Be prepared to run around. Also, socks.
Baumhaus, Wan Chai
This was today’s discovery, and one word – wow! Baumhaus is the playroom attached to KinderMusik with Crisel, so you can choose to use just the playroom or sign up to classes. Signing up means you can attend unlimited classes and have unlimited access to the playroom, so if you’re local (as we are) it’s definitely worth it.
The playroom itself is basically a large Baumhaus (Treehouse) with areas for climbing, hiding or sliding, as well as some great wooden toys and activities. There’s a cafe attached so you can grab a coffee and watch the kids play.
We attended a music class with Crisel herself, who is great with the kids and an amazing singer. The kids sing, dance and use shakers, bells and scarves, as well as practice their listening and cooperation skills. Walter and I were very happy (and exhausted!) after a 15 minute play and 45 minute class.
One thing I would say is that it’s definitely on the pricey side (HK320/week), but would definitely be worthwhile if you’re going to make use of the unlimited access.
Tip: Siblings can also use the Baumhaus if one child is enrolled in music classes.