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Hong Kong’s best playgroups for kids

By Kopal Manglik 28 July 2021

Header images courtesy of Baumhaus (via Facebook)

Learning starts long before formal education, and to engage your tots in a fun and developmental activity, why not check out playgroups? Playgroups are the perfect place for your little ones to interact with their peers while also developing their basic motor, speech, and literacy skills in a supervised setting. In a supportive, friendly, and relaxed environment, kids (and caregivers!) are given an opportunity to socialise. 

In Hong Kong, you even have options of more structured, curriculum-based playgroups with a facilitator, as well as casual meet-ups with other toddlers and parents. Ultimately, playgroups should be a space for you and your kid to bond and have some fun! Here are some of the best playgroups in Hong Kong to check out.

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ESF Playgroup

With three levels of playgroups, based on age (six to 12 months, 13 to 24 months, and 25 to 36 months), ESF Playgroup offers a theme-based curriculum, developed by education and child development experts.

Offering a wide range of enriching activities—from storytime to singing and sensory activities—the playgroups operated by the largest English-medium international school organisation in Hong Kong help establish routines, build confidence, and develop emotional, social, physical, and language skills. Playgroup classes take place in ESF kindergartens, schools, and language and learning centres, so you know there’s definitely one near you!

Photo: Malvern Playgroup

Malvern Playgroup

Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach—an educational and pedagogical philosophy focused on pre-school and primary education—Malvern College offers playgroup sessions for children aged six to 24 months. Its structured curriculum, imparted by experienced and caring teachers, is specifically designed to nurture children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development, helping them through the early stages of their lives.

A typical day at Malvern Playgroup consists of a wide range of activities, such as reading, free play, arts and crafts, music, and even baby yoga! With a carefully designed environment, which is safe and stimulating, your child will definitely have a blast while also building their self-awareness, confidence, and independence.

Malvern Playgroup, locations across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon

Photo: Baby Steps (via Facebook)

Baby Steps

With their mission to ensure that each and every child grows up to become happy, confident, and resilient, Baby Steps provides a variety of programmes for the holistic development of your little one. Catering to children between the ages of six months to 4.5 years, Baby Steps covers a range of activities, such as dance, drama, music, STEM, arts, Chinese foundation, magical storytelling, and more. Its safe and fun environment also allows for your child to engage with their peers, building a foundation for social and emotional development.

Baby Steps, Unit 2501–2502, 25/F, Universal Trade Centre, 17–19 Caine Rd, Central | (+852) 2887 7585

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My Gym

Founded in California and brought to Hong Kong in 2003, My Gym has been consistently rated as the number one programme for kids between six months and six years old. Combining sports, dance, early childhood development, kinesiology, and gymnastics, My Gym aims to nurture children of all abilities by building their confidence through meaningful play. With highly trained instructors teaching structured lessons in a child-friendly play-gym environment, you can trust that your kids will not only be safe, but will be having a lot of fun!

My Gym, locations across Hong Kong Island and Kowloon

YMCA

YMCA offers several different programmes to cater to toddlers and their parents in two locations across Kowloon. Toddlers’ World is the most comprehensive and runs two to three times a week, using a play-based approach to inspire and engage your tots. It includes a number of daily activities ranging from story reading to arts and crafts, as well as music and singing and physical movement. Special activities are also hosted, such as Christmas parties, outings, and sports days! YMCA also offers playgroups on Saturdays.

YMCA, locations across Kowloon

Baumhaus

Baumhaus—derived from the German term for “treehouse”—embraces a holistic approach to creative learning for children up to seven years old. In particular, their Kindermusik classes are renowned as an established and trusted early childhood music and movement programme. For each age and life stage, Baumhaus will cater to your little one’s needs through engaging activities such as singing, instruments, and play! Baumhaus even has an actual birch treehouse, carefully designed to bring children together, grow confidence, and nurture creativity.

Baumhaus, 1/F, Kar Yau Building, 36–44 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai | (+852) 2321 5898

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Groups and meet-ups

If you are looking for something less structured (and less expensive), there are a number of groups and regular meet-ups around Hong Kong for tots and their parents to get together and play!

Play, Tumble, Laugh: Home-based playgroups in Hong Kong hosted by mums.

Mums and Bubs: A casual meet-up for mums and dads to chat and socialise while their tots learn and play.

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Kopal Manglik

Contributor

Kopal started the Instagram page @adoptdontshop.hk when she realised she was following seven different dog rescue shelters in Hong Kong and was not even looking to adopt! Her platform shares information about all animal rescues primarily focusing on highlighting dogs and cats available for adoption. As an active participant of the Hong Kong pet community, Kopal also runs Hong Kong Foster Pawrents, volunteers at dog rescues, is a foster mama herself, and is currently pursuing a certificate in canine behaviour. When not involved in animal advocacy, Kopal is an avid reader and coffee drinker, and you can find her looking for new coffee shops to explore.

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