Raising kids in Hong Kong is an amazing experience.
Whether you’ve been here your whole life or you’re a relative newcomer, you’ve got a vast and vibrant city at your feet to raise your young ones. There are over one million children under 18 in the city.
There are challenges to life with kids in Hong Kong, for sure. With crowded streets and the general expense of life, you have to always be on your toes.
That’s why we’ve put this guide together to raise kids in Hong Kong. We want to cut down your trawling through the streets and keep some money in your pocket.
Don’t get us wrong; having kids in Hong Kong is exhilarating.
The city is packed with wonders. The bright lights and big sounds, the nature parks dotted around, and the city’s international feel all make it a wonderful place to raise inquisitive and active children.
You want your kids to get as much out of Hong Kong as possible.
Bearing that in mind, we’ve put together some of the most important information you’ll need as a parent in this fine city. We’ll be telling you:
- The best places to buy school textbooks
- Tips on selecting schools in Hong Kong
- How to throw the best kids birthday party in Hong Kong
- Where to go for arts and crafts supplies for kids in Hong Kong
- The best kids clothing stores
Where do I buy good value textbooks in Hong Kong?
Do you remember your university days?
Do you remember when the toss-up between partying and buying textbooks was a huge part of reality?
Those books were expensive, right?
Now you’ve got to go through that trauma again when you buy textbooks for your school kids in Hong Kong. Books, like everything else you need, are rather expensive in the city.
Some schools will provide a few of the books that you need, but as a general rule, you’re going to need to get hold of books for:
The key here is to plan ahead.
If you end up in a last-minute scramble for books, you’re going to have to resort to buying a pile of books at one of the big, expensive retailers in the city.
It’s rather frustrating when a little bit of preparation could have saved you a chunk of money, plus the time and sanity it takes to rush round huge stores.
Get the required reading list from your kids’ school as early as possible. You can ask them what the chances are that the list will change from the previous year.
This will let you plan in advance and even let you know if you should keep holding some books from your oldest child or selling them on.
Here’s a quick list of our top places to buy school books in Hong Kong, and there are loads more details in our complete article, too:
- Check out the Facebook group called “Hong Kong Academic Book Exchange.” It’s a community of parents and students getting rid of their old books. Books will generally be in good condition, and members are spread across the city, so it should be convenient.
- Book Depository is an online store that ships books from the UK and Australia. It’s cheap, but it does take a little while for books to arrive – you can wait around two weeks, so get on there will advance the school year starting.
- At a pinch, look at Commercial Press Bookstores. It’s a chain of shops in the city, so more pricey than online shops, but they’re generally cheaper than bigger stores. They can order books in for you if they’re not in stock, too.
How do I choose an international school for my kids in Hong Kong?
With over $54 billion spent on education in Hong Kong in 2019, schools are big business.
If you’re living in Hong Kong, you can consider local (government) schools or international schools. The local education system in Hong Kong is well regarded; the schooling system is known for being rigorous and thorough.
With local schools, you won’t have to pay for tuition, but some other factors to consider, such as a strict education regime, and you can’t be guaranteed which school your child will be sent to.
You can also consider international schools in Hong Kong. There are many pros involved in selecting an international school in Hong Kong; for example, you can select a school based on the languages available. You can pick which qualifications they’ll get (such as International Baccalaureate, A-Levels, etc.). However, international schools can be costly.
Of course, you want the best for your children in terms of education, but you also want to get good value when you’re spending so much money on a Hong Kong private school. In our article, which talks about how to choose the right school for your child, we cover some of the more reasonably priced international schools in Hong Kong, such as ESF, Discovery mind, and Invictus.
In our article on selecting the best school for your kid, we also discuss the advantages of learning Mandarin for a child while living in Hong Kong. Check it out and let us know what your school’s experience has been and how your kids feel about it.
I want to throw a special birthday party for my kids in Hong Kong; help me with all the important elements!
Raising children in Hong Kong is expensive, no doubt. It’s expensive anywhere, globally, to be fair, but many things cost just a little more here in Hong Kong.
One of those children’s essentials is birthday parties.
There are lots of expensive options – have you checked out the prices for Disneyland recently? You can cut back on the huge expenses and still have a magical time with the kiddos for a birthday party that’ll be the talk of the playground.
We’ve got a load of ideas to make your Hong Kong birthday one to remember.
Huge sums of money can be saved when you:
- Choose a free or cheap venue.
- Pick a simple and fun theme.
- Plan your own entertainment activities
You’re always going to need cake in life in general, but also for a kid’s birthday bash in Hong Kong. You can either make your own – and even make that a part of the party experience with home cake decorations – or buy from a home baker to keep costs down.
When it comes to entertainment, you can put together your own activities, such as cool science experiments or craft tables, or hire someone in.
Want a list of some great value entertainers for parties in Hong Kong? In our guide to birthday parties, we’ve got a list of some of the best entertainers with good rates across the city.
It would be best if you fed the little monsters who come to celebrate your monster’s birthday. Some fun ideas include:
- Mini pizzas
- A taco bar
- Chips and dips
- Chicken fries
Where the kids can even be involved in choosing their own toppings and fillings.
Finally, there are the goodie bags. Try to save the environment and not give out chunks of plastic that won’t last long. You can offer wooden toys, books, or cute stationery as a useful leaving gift.
Where do I go for craft supplies for kids in Hong Kong?
Whether to keep the fun flowing at a birthday party, to drag your little ones away from YouTube for a while, crafting is great fun.
Messy play and being creative are great for kids, and crafting stores galore around the city.
You don’t need to be massively arty to get your kids crafting. You just need to buy the supplies, let your children bring the imagination!
Having a well-stocked craft box or crafting cupboard is great for rainy days. When you’re sick of “I’mmmmm borrrrrred,” you’ll have something to reach for to keep the kids quiet for hours.
Crafting and arts covers a lot of different realms, so here’s our pick of some of the best shops for your crafting needs in Hong Kong:
- Crafts Supplies Store has everything and a whole lot more. Go into one of their two stores or browse online for huge amounts of inspiration. It’s cheap as chips too, with some items as low as $4.
- CN Square is a little more traditional in selling art supplies. They have every color of crayon, pen, and paint you can imagine, along with canvasses, molding clays, and more. There are three stores around the city.
- Tin Fu International is all about beads. They come in all shapes and sizes and a range of materials. Let your kids have plenty of fun buying their beads, and then head home to make beautiful jewelry.
- Flying Dragon does its business in ribbons. Lots of ribbons. Add flow and form to your crafty creations with their colorful and decorative streamers.
- Write the Future sells Hong Kong’s urban art supplies. Spray paints and acrylic markers from the German brand Molotow are sold, and they even host classes sometimes.
- Bead Box has all your jewelry making supplies sorted. They have plastic, wooden, and glass beads. Check out surrounding shops as well; Sham Shui Po is the best district for crafty things.
- Melissa & Doug is an online store with crafty kits for your kids to engage with. Have them make bracelets and airplanes in a jiffy.
- Artland is where to go for your paint requirements. It’s very specifically for paint and paintbrushes – don’t expect glitter, ribbons, or stickers here.
For all the details about these shops, plus locations and directions, here’s our guide to all the crafty goodness you can find in Hong Kong.
You’ll be sure to be delighted with what crafty items you can find for your kids in Hong Kong.
Where are the best places to buy kids’ clothing in Hong Kong?
One minute your little ones are knee height and a bundle of effort and joy, you turn around the next moment, and they’re up to your waist and asking “why?” ten times a minute.
The almost exponential growth your kids seem to go through can make clothes shopping a pain. You don’t want to spend too much money on something that might not get worn more than a couple of times.
On the flip side, you buy cheap kids’ clothes, and they’ll be falling apart at the seams within a couple of washes.
Where can you find the happy medium of affordable yet quality kids’ clothes in Hong Kong?
The answer, most of the time, is online.
There are great websites that have free or very reasonable shipping to Hong Kong. The wait is usually a week or so; hopefully, your child doesn’t put on three inches and an attitude during that time!
For great casuals, timeless classic tees and dresses, and cool print pajamas, check out Next.
Next is a British-based high street retailer, so it has its finger on the pulse when designing and fashion. It sells some great multipacks of things like leggings and t-shirts so you can get stocked up.
Sticking with the Brits, we love Marks and Spencer. Known for great quality basics for the whole family, as well as super cute and smart designs, you’ll get your kid well-clothed here.
There are multiple Marks and Spencer branches in Hong Kong, so you can go into if you want to check to size, or the website will deliver everything directly to your door if you’d rather.
For more great kids’ clothing recommendations in Hong Kong, both online and in-store, we wrote up a complete guide to get great value kids’ clothes.
We’re always on the lookout for fresh shopping experiences, so drop us a line if you’ve got a great website or store we need to go check out.
We hope this article has helped provide you with some useful tips on kids in Hong Kong.
Hopefully, now you’re prepared and ready to buy textbooks, select a school, host a birthday party, buy kid’s clothing, and know where to find the best arts and crafts stores in Hong Kong.
If we’ve missed any great tips for life with kids in Hong Kong, please let us know in the comment section below; we’d love to hear from you.