From school stationery to masks, these are the most important school supplies in Hong Kong.
What a year this has been! Through it all, our children have been superstars. Most of them have surprised us, taking homeschooling and cancellation of their favourite activities, along with the imposition of strict hygiene protocols and restrictions in their stride. As kids in Hong Kong get ready for a new school year, it’s now up to us parents to keep their spirits up. Many of them may be moving to new (virtual) classrooms with new teachers and classmates. It can feel frightening and lonely and the temptation may be not to consider this set-up as school. You can help them get into the mood and the right frame of mind for learning by setting them up with essential school supplies (just as you would every year).
As far as possible, try to involve them in the purchase (online or with adequate safety precautions, if in-store). Make sure that they know where these supplies are at home and keep them within reach. Let them get into the habit of dressing up for school (most mums swear that they work harder when in a uniform!), packing their own bags, taking a break and snacking at the same time and then putting things away at the end of the day, just as they would any other year. The idea is to recreate a school classroom and a typical school day as much as possible, even if it is online. The good news is that schools will also reopen for physical classes sooner or later (let’s hope it’s the former!). All these school items and the routine you have set will come in handy even then. So get a headstart now!
Snacks And Lunchbox Essentials
Organising your kids’ lunch boxes with tasty treats needs some forward planning. Fill them up with freshly baked goods from Bon Chef. Previously catering to Hong Kong’s leading hotels and restaurants, its affordable selection of sweets and savouries are now delivered to your door frozen so all you need to do is finish them off in the oven at home. There aren’t likely to be leftovers and we can see the kids devouring croissants, muffins and cookies — you might need to hide a few away at home so you can grab a bite too! Bon Chef also has breads (we like the sound of the multigrain loaves and the olive ciabatta for home-made sandwiches) and delicious quiches that are sure to make putting together those packed lunches a breeze.
Use the code SassySummer15 for 15% off your purchase. Offer valid from Tuesday, 11 to Monday, 31 August 2020.
You can rely on the Kiwis to know a thing or two about fresh, quality produce. When you order your weekly groceries from here, try the frozen dumplings. Your kids will love the different varieties and they make for a tasty snack in between classes.
Staying hydrated is super important, whether the kids are at home or in school. Keep a good quality (preferably food-grade stainless steel) bottle at hand that the kids can flip open and sip from any time they need to. Klean Kanteen is a favourite with kids and has interchangeable covers so your child can go from sipper to spout with the same bottle. It is available at most online and retail eco-stores across the city, like Live Zero.
Klean Kanteen, www.kleankanteen.com
Other bottles that we love are S’well (a mama-favourite), the ever-faithful Skip Hop, Cheeki and Stephen Joseph, available across multiple children’s stores and sites in Hong Kong. Once the kids head back to (face-to-face) school, it will be important to buy lunchboxes as well. Look for the most eco-friendly school supplies that will last the rough and tumble adventures of your kids.
Stationery, Bags And Books
The brightly coloured funky selection of backpacks, pencil cases, stationery, watches and notebooks will paste a big smile (and giggle!) on your angel’s face by combining everyday school supplies with classic Smiggle fun. The stores across Hong Kong always have some sort of promotion on so you’re sure to find a good deal.
Sassy Mama tip: As we get ready for the new school year, you can be sure that birthday parties will slowly but surely resume. Stock up on party favours as well at this store if your child has a birthday coming up in the next few months.
This is more than your average school supply store in Hong Kong. If you have a little budding artist, head over to Wan Chai to this art supply megastore which stocks a large variety of arts and crafts tools, including everyday stationery items like colouring pencils to hard-to-find goodies such as easels and printmaking tools. While you’re at it, make a stop to gaze at the art gallery, which hosts new exhibitions every fortnight, for some inspiration.
From mini stationery kits and cool notebooks to chic pencil cases and colourful pens, the lush and luxe goodies at kikki.K will have you spoilt for choice. The school supplies are amongst the most practical and beautiful in Hong Kong. Your cat-obsessed little one will probably love this personal planner as well!
For those on the hunt for art supplies, in particular, CN Square is the perfect place for you. Boasting 5 floors, 10,000 square feet of space and over 20,000 products, this all-encompassing stationery store is sure to have what you’re looking for. Its ground and first floors provide all your regular stationery needs, as well as trendy tech accessories and planners. While the second floor and mezzanine levels offer a variety of arts and crafts supplies, board games, and seasonal decorations. On the top floor, you’ll find all manner of art supplies, as well as an overwhelming selection of paper choices. From Sculpey clay and Rembrandt oil paints to colourful binders and notebooks in all shapes and sizes – CN Square is the ultimate one-stop-shop for all school stationery supplies in Hong Kong.
CN Square, G/F – 3/F 503 Nathan Road, Yau Ma Tei, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 2384 2430
Sassy Mama loves The Lion Rock Press! It stocks a diverse range of Hong Kong-themed gifts and cards that celebrate this city, as well as other unique ones that fit every occasion. Check out the many tongue-in-cheek slogan stationery, embossed notebooks, the beautiful one-of-a-kind cards (you will definitely want one of the Mm Goi Sai cards for teachers later on in the year!) and the eco-friendly bottles, lunchboxes and mugs that school kids and adults can use.
Since we’re all about adding that personalised touch, you can bet that we’re huge fans of Stuck On You’s school supplies. Even the youngest schoolgoing child will be able to identify his or her belongings as it offers personalisation on all its products – from plain name labels that stick anywhere and everywhere to clothing labels and tailor-made backpacks and lunch boxes. The Bento lunch cooler-bags is a Sassy Mama favourite.
With locations all around Hong Kong, this big bookstore chain stocks all the stationery basics at standard prices as well as exercise books for children from primary to secondary school.
Sassy Mama tip: There is currently a back to school special on featured art supplies and other stationery items till Tuesday, 15 September 2020 with up to 88% off certain school supplies.
This huge three-storey bookstore in the heart of Causeway Bay sells a variety of Chinese and English books. It also has a pretty good selection of stationery and accessories, so sit your kid down on one of the comfy chairs and give them a book to flip through while you get some serious shopping done. This is a great spot for picking up textbooks, especially for very particular or unique subjects.
Eslite Spectrum, 8/F-10/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, www.eslite.com
Needing some storytime inspo, or just looking for extra activity books for your primary schooler? From water bottles, stationery items and bags to a whole host of books for early learners, Bookazine’s vast range of school supplies has almost everything you need to stock up for this academic year in Hong Kong!
Trendy kids will love Kipling’s super lightweight and strong backpacks – they’re guaranteed to last throughout the whole academic year. Though a little on the pricier side, these are ideal for teens heading towards the end of high school or college students wanting to put kiddy-style backpacks behind them. Online shopping is now available, so get your kids involved in picking their favourite.
The company proudly claims to make the backpack that straightened up a whole generation. After realising as far back as the late 70s that back problems were starting to appear at younger ages, it developed these backpacks. The Swedish-designed bags are great for kids, teens and adults and though expensive, are well worth the price. They come in many colours and the kids are sure to like the classic and cool look.
Hong Kong Disneyland is probably every child’s favourite place and it’s been a real pity that the park has been closed for most of the summer. When it does reopen (likely to be around the time schools reopen for in-person classes), why not treat your little princess or superhero to one of their adorable bags?
Flowery prints for every season! Cath Kidston is perfect for all children, from little toddlers to teenagers (and mamas!), for cute bags, accessories and apparel. With some of the coolest and most unique designs on the market, your little tot is bound to walk into school in style. Purchase adult versions of the printed products to twin with your mini-me.
Sassy Mama tip: There’s a huge promotion on backpacks currently, so it might be good to buy one now.
Also look at stationery, books and bags from:
Shoes, Clothes And Sports Gear
With stores all over town, Dr. Kong is great for basic black or white school shoes that your cheeky cherubs need. Good footwear for school is essential as kids are in those shoes all day long! Choose from a range of different styles, from Mary-Janes and slip-on flats to shoes with Velcro straps and laces.
Sassy Mama tip: The stores also stock sensible school socks, bags, aprons for art classes and other accessories.
This store is every gym-goer and sports lover’s paradise! Stocking everything you’ll ever want for your sporting needs, it has a range of kid’s sports shoes as well. Take your pick from its large range of affordable yet long-lasting options for girls, boys and teens.
Decathlon, 1/F The Park Lane, 310 Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, 5992 1321
Decathlon, B/F, Grand Plaza, 639 Nathan Rd, Mong Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong, 5993 3727
Stride Rite has super cute (yet very practical) shoes for every step that your child takes. From toddlers to pre-school and back to school classics, footwear here is made specifically with the health and safety of little feet in mind (one less this for us to worry about!). Use the online e-fit tool if you’re confident, or head over to one of the five stores in Hong Kong and get the kids measured by a certified fit specialist.
For young ones who aren’t big fans of working up a sweat during P.E. lessons, we recommend these snazzy kicks as an incentive for your little tykes to take up a sport. While you’re there, why not pick up a matching pair for yourself?
While many schools have uniforms, some generic items can be bought from your choice of retailer. These include sensible shoes, stockings, socks, cardigans, etc. for school. Next has a good back to school selection for boys and girls that includes all of these along with bags, plain tees and comfy, cotton underwear (a super-important item for all growing children).
This chain store has a large range of sports gear and footwear for your aspiring athlete. Why limit yourself to one brand? There is plenty on offer here, with more expensive branded sportswear and team jerseys to cheaper everyday alternatives. You’ll find all kinds of sports equipment and gear, for both land and water sports.
Sassy Mama favourite: We love the range of Adidas shoes, perfect for P.E.
GigaSports will be able to get your kids kitted out for PE classes and extracurricular activities with their range of Nike, Adidas, Puma and Asics shoes.
For more shoe, clothes and sports gear options, look at:
Health And Hygiene
You probably have always been a fan of The Wee Bean’s organic fabrics and their cute collection of clothes for kids. It’s now offering organic kids’ masks and for every mask sold, it will donate one to J Life Foundation Limited to distribute to children from low-income families in Hong Kong.
Bamboa has launched its own collection of 100% bamboo fibre face masks that are hand-sewn by tailors in Hong Kong to meet the growing demand of a sustainable type of face mask. These use three layers of bamboo fabric and are not made with any toxic substances, so you can feel reassured when your little one puts it on his or her face.
Saupei is also about recycling and upcycling and the brand makes cloth paper towels, napkins, cloth masks, paper-packed beverage box cardholders, etc. from discarded items. Its cloth masks come in three layers and different sizes to suit different ages.
This brand that specialises in tailormade shirts for men is now making sustainable, washable 5-layer protective face masks for kids. These are produced from high-yarn count Oeko-Tex Standard 100 upcycled shirting fabric that is non-allergenic and ensures good breathability. These masks have an option for a filter insert and come with a 30-piece pack of filters.
These 100% Egyptian cotton double layer masks can be embroidered with your child’s name or initials on them. Ideal for when the kids head back to (in-person) school. Currently, the personalised ones come only in solid colours, so get in touch if you want to match them with the school uniforms. These masks are also treated with a water repellent nanocoating designed to reduce the wearer’s exposure against droplets.
To support families who may be struggling to find face masks amid the pandemic, New World Development has produced face masks for children in Hong Kong with their new mask dispenser initiative. Under this 10-week programme, New World Development will donate the first batch of masks to 16 NGOs, including Heep Hong Society, Children’s Heart Foundation, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Hong Kong, Yan Oi Tong, Children’s Cancer Foundation and Kwun Tong Methodist Social Service.
The disposable surgical variety is effective but is unfortunately also adding to the pollution of the oceans and filling up our landfills. There are more varieties of masks available at most eco-stores across the city and a lot of Hongkongers have started making cloth masks to meet the growing demand. Look at the tutorials from HK Mask and the cute kiddie masks from CAYA (be sure to stick in a filter). Your kid can also use the free CU Masks from the government.
While the medical advice is to use alcohol-based sanitiser, you may not be comfortable with this for the kids. It’s best to reiterate good handwashing routines and use child-safe options, if necessary. The Babyganics sanitiser and the BioCair BioActive products are amongst our favourites.
As we keep saying, this is an unusual year and technology accessories have become back to school essentials this year. If you are providing your child with his or her own device or are allowing them to use yours, make sure that they are well-protected. Look for covers and cases that are both sturdy and easy for small hands to grip. Many schools are providing iPads for children. If these don’t come with covers, you will want to be doubly sure that there is no damage. Check these great options from Amazon.
As far as laptop covers go, there are many more options (usually depending on the brand of laptop you use) from companies and stationery stores. Many of these appeal more to adults but this vanilla back-to-school laptop cover might be just the inspiration kids need as they take studies online (prices are in USD)!
If you like a personalised touch, or simply a handcrafted feel or a more unique design, Etsy is for you. As the number one online shopping hub for all things designed and crafted by artisans, you’re sure to find any and everything you’re looking for, no matter your budget. From cute planners and stationery to functional laptop covers and school backpacks, Etsy makes it easy to find everything you’ll need in its Back to School section.
Sassy Mama favourite: We love these Positive Affirmation pencils – motivation for your little learner!
Speaking of books, Book Depository is your one-stop shop for all reading materials. With lower prices than most brick and mortar bookstores and constant discounts, you’ll never have to spend hours looking through shelves upon shelves of The Princeton Review for that one McGraw Hill again. Book Depository makes browsing easy by sorting everything into age groups, so be sure to check out the categories if you’re on the hunt for some fun reading material for your squirming readers. It also has a small but sufficient range of school stationery supplies. Oh, and did we mention it ships to Hong Kong for free (though make sure you give yourself plenty of time for orders to arrive at the moment)?
Sassy Mama tip: If your kid is a dog lover (or you are), you must pick up this adorable 16-month planner/calendar.
Think Etsy, but more curated! Founded and based in the UK, Not On The High Street is a unique selling platform for 5,000 (and counting!) of the UK’s best small, creative artisan businesses. We love the unique selection of spunky, personalised stationery and cards – perfect from the first class to the last day of school!
Not On The High Street, www.notonthehighstreet.com
If you are looking for a cheaper alternative while shopping online for school supplies (that’s closer to Hong Kong), you could look at the options on Taobao. There are plenty of stationery and book items that you would love to add to your cart if you know how to go about it or have a friend to help you.
Perfect for our precious babies – or should we say, young adventurers (they grow up so fast!) – about to embark on their academic journey, Petit Bazaar is a one-stop-shop for school supplies in Hong Kong with everything from cute outfits (if there’s no uniform to worry about), to cute backpacks to even cuter lunchboxes! It also offers stationery with adorable prints, as well as pencil cases, sticker book sets and markers and pencils for school children.
Sassy Mama favourite: Petit Collage Backpacks (in space print)
Petit Bazaar, 80 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, 2528 0229
Known as Hong Kong’s largest Japanese-style department store and located in Causeway Bay, Sogo is the place to get all your school supplies. With kids’ wear, stationery and accessories all on the 7th floor, shopping for your (hopefully) diligent student is now easier than ever. If you’re done early, there’s also multiple name brands for mamas and papas alike, as well as a supermarket in the basement.
This is possibly the mother of all one-stop-shops! You can get everything here to kit out your home and at extremely reasonable rates. They have a good selection of back to school supplies in Hong Kong, including bags and stationery items.
Similar to Sogo, Yata is a Japanese-style department store with multiple name brands and an amazing section for kids’ wear, stationery and accessories and other school supplies. These Hong Kong stores also stock many sportswear brands, so it’s the perfect place to visit, no matter how old your kids are!
For more one-stop shops, try the following for lunchbox essentials, stationery items, bags, masks, wipes and more school supplies in Hong Kong:
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on 18, July 2017 and updated by Anita Balagopalan on 18, August 2020 (special thank yous go to Connie Cai, Lucia Lau and Alex Purcell Garcia).
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Featured image courtesy of Getty Images, image 1 courtesy of Bon Chef, image 2 courtesy of Smiggle via Instagram, image 3 courtesy of Getty Images, image 4 Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels, image 5 courtesy of Kipling via Facebook, image 6 courtesy of Dr. Kong via Facebook, image 7 courtesy of Anita Balagopalan, image 8 courtesy of OnandOff via BabyCentral, image 9 courtesy of Not On the High Street via Facebook, image 10 courtesy of Petit Bazaar via Facebook.