We’ve rounded up the best extracurricular and after-school activities in the city, perfect for kids of all ages.
The kids are now well and truly back at school though most extracurricular activities (ECAs) on campus remain closed. It may be a while before the ECAs open up at school, so it’s best to start looking around the city for class providers. The good part is that many of these classes are now online, or offer smaller in-person groups. Should there be further social distancing restrictions, most would be willing to give you extended credit. Given this, now is the perfect time to help your kids brush up on extra skills or try new experiences. Make it interesting by giving a volunteering opportunity a chance, or learning a new language. From art to sports, tech to the stage, you’re sure to find something to keep your toddlers, tweens and teens entertained and stimulated once the school bell has rung.
Editor’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong regarding closures and restrictions on opening hours due to the coronavirus is constantly evolving. Many businesses are taking extra precautions, but please make sure you follow the latest government advice and stay home if you have recently travelled overseas, have interacted with anyone who has been away, or display any symptoms.
If the dramatis personae in your house love to perform, you should consider enrolling them in a performing arts class, be it theatre, music or dance. These are some of the best performing arts classes for children of all ages.
Extracurricular Activities: Theatre
Want your child to develop greater self-confidence and teamwork while having fun at the same time? Sign them up for Faust International Youth Theatre’s Term-Time Drama Workshops. These weekly after-school or Saturday drama programmes are designed for children from 3 to 18 years. Faust has been operating since 1999, introducing young people in Hong Kong to the wonderful world of theatre, performing arts and creativity. Through after-school drama workshops, holiday programmes and an extensive array of productions, students learn in a fun-filled and supportive environment where they will develop performance skills, theatre knowledge, leadership and individual expression for the stage and beyond!
With Faust, you know that your kids will be in good hands. They have qualified and experienced teachers and great facilities – in fact, the new term (starting Saturday, 3 October) will be its 22nd in Hong Kong! If you sign up, you will get to see your young star’s theatre skills for yourself as there will be performance opportunities available at the end of the season (in May or June). Discounts are available for multiple-term and sibling registrations.
Founded by Helen O’Grady in Perth, Australia in 1979, this academy aims to aid children’s development through drama. It promises to be a place where your child can creatively express themselves while improving their interpersonal and communication skills. Courses include Kindy Drama (ages 3 to 5), lower primary (ages 5 to 8), upper primary (ages 8 to 12) and there’s also a comprehensive youth theatre programme (for ages 13 to 17) covering everything from ad-libs and improv to radio plays, scripts, scene planning and more.
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Extracurricular Activities: Music
If you want to find a music class for your child, but don’t know where to start, look at MusicSage’s impressive roster of teachers. With over 100 private music tutors available, this online platform can help you find the right fit for your child’s musical talents.
Founded by Irish-Chinese singing teacher and singer-songwriter Weisan Au Yeung and her Scottish drum teacher and musician partner, Dave Simpson, this contemporary music school is perfect for amateurs. Based in Wong Chuk Hang, it offers extracurricular activities in singing, keyboard, bass and drums in a friendly and welcoming environment, with classes geared to a range of ages. Make sure to check out its Strum N’ Sing classes, Karaoke Club and the online music classes.
Parkland Music promises to go beyond traditional music education for all ages, designing its courses around “5 Key Fields” that are comprised of Pop Music, Vocal, Digital Music, Theory and Classical Music. It offers everything from guitar lessons (fingerstyle, acoustic or electric) to classical instruments and digital sound mixing. While most lessons are in Cantonese, you can reach out to course consultants to learn more about classes that are conducted in English, Mandarin and Japanese.
Extracurricular Activities: Dance
This name has become synonymous with ballet in Hong Kong. After all, the Jean M. Wong School of Ballet has been on the dancing scene in Hong Kong since 1960. The school’s main priority is classical ballet that starts training kids from the age of two and upwards and uses the RAD system for classes and examinations. There are six schools in operation across Hong Kong, including the New Territories, with plenty of opportunities for kids to compete and perform. Other than ballet, it also provides classes for jazz and hip-hop.
If you and your kid are serious about ballet then check out the elite ballet school at the Hong Kong Youth Ballet Academy. The academy aims to inspire the next generation of ballet dancers, with classes taught by professional instructors, paying special attention to this dance form’s prestigious heritage. It has a high number of award-winning students, many of whom have been accepted into professional dance schools around the globe – something to consider if you think your little one might go pro in the future.
Twinkle Dance Company offers dance classes for kids as young as 18 months all the way up to adulthood, with a variety of options including contemporary, ballet, lyrical, acro dance, hip-hop and more. There is also a special needs class for kids from 3 to 10 years of age. Twinkle Dance advocates a fun and safe learning environment for all. With studio locations across Hong Kong, you’re sure to find a class near you.
Creative And Fine Arts
Art and creativity are just as important as any STEM class in terms of building a well-rounded and diverse child. Nurturing your little one’s creativity will help nourish his or her passions and problem-solving abilities. From painting and sculpture to architecture and printmaking, there are many places to encourage your child’s fine art skills.
Extracurricular Activities: Painting And Drawing
CreativeKids is committed to advancing creative development in children and teens, collaborating with schools, centres and corporations to bring you all kinds of art and design extracurricular activities! Its regular programmes cover everything from drawing to oil painting, 3D constructing and architecture for children aged 1.5 right through to 18 years old. They also have an Online Live Art schedule that you might be interested in, just in case further restrictions kick in.
Whether your child is looking for extra help with their art coursework, trying to build a portfolio for university, or simply wanting to get involved, Hong Kong Art Tutoring is just the thing! It covers life drawing, printmaking, sculpture, mixed media and more with sessions taking place in its purpose-built studio. Look out got some of the amazing student artwork. Email the studio for the latest schedule.
Hong Kong’s only Russian art academy, Anastassia’s Art House incorporates a vast wealth of cultural heritage in fine art in its programmes and has a team of highly-qualified educators, all of whom are practising artists holding degrees from renowned institutions. For teenagers, you can join a draw and sketch class, that covers mixed media and drawing techniques, or even go for an art appreciation course. There is also a range of courses available for children aged 2.5 to 7 years old.
Read more: 5 Easy Ways To Teach Your Kids To Draw
Extracurricular Activities: Visual Arts And Crafts
Offering different group classes for kids aged three all the way to adults, Colour My World has a great selection of visual art classes to choose from such as textiles, ceramics, sculpture and architectural studies. It also offers art basics in painting and drawing for kids too, as well as performing arts, communication arts and an extensive selection of digital art classes that even includes filmmaking.
Craft Hour was made for kids who love crafts and being creative. Choose from one of its workshops or book a private party or event, and you’ll have your kid learning new skills in no time. From creating mosaics, learning to sew, weaving or knitting, to working with clay, paper crafts, beading and more, there’s something for kids of all ages.
It’s always important to get those little legs and hands moving after a long day at school (and even more so on the weekends!). Hong Kong is packed with great extracurricular activities in all types of sports, no matter whether you have a Michael Phelps, Jordan, Johnson, Atherton or Stich!
Extracurricular Activities: Ball Sports
With over 30 full-time and professional football coaches on staff, APSS has football sessions running all over Hong Kong every day of the week for kids of all ages. For younger kids, it has a Kinder Kicks programme running at many locations across Hong Kong that covers a variety of sports.
The BFA offers year-round, fun and progressive football training to kids at a variety of locations and schools across Hong Kong. Here, kids will learn a Brazilian approach to football taught by certified coaches. You’ll even find a Tiny Tots programme for kids under the age of five which covers a variety of sports – football, rugby and basketball.
Based on the south side of Hong Kong Island, this all-inclusive club aims to introduce you to the great game of rugby. Its junior section youth teams are perfect for teenagers, offering professional coaching, guidance and mentoring at all levels – whether they’ve never played rugby or have played all their life. Club members pay an annual subscription fee.
HKU Sandy Bay RFC, Stanley Ho Sports Centre, Sha Wan Drive, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong, www.hkusandybayrfc.com
Designed for boys and girls aged 5 to 18 years, the HKBA aims to cultivate basketball skills for players of all abilities in Hong Kong. Kids can work their way up to an elite level where they can play and compete on an international level. You can sign your little player up for a free trial where they are assessed to see where they fit in the development pathway. The current term is on till December with classes across LCSD venues in Hong Kong.
Extracurricular Activities: Racquet Sports
Located in Sai Kung’s stunning countryside, the Hong Kong Golf & Tennis Academy (HKGTA) offers tailored programmes that follow specialised philosophies and training methods. Sign your kids up for the tennis under 18 training programme (that makes use of the Bruguera Method). There is also the HKGTA Kids Academy where youngsters can learn at their own pace.
The HKBA offers junior programmes, school programmes and summer camps for kids who are interested in badminton. The Hong Kong Badminton Training Scheme by the HKBA is targeted at kids ages 9 to 18 years old that include training classes, examinations, singles competitions and recreational fun days.
Extracurricular Activities: Swimming And Water Sports
Boasting accomplished alumni, including ex-Olympians and Hong Kong record-holders, Harry Wright International is synonymous with swimming classes in the city. It has a long track record of training competitive swimmers from a young age, starting with the Infant Aquatic to the the Learn to Swim to the Competitive Programme. These after-school classes are conducted regularly in pools across Hong Kong (contact the centre if you are unsure about your child’s level).
One of the oldest and largest sports clubs in Hong Kong, The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club provides comprehensive courses that cover everything from basic sailing skills to rowing, paddling, racing and more. Take advantage of the warmer weather and enjoy being out on the open sea – you can choose flexible dates based on your schedule.
Extracurricular Activities: Other And Multi-Sports
If your kids get restless behind their school desk, they’ll love the change to let rip and stretch their legs at one of Minisport’s extracurricular offerings. Kids can try their hand at multiple sports (including tennis, football, coordination skills and more!) under the guidance of Minisport’s dedicated early year sports specialists. Or, if you’re looking for a more personal approach, try the private classes that are available on request at a time and venue that suits you. The passionate coaching team will make sure your kids get the most out of every class, become well-rounded confident young athletes, and blow off enough steam that they’ll sleep soundly at the end of the day!
26 Coaching’s team is made up of experienced and qualified triathlon (running, swimming and cycling) specialists and offers youth programmes that cover running, aquathlon, biking and development. Ideal if your youngster or teen has plenty of energy! The Youth Coaching caters for kids aged 6 to 18 years who want to get involved in either track athletics or triathlon/multisport disciplines. You can book an individual or multiple session, or a training squad.
Science, Technology And Coding
Science is one of the most essential subjects at school and coding is now an important skill. Here are some of the places where you can sign your little scientist up for extracurricular and after-school classes.
“Build Something Different” BSD Education is dedicated to empowering the kids of today with the tools for tomorrow. Its Innovation Academy offers in-person and online classes and an after-school programme that allows young learners to pursue advanced and engaging technology learning through code.
Cobo Academy’s innovative curriculum is the collective brainchild of experienced coders and educators – many of whom happen to be parents! Classes are small (typically between 4:1 to 8:1), fun and interactive, and embrace problem-based and project-based learning. Classes are available both online and in-person.
Want to get your kids interested in science and how things work? Curiosity Kids promises to just that and get your child wondering how magnets work, how trees absorb water and why oil doesn’t mix with water. You can opt for the weekly and private classes all over Hong Kong and choose one of its online classes, workshops and quizzes.
Learning a second language is always good for a child’s communication, confidence and overall brain development.
Extracurricular Activities: Mandarin Classes
Want your little ones to get a head start on their Mandarin classes and have fun at the same time? Look at what Mini Mandarins has to offer. All extracurricular programmes here are run in small groups of four to six children, giving maximum attention from the experienced native Mandarin-speaking teachers. The classes here are set within a dynamic and immersive environment with real-world settings (think a mini supermarket, fire station and even an airport!). The situational teaching method, which integrates learning, play and exercise, allows children to study with a relaxed and enjoyable setting, exactly what you want when learning a new skill.
Southside Mandarin offers a progressive curriculum with an in-house developed programme that suits the needs of all levels of Chinese students. Your little learners can try their hand at Putonghua language, art, playgroups, homework tutoring and also take level up classes. Teachers are all native speakers who promote full immersion into the Chinese language – ideal for local and international students alike.
Extracurricular Activities: Other Language Classes
What language are you looking for your little learner to get stuck into? German? Mandarin? Japanese? There’s all that and more at The Hong Kong Institute of Languages, which offers beginner, intermediate and intensive classes for teenagers to help with prep for exams such as GCSE and IB, and classes for kids as well. You’ll find locations in Central and Wong Chuk Hang.
Through games, crafts and other interactive methods, students at The Spanish Academy learn the language in small groups using a communicative approach. With a range of classes from the age of 2 right through to 17 and up, you’re sure to find one to suit your youngsters needs.
Alliance Française’s extracurricular activities are taught in French in order to maximise exposure and give kids and teens the opportunity to discover the culture and really practice speaking the language. Courses complement school curriculums, with new activities and resources implemented so your child can put into practice what they’ve learnt at school, work around their difficulties and extend their knowledge of French.
AF Alliance Française, Rm 817-19, Level 8, Tower 1, Grand Central Plaza, N138 Shatin Rural Committee Road, Northern Territories, Hong Kong, 2634 0861, [email protected], WhatsApp: 6153 8466, [email protected], www.afhongkong.org
Read more: How To Raise Multicultural Kids In Hong Kong
Sometimes you want the extracurricular classes you have chosen for your child to supplement what they’re learning at school. If you find that your young scholars prefer academic after-school activities, or you just want to give them some additional help, you can enrol them at any of these centres.
Aunty Lavina Education Centre (ALEC)‘s teaching philosophy strives to encourage growth, eliminate weaknesses, and provide holistic development for your children. The quality tutoring centre has a team of over 20 devoted tutors who all specialise in a variety of subjects and cover everything from IGCSEs to SATs, A levels, IB and HKDSE.
Aunty Lavina Education Centre (ALEC), 204 & 308 Chevalier House, 45-51 Chatham Road South, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Focusing on global knowledge, dynamic delivery, disciplined work, emotional intelligence and community engagement, this premiere learning centre offers intensive young author workshops and Model United Nations (MUN), as well as competitive debate, global thinking and critical writing classes. It’s opening its third campus in Sheung Wan soon.
Kelly Yang, Park Avenue Tower, 5/F, 5 Moreton Terrace, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
You just can’t escape mathematics! Make it easier on your child by building their skills up with Mathemagic, all in the comfort of your own home. Lessons are taught in either English or Cantonese and are perfect to help them prepare for major exams such as IGCSEs, IBs, SAT and A levels. With online or home tutoring, you can book in classes for students aged 3 years and over.
If you or your family are looking for volunteering extracurricular activities in Hong Kong, make sure to check out our round-up of all the nonprofits, charities and organisations that are definitely worth giving your time to! Not only will you be giving something back but it has great, feel-good factor, too.
Girl Guides have been working with girls and young women in Hong Kong for over a century. The hugely varied, girl-led programme embraces everything from current global issues to adventure sports to social action and everything in between. Volunteer leaders work with Happy Bees (4 to 6 years), Brownies (7 to 10 years) and Guides (11 to 15 years) in weekly meetings on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, New Territories and the outlying islands. No previous experience is needed to become a volunteer leader as all training is provided!
Even if your teenagers don’t have the time to join a not-for-profit organisation, they can volunteer for projects with HandsOn Hong Kong. It’s as simple as checking the project calendar and choosing from programmes which include helping ethnic minority children with homework, delivering necessities to the homeless, assisting the elderly with mobile literacy and more. These are held at different times of the day, weekdays and weekends. Some require Cantonese and/or English skills, so your child is sure to find something suitable.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in May 2019 by Sakina Abidi, updated by Alex Purcell Garcia in August 2019, with a further update by Anita Balagopalan in September 2020.