MONTESSORI AROUND HO CHI MINH CITY
For those of us that live in Ho Chi Minh City and are practicing Montessori at home, it can be tough to find ways to follow our philosophies beyond our doorsteps. Ho Chi Minh City is an incredible city overflowing with opportunities and experiences to be had, but nevertheless, you may find yourself stuck when looking for something suitable for your little one. The more popular kids cafes just don’t appeal to us for our daughter with their often loud music and large screens. Here we will explore some of our favorite places to visit with our children and how we make the most of these little excursions.
- The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens 🌳🐘🐒
>> 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
Many of us work with our children at home teaching animals names, creating animal matching activities, and delving deeper into the topic of animals. For children, seeing these animals up close is an incomparable experience. It is always worth timing the visit to the zoo with what your child is learning at home, but a spontaneous zoo visit can hold just as much value by following it up at home with some animal books or activities. Beyond the animals, the zoo offers an amazing botanical experience. As Maria Montessori said, “there is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees.” When visiting the zoo, we suggest not to arrive with an agenda. Remember to follow your child, follow their interests. If your little one wants to stay watching the elephants for the entire trip to the zoo, let them. At such an affordable cost, you can always come back to see the monkeys and tigers another day.
- Museum of Vietnamese History 📚⭐🏚️
>> 2 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1, HCMC
Located just inside the Saigon zoo’s Nguyen Binh Khiem entrance is the Museum of Vietnamese History. The museum has an incredible collection of ancient artifacts tied to the Cham dynasty among other ancient civilizations in Vietnam. While it may be more suitable for older children who are developing an understanding of history, younger children can gain from the experience as well.
- Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts 🎨🖼️🏚️
>> 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1, HCMC
For a time our daughter’s favorite book was a book brought back from the Musee d’ Orsay in Paris. We spent every morning skimming the pages of impressionist paintings while I sipped my tea, and she drank her milk. It was during this period that we first brought our daughter to the Museum of Fine Arts in Saigon. The museum with its many sculptures and paintings (keep a lookout for the huge colorful lacquer paintings they have!) offers plenty of opportunities to talk about shape and color with your child or to just enjoy and observe quietly. Again, let your child lead the way and stop when they stop to observe a specific piece.
- Vinhomes Central Park 🌿🌿🐟
208 Nguyen Huu Canh Street, Ward 21, Binh Thanh District, HCMC
With such a variety of activities and experiences, this is by far our favorite place to visit with our daughter. It is a large and safe space where we can really let her wander in any which direction she chooses. In Montessori, we know how important it is to let our children lead the way and unfortunately, that can be a challenge here in Ho Chi Minh City due to traffic safety, but in Central Park, our daughter really can take the reins. She finds her way starting by crossing the bridge and observing the water below, then leads us down to feed the fish. Some days that’s as far as we get, other days we make it to the very back along the river to watch the boats passing. The playground is also quite accessible and offers plenty of gross motor challenges. There is plenty of green space and nature for your child to experience and explore, and grass you can actually sit on! We never leave the park empty handed, instead, our nature shelf at home continues to be filled with seed pods, flowers, and other interesting finds from the park. Just remember when bringing your child to the park, let them lead and enjoy each moment as they wish. Don’t rush your child to stop feeding the fish so you can make it to the playground on time - let them take as long as they need to complete a task.
- Marou - Faiseurs de Chocolat at Calmette 🥛☕🍫
>> 169 Calmette Street, District 1, HCMC
Probably my favorite place to go in Ho Chi Minh City even before having children, Marou never disappoints. The best part about this chocolate shop is that the workshop is behind giant glass windows so your child can watch and see the process of making all those delicious chocolates! The chocolate bean roaster is also mesmerizing for many children (especially those with a rotational schema!), our daughter would sit for so long and watch that go round and round. There are plenty of chocolate options here, but yes there is sugar involved, so be aware when bringing little ones
- Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre 🎵🎭🎵
>> 55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, HCMC
With its live music and singing, the water puppet show is a truly beautiful and fun cultural experience. If your child loves water be sure to sit up close and be prepared to get wet! The show lasts about 45 minutes, so be aware of what your child is able to handle in terms of sitting for longer periods of time.
- Family Garden in Thao Dien 👪🥕🐤
>> 28 Thao Dien Street, District 2, HCMC
What I like about this location is the variety of activities and rather unmanicured space. The rocky path leading by the water and past the yoga studios offers a challenge to little legs and feet. The playground has some interesting climbing options and the ponds have fish if you can find them! Besides some small animals in pens, there are opportunities for children to explore the vegetable gardens here, but the experience is truly what you make of it. The more you engage with the staff and people working there, the more you get out of it. On our last visit, my daughter was given a vegetable plant which we took home and cared for. When it had sprouted seeds, my daughter took and planted them giving us about five new plants. She was able to learn about caring for her plants and has since harvested the leaves for soup!
On any outing and with all Montessori activities, remember to follow your child. Follow their interests, their attention span, their direction. They know what they need and want so remember to try and let them lead as often as you can.
We at Góc Montessori hope you found this article useful.