When Summer comes around, I struggle, at least in the beginning. Once I get over my initial envy of my mom friends who are not working, I wrap my head around how my kids can enjoy Summer while I work. And stay at home moms — I get over my envy fast. I have been on the other side and know it is no cake walk. Summer is joyful but still has a few rough edges.
My biggest struggle as a working mom during this time is child care. Although my kids have nursery school and camp, there are days camps may be closed, or there is that period when one camp session ends, and there are a few days in between before the next session starts. Oy vey! Or the nursery school takes a ‘teachers development day.’ There is always something. Summer can be intense when you are working, yet you want your kids to have fun, summertime experiences. And childcare isn’t only a working mom issue, my stay at home mom friends regularly share they feel fortunate to spend this time with the kids, yet they also need a break from time to time.
So how does a parent get a bit of time off or find last minute care in New York City? Luckily we have five resources as well as our Free Sports Programs for Kids in New York City Guide that we recommend you check out for a summer of no-stress on the childcare front!
Free Camps for the Kids
The city offers free camps throughout the boroughs. Depending on the camp program, you or a guardian may have to attend with your child. Other camps allow the parent to wander off near the vicinity while others are drop-off. Most of the free camps are half days. See these camps as not only an affordable resource for your child to have a fun summer but as a way to cut child care costs or have some time to yourself.
Apple Camp (Camp locations vary, check online for locations)
A free camp for ages 8 to 12. There are three 90-minute sessions per camp. Kids can learn coding, art, and design, music, or movie making. It’s pretty cool. Although a parent or legal guardian has to accompany the child — grab an iced latte, dropped your kid off, sit there for an hour-ish and catch up with emails or go wild and read a book. Registration opens on June 17th for the camps at local Apple Stores in the NYC area.
Everyday Play, Brooklyn
Register now for Everyday Play, a free, 5-day per week multi-sport program for kids ages 6-17, will return to Kaiser Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn and Williamsbridge Oval, Bronx in 2019. NEW SITE FOR 2019: Baisley Pond Park in Queens. The instructional program takes place Monday through Friday from 9:30 am – 12 noon and includes track and field, tennis, golf, soccer, and more.
Emergency/Last Minute Childcare
If a baby sitter app is not your thing for last minute care try these resources. We have used all three of these suggestions for daycare, classes, and camps, so these are not blind recommendations. Keep in mind that some require pre-registration. If you foresee that you’ll need care in the Summer get the paperwork out of the way so you’re ready to go on the day an emergency pops up.
Bright Horizon (Locations in all boroughs)
My youngest is only three, and camps are not usually an option for this age. I have been using Bright Horizon since my oldest was an infant. Not all centers operate as an emergency back-up so you’ll need to check in with the care center in your area. Usually, there is a one-time registration fee, and once you are set up with all the required paperwork, you call in advance or last minute to check if there is room for your child to be dropped off that day. Each care center has different ages they cover but most cover from infant to age five.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7am-6:30 pm
2019 rate: $25 an hour
NY Kid Club (Locations citywide)
The camps at NY Kids Club fill up fast, but we have found there is always a spot or two open as well as last minute cancelations. This resource has gotten me out of a bind when a babysitter has canceled on me, or my husband has the last minute work trip. Ages 2.5 to 8 years.
This camp runs as a summer camp, but when space is available, you can purchase a day pass for their fun camp program. I have used this camp for my oldest, and there has always been space. I will say it’s a bit of a wild scene, but he loves it. Ages I would suggest for this camp are six and up, which is helpful for parents with big kids as emergency drop off centers are limited for older kids.
Summers go fast. Regardless if you work full time or are running around with the kids — we live in a city where Summer is pure joy. Now that I am back to working full time I have learned that it’s about balance, a bit of a can-do attitude and knowing that when I do have time off to thoroughly be present and enjoy the moments I have with my kids.