Great Summer Camps And Programs For New York City Children

The lazy (or not so lazy!) days of summer are a great time for children to explore extracurricular activities in depth. Whether your child prefers outdoors sports and recreation or indoor fun like musical theater and cooking, there are day programs in and just outside of the city that offer all kinds of fun and learning. So if you haven’t already booked for summer, enjoy this wonderful batch of summer classes and camps—and be sure to check with your favorite venues to see what they have planned!

The waterfront activities hosted by The Advantage Sea and Sports Camp at Maritime College are nothing short of amazing for New York City kids ages 6-17. Supervised by award-winning staff, children can kayak, sail, swim, and play tennis, soccer, basketball, kickball, softball, capture the flag, and much more. The 55-acre campus includes several fields, a gymnasium, a beach volleyball court, and a beautiful indoor swimming pool.

For families interested in an August camp program, ArchiKids runs August 19-30 and introduces children ages 9-13 to the world of architecture in New York City. This summer, campers will be focusing on bridges and skyscrapers while visiting places like the top of the Citibank building in Queens, the tram along the Queensboro Bridge, and the Chinese Scholar Garden in Snug Harbor. The hands-on program introduces specific architectural concepts before allowing kids to build his or her own structure(s) while experimenting with form and materials.

Summer camp at The Art Farm In The City is all about the petting zoo, animal science classes, field trips, and more. For ages 3-8, the program combines nature, the arts, and sports with offerings such as cooking, swimming, soccer, face painting, drama, and outdoor playground time. Themes change on a weekly basis and campers can register by week. Early drop off and extended care available.

Kids ages 4-14 can learn, discover, and simply have fun at Bank Street Summer Camp. The program uses the city’s vast resources to create a diverse group of offerings such as Spanish immersion, exploring nature, swimming, musical theater, cooking, science, film writing and directing, chess, scavenger hunts, sports, and other games.

From ice skating to golf, from soccer to bowling, Chelsea Piers offers some wonderful summer sports camps for kids ages 3-17. Every day, children get the chance to try an activity that’s outside of their core sport. Other fun and educational activities include Harbor Cruises aboard a U.S. Coast Guard-certified vessel and appearances by professional athletes. Plus, campers enrolled in the Urban Adventure program make visits to off-site locations and also get the chance to kayak, stand-up paddle board, and sail on the Hudson.

Summer camp at Citibabes is built around weekly themed adventures. Children ages 17 months to 7 years encounter new and exciting activities each week, such as insect and flower observation, a fossil dig, volcano experiments, and group mural building. In CitiCamp Jr. (17-27 months, with adult), littlest ones engage in art and sensory activities, free play, music, and movement, and enjoy snacks. In CitiCamp (28 months to 4 years, fully separated), tots enjoy art projects, dress-up, and more. And at CitiCamp Sr. (4-7 years), kids take part in both on- and off-site programming, including swimming, tennis, and soccer.

For active adventures including go-karts, ziplines, waterslides, rock climbing, ropes courses, and gaga, kids ages 4-14 can sign up for Corbin’s Crusaders. In addition to their unique offerings, the summer camp hosts more traditional sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, lacrosse, golf, and swimming. Located on a ten-acre property in New City, New York—about 25 minutes from Manhattan—Corbin’s includes door-to-door counselor-monitored bus service and a mostly year-round staff of seasoned professionals.

The range of activities and sports is extensive and customized for different age groups at Dwight Summer Day Camp: Pee Wee Camp (ages 4-5), Junior Camp (ages 6-8), and Senior Camp (ages 9-13). Programs include 2D and 3D art, game design, circus arts, music, movement/dance, yoga, swimming, fencing, basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, gymnastics, tennis, and more. The camp offers age-appropriate day and overnight trips; an indoor swimming pool; and is run by Dwight School faculty, professional coaches and camp experts, including the former Director of Youth Sports at Asphalt Green, Mike Bailey.

Summer camp at The Fashion Class covers sewing, fashion design, jewelry making, arts and crafts, modeling, fashion illustration, and branding. Kids ages 6-17 learn to sew, illustrate, and design in addition to creating a clothing brand, making accessories and jewelry, visiting fashion museums and designer showrooms, and hearing from industry experts. The teen summer camp, From Concept to Creation, focuses on how to start a clothing line.

Gate Hill Day Camp is where many NYC kids ages 3-15 spend their summers. With a large heated pool complex, an amazing outdoor adventure program, and 33 acres of magnificent mountainside at their fingertips, campers can choose from activities like ziplining, rock climbing, archery, fencing, martial arts, gymnastics, ceramics, cooking, gaga, and a wide array of sports. The camp’s nature program offers everything an outdoorsy child could want, from hiking and fishing to vegetable and herb gardens and a mini-farm with goats, chickens, rabbits, and sheep.

Registration is underway for ¡HOLA! A Playgroup In Spanish summer programs, and this season, in addition to its regular language immersion programs, ¡HOLA! is pleased to offer a “MI CUENTO FAVORITO” (My Favorite Book). Kids ages 3-6 will learn Spanish through beautiful stories found in children’s books. Classes will involve a sensory approach to story related activities as children build vocabulary and come to understand the content of the book.

NYC children ages 5-12 enjoy the great outdoors and explore the world around them in a safe and fun environment at The JCC Day Camp @ Pearl River. Campers can expect all of the great staff, coaches, and programming from The JCC in Manhattan, including instructional and general swimming, tennis, volleyball, basketball, kickball, soccer, lacrosse, art, yoga, rock climbing, gaga, and more.

Owned and run by Scott Heifetz, a real rocket scientist, Launch Math & Science Centers run exciting and educational one-week camps on the Upper West Side for children ages 4-12. The 2013 summer season includes Rockin’ Robotics & Electronics and Scratch Programming & Gaming as well as plans for half-day programs for littlest campers. While the programs are educational, the emphasis is always on fun, hands-on projects that kids get to bring home at the end of the day.

At Lawrence Woodmere Academy, campers ages 2-15 can enjoy traditional sports like tennis, soccer, baseball, and basketball alongside newer activities such as gaga, yoga, and aeroball (which uses a trampolining basketball system). Also on offer are cheerleading, martial arts, cooking, musical theater, and special programs for ages 2-5, including French language exposure and storytelling with puppetry.

At their traditional day summer camp program for children 3 years old through entering third grade, Leman Manhattan offers campers swim lessons, soccer, tennis, basketball, karate, yoga, woodworking, outdoor play at their rooftop playground, and a daily lunch prepared by chefs trained at the French Culinary Institute. Additionally, Leman offers weekly workshops for fourth through ninth graders in which kids can enjoy playing basketball, honing their culinary skills, and working in visual and performing arts.

Budding ballerinas and dancers of all kinds can attend Peridance Capezio Center’s School at Peridance for two or ten weeks of instruction. Ages 6-12 can take ballet, modern, jazz, tap, African, hip hop, salsa, choreography, and dance history. Programs also include musical theater and crafts.

The oldest summer day camp in the U.S., Pierce Day Camp offers age-appropriate, instructionally based programming amidst its 27 acres and seven swimming pools. From baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and lacrosse to archery, gymnastics, performing arts, gardening, and horseback riding, Pierce has a wide array of appealing activities for children ages 3-13. In addition to their beautiful new synthetic turf athletic field, the camp now has a Pierce Jitney service for families looking to reunite out in the Hamptons at the end of each week.

Summer camp at THE TECHNO TEAM is great exercise for young minds. Held at Reebok Sports Club/NY, this camp offers computer and technology courses that incorporate art, design, and programming for ages 3-12.

Offering John McEnroe tennis academy coaches and directors along with 20 courts, Sportime Randall’s Island hosts a premier tennis camp for kids ages 5-15. The venue also has a sports camp with activities like basketball, Ultimate Frisbee, flag football, kickball, softball, pilates, yoga, and even a slip and slide.

Located just 25 miles North of the George Washington Bridge in Ringwood, NJ, Spring Lake Day Camp has natural beauty close to the city. With a 5-acre spring-fed lake, tall pines, athletic facilities, and a state-of-the-art heated pool complex, Spring Lake offers campers ages 4-15 awesome waterslides, amazing ziplines, and climbing walls. Other activities include archery, boating, discovery science, field hockey, film making, fishing, fitness, golf, street hockey, horseback riding, photography, and wake boarding.

Little ones will flip for summer camp at the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics. Ages 6-12 can enroll in circus camp in which they’ll fly on the trapeze, bounce on the trampoline, walk the tightrope, and tumble in a clown suit as part of a three-ring circus. Younger ones ages 3-5 can attend the little kid camp in which they’ll do basic tumbling and learn POPACTION shapes.

Camps hosted by TADA! Youth Theater focus on musical theater skills and play building for kids ages 4-14. Taught by two teaching artists, the programs also cover associated themes such as theater games, comedic improv, and dramatic play. Children can master cool dance moves, sing their hearts out, create original musicals, learn Broadway and Off-Broadway numbers, and produce their own shows all in preparation for showing off their hard work to family and friends at the very end of camp.

Kids get to write, direct, act, and edit their own films at Take Two Film Academy week-long filmmaking and acting programs. Ages 8-15 will learn how to take an idea from conception to a finished product. Camps are held on the Upper West Side and the Financial District.

Of the many active offerings at Woodmont Day Camp, city kids seem to especially love go karts, archery, and the zipline! Campers ages 4-15 spend their summer days outdoors enjoying baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, flag football, fishing, boating, hiking, and more. Yoga, dance, science, arts and crafts, ceramics, jewelry, cooking, music, theatre, fencing, rocketry, and magic are also on the activities menu. Attendees can even select an elective they really enjoy and participate in it for an hour each day for one week.