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Academic summer camps: The best summer camps for kids in New York City

If "no school" elicits tears, not cheers, pick one of these academic camps for your little camper where learning is key.

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Photograph: Courtesy AMNH

American Museum of Natural History camp

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Photograph: Courtesy AMNH

American Museum of Natural History camp

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Brooklyn Cutural Adventures Program

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Photograph: Courtesy Heart of Brooklyn

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Camp

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Photograph: Courtesy Heart of Brooklyn

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Camp

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Brooklyn Robot Foundry

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Photograph: Courtesy Intrepid Museum

Camp Intrepid

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Photograph: Courtesy Intrepid Museum

Camp Intrepid

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Photograph: Courtesy Intrepid Museum

Camp Intrepid

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Photograph: Gordon Baldwin

Carmelo the Science Fellow at Cosmic Cove

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Photograph: Heather Weston

Carmelo the Science Fellow at Cosmic Cove

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Photograph: Casey Ashenhurst

Curious Jane

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Photograph: Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

History Weeks

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Photograph: Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden

History Weeks

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i2 Camp

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Photograph: Jeff Zorabedian

Launch Math & Science Center

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Photograph: Courtesy Launch

Launch Math & Science Centers

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Marymount Science and Technology Camp

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McBurney Science Camp

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NYC is My Backyard

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NYC is My Backyard

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Photograph: Courtesy NYCCSSE

NYC Summer Space Camp

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Photograph: Courtesy NYCCSSE

NYC Summer Space Camp

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Photograph: Courtesy of RoboFun

RoboFun

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Photograph: Courtesy of RoboFun

RoboFun

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Storefront Science

School may be out for summer, but the city is full of academic camps for little learners. During their summer break, kids can broaden their horizons by taking part in programs that cover everything from robotics to chemistry. Some of our favorite city institutions, including the American Museum of Natural Historyand the Intrepid, are also holding academic camps for kids—there, they can learn about dinosaurs, space travel, inventors and more. Other summer camps for kids, like Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program, NYC is My Backyard and Kidventures, hit up several museums and parks over the summer—campers learn about each area while at the destination.

RECOMMENDED: Summer camps for kids

Academic camps

Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program

Little ones broaden their horizons by hitting up educational institutions all over the borough, this year around the theme Earth, Air, Water, Fire. Among other Brooklyn-based exploits, campers will learn about some of the connections between art, literature, history and world culture at such places as the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park. Camp runs June 30–Aug 8, Mon–Fri 9am–3:30pm. Extended-day options are available. Two-week session $675.

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Prospect Park

Brooklyn Robot Foundry Camps

Campers put the principles of mechanical engineering to work as they design and build functioning robots. They’ll take classes like Robotic Vehicles, in which they’ll build and take home robots that move; Robot Universe, which ends with the creation of a 14-foot Godzilla robot; and Intro to Programming, which helps beginners learn computer programs and how to build robots with sensors and moving parts. When they need a break from the lab, kids eat lunch in nearby J.J. Byrne Playground. Camp runs June 11–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. Extended-day options are available. One-week session $595 (five days), $480 (four days; June 30–July 3); $360 (three days; June 11–13). Ages 5 to 12.

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Gowanus

Carmelo the Science Fellow Camp

Science teacher Carmelo Piazza (known to giggly kids as "Carmelo the Marshmallow") leads campers in indoor and outdoor experiments, encouraging them to ask questions and work in groups with their peers. In one session children make air cannons that propel marshmallows across the room; in another they’ll contruct a rocket-power car that moves when you blow on it. They’ll also bend light and make rainbows, fashion individualized aquariums and build 30-foot towers without using any ladders. Camp runs July 7–Aug 22, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. Extended-day options are available. One-week session $455. Ages 5 to 11.

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Carroll Gardens

Curious Jane

Girls get to dabble in science and engineering. The brainchild of a mom, industrial designer and all-girls educator, this camp (for rising third to sixth graders) explores weekly themes such as the graphic novel, spy science, and DIY gadgets and gears. CJ Junior tailors a similar agenda to first and second graders. Check website for locations. Full-day camp runs June 30–Aug 15, 9am–3:30pm; session length varies by location. One-week session $485–$585. Ages 6 to 12. $175 (ages 6 to 8). Ages 6 to 12

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Dazzling Discoveries STEM Education Program

This brand-new learning center (it opened January 2014) is equipped with gadgets and gizmos that practically beg to be tinkered with, such as 3-D printers, design software and a chemistry lab, as well as a backyard garden for when tired eyes need a break. Campers are divided into age groups, where they’ll explore subjects like engineering, robotics, architecture, weather, chemistry, cooking and nature. Trips to local parks and swimming are also on the menu. Camp runs June 16–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. One-week session $595. Ages 5 to 16.

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Upper West Side

iD Tech Camps

This nationwide program, hosted by over 80 universities, means serious business: Even kids with no experience whatsoever can plunge into complex STEM topics ranging from Scratch and Java programming to race car– game design, app development and Web building. No class has more than eight students per instructor so that every kid gets the ultimate career-boosting education. Tech-obsessed teen siblings can take more specific, intensive courses like electrical engineering, moviemaking and coding. Camps held at Columbia, NYU, NYIT, Marymount Manhattan and Fordham University .Camps run June 23–Aug 15, Mon–Fri; schedules vary by location. Check website for location and schedule details. One-week session $899–$949. Ages 7 to 17.

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i2 Camp

This summer program, which debuted in 2013 and has in the past partnered with the likes of MIT, NYU, the New York Hall of Science and Columbia, introduces tweens to science, technology, engineering and math through hands-on, one-week courses. Depending on their interest, tweens and young teens may analyze their own DNA, build remote-control underwater vehicles, or collect and analyze forensic evidence in a “crime scene.” After lunch (included in the camp price), campers listen to speakers, such as astronomers, FBI experts or entrepreneurs, and participate in activities that combine the camp’s many science topics. Additionally, i2-ers sometimes take field trips to museums, science centers and parks. This summer the camp will be held at five locations: Greenwich Academy, Hackley, Green Vale, Buckley and Chapin. Camp schedules vary by location; check the website for details. One-week session $700, with a two-week minimum. Ages 10 to 13.

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Kidventures NYC

At spots such as the New York Hall of Science, Belvedere Castle and the Prospect Park Zoo, kids sing songs, listen to stories, create art and participate in activities that teach them about their destination. They also earn their stripes by learning to read city maps and ride public transportation. •Borough Hall, 209 Joralemon St at Court St, Downtown Brooklyn . •35th St between Madison and Park Aves. Camp runs June 9–Aug 14, Mon–Thu 8:45am–3pm. One-week session $475, one day $125. Early-enrollment and multiple-week discounts available. Ages 4 to 7.

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Launch Math & Science Centers Camp

Campers put their noggins to the test with courses in video-game design, robotics and rocket science. Math and science come to life with projects that have kids doing everything from constructing their own bots in a robotics class to building model bridges and dams in the Architecture & Engineering camp (the latter is new this year). Debuting this summer is a Math & Science Fundamentals program for pre-K and K campers. Camps run June 16–Aug 28, Mon–Fri 9am–3:30pm. One-week session $400–$675 (plus $50 materials fee) depending on the program; early-enrollment discounts and extended-day options are available. Ages 4 to 12.

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Marymount Science and Technology Camp

Kids with a passion for science work in Marymount’s state-of-the-art labs exploring subjects like robotics, chemistry, video game design, animation and engineering. A professional teaching staff leads youngsters in hands-on experiments, research and field studies. Trips to local science museums will supplement what campers learn in class. Camp runs June 23–July 25, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. Extended day options available. Five-week session $3,900, four-week session $3,3750, three-week session $2,800, two-week session $1,975, one-week session $1,000. Ages 6 to 13.

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Upper East Side

McBurney Science Camp

There's a good chance your kids will get their hands dirty in this experience-based program. Campers explore science through games, trips and hands-on activities like volcano building and fossil making. When junior scientists aren't making discoveries, they participate in traditional camp activities (crafts, swimming and sports). Camp runs June 30–July 11, July 14–25, July 28–Aug 8, Aug 11–22, Mon–Fri 9am–5pm. Two-week session $740, members $690. Ages 5 to 8.

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West Village

NYC Is My Backyard

Kids make the most of living in one of the greatest cities in the world by exploring a specific area (and taking part one day in a special community service project there, such as park beautification) each week. This summer, many of the travels on tap are playground explorations. Throughout their whirlwind week, participants record their adventures in a guidebook they’ll get to keep. Locations vary (917-670-4406, nycismybackyard.com). Check website for details. Camp runs July 7–Aug 15, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. One-week session $790. Sibling and multiple-week discounts available. Ages 5 to 13.

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RoboFun Camp

During the morning session, campers dive into robotics, building their own creations. Afternoon sessions offer experiments with video-game-design software, in which youngsters produce a game they can share with their parents, or script and shoot their own stop-motion animation film. For the second year in a row, a new class lets kindergarteners get in on the fun with a morning Lego class. Camp runs June 16–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm (full day), 9am–noon or 1–4pm (half day). One-week session $795 (full day), $425 (half day). Ages 5 to 12.

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Upper West Side

Storefront Science

Founded by veteran science teacher Dr. Leonisa Ardizzone, the UWS spot is the perfect hub for curious kids to explore topics like physics, biology, electricity and genetics through ingenious activities. During the summer, children may scrape cells from their cheeks to study their own DNA under microscopes, design and construct bridges, or create their own electrical circuits. New venue details were not available at press time; check website for updates (646-833-7195, storefrontscience.com). Camp runs July 7–Aug 29, 9am–4pm (full day), 9am–noon or 1–4pm (half day). One-week session $600 (full day) or $350 (half day). Ages 4 to 12.

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