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Art camp for kids in New York

Let these art camps keep your little creatives busy in the summer months! They'll love painting, crafting and more.

Photo credit: Karen Merbaum

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC

Art camp for all! If you can't keep your mini mes away from painting their next masterpiece, building with clay, writing exciting stories or creating cool collages, these artsy summer camps are for you! If you're thinking ahead for the coming schoolyear, also browse our favorite after school programs, sleepaway camp programs and be sure to stay busy all season long with our favorite free things to do with kids.

Art camps

Writopia Camp

Campers write much more than letters home to Mom and Dad in these creative workshops! Writopia has 11 lab locations where authors and playwrights help budding writers ages 6 to 18 develop pieces—humor, sci-fi, poetry or otherwise. Each day, young wordsmiths break into small groups to work on their original pieces, then delve into electives such as songwriting, improv or filmmaking in the afternoons (ages 9 to 16). Kids who dream of seeing their work performed onstage will relish the Playwriting and Performance session, in which a produced playwright guides them through writing intensives and fine-tunes the theatrical aspects of their play. An Off Broadway field trip and a final performance round off the week (ages 9 to 16). Ages 6–16. 

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Upper West Side

Cooper Hewitt Design Camp

The amazing, interactive exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum provide a base for the exploration of many art forms during these weeklong camps. The summer kicks off with a graphic design intensive, inspired by the creative aspects of Pixar flicks like Cars and The Incredibles (July 11 to 15), then campers delve into the world of architecture and help design buildings of the future (July 18 to 22). Budding fashionistas will freak over the Wearable Design week, centered around boundary-pushing ideas in fashion (July 25 to 29), and those who’d rather design everyday items can sketch and sculpt pieces in the Product Perfect week (Aug 1 to 5).

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Upper East Side

BAM Youth Animation Lab Camp

Creative kids are immersed in the world of animation at BAM’s immensely popular summer workshops. With help from instructors visiting from the Museum of the Moving Image, youngsters come up with their own storyline, then design and animate a short project. Whether they choose to hand-draw a cool flip-book or use high-tech software to create a Claymation video clip, they learn about the different ways to make a tale come to life. Collaborating with a small production team, each young animator creates their own  masterpiece, which they proudly present to family and friends at the end of the week. Ages 8, 9.

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Fort Greene

Center for Architecture Foundation Summer@theCenter

City kids who can’t get enough of Gotham’s incredible skyscrapers can spend their summer days discovering the art of building design at the Center for Architecture. For a whole week, they put on their mental hard hats and draw and build models for a dream structure of their choice—anything goes, from apartments to playgrounds to a realistic set for their favorite movie. Each week, campers take on a different topic, such as bridges or neighborhood design, and dive in through art and building exercises, walking tours and site visits. They even use 3-D computer modeling programs to create digital designs that let them do an animated run-through of their original structure. High-school students will want to get in on the two-week Architectural Design Studio to create a portfolio in preparation for college. Ages 8–18.

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Greenwich Village

Inventgenuity Summer Day Camp

In weeklong sessions throughout the summer, arty kids channel their creative energy into hands-on projects centered around a specific theme. The Beam Center’s guides, including artists, designers, filmmakers and musicians, reveal an artistic focus for the session (past motifs have included light, balance and sound), then lead campers in building a collaborative creation. They use all sorts of raw materials, from plastic to textiles, to create an impressive piece to show by the end of camp. Kids need to bring a bag lunch each day, but Beam Center provides snacks. Shuttle service from Brooklyn available for an additional fee. Ages 7–11.

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Carroll Gardens

Barking Cat Studio Art in the City Summer Day Camp

There are so many incredible art museums and public works to explore around NYC, but who has the time to hit them all? This camp makes it possible, getting kids’ creative juices flowing with daily Art & Play adventures in the city—each week explores a special theme, such as LEGO Sculpture or Art & Robots, with outings to match. The groups head back to the studio for lunch after the field trip, then put their fresh ideas into an art project before a full afternoon of games, yoga and dance. All art supplies, museum admission and daily snacks are provided, and the helpful staff is around to assist little ones in bringing their ideas to life through drawing, coloring, painting and sculpting. Early drop-off and extended day options are available for an additional fee. Ages 5–11.

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Windsor Terrace

NYC Kids Camp

During NYC Kids' Lower Camp, children spend the day exploring nature and science through hands-on art projects, romping around a playroom stocked with soft mats and gym equipment and frolicking in the outdoor courtyard. Campers are split up by age, with a toddler group (18 months–2 years), a 2's group (ages 2–3), a 3's group (age 3) and a 4's & 5's group (ages 4–5) providing appropriate activities for each. While the youngest ones supplement their mornings with snacktime, dress-up, storytelling, puppets and freeplay, kids ages 3 and up can go on nature walks, join in weekly soccer and swim programs or even take field trips to places like The High Line or Jefferson Market Garden. Older kids in the Upper Camp (ages 5–12) spend the mornings investigating art and science in and out of the classroom, practicing strokes during swim lessons at the YMCA and playing soccer and other field sports. In the afternoon, they pick from activities like musical theater, fashion design, cooking and filmmaking for their choice time. Other daily adventures may take youngsters to the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Aquarium or to the Hudson River for fishing. Ages 2 to 12.

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Art Summer Camps at the Painted Cloud

Campers go way beyond tie-dye and friendship bracelets at this arty summer program. During weeklong workshops, they delve into various creative concepts and turn their ideas into original pieces. Teaching artists provide inspiration and school the campers in painting, sculpture, sewing and printmaking techniques. In addition to the art making, they break for lunch and have a chance to blow off some steam with plenty of playtime outdoors, complete with sprints through the sprinklers. Ages 4 to 10.

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Long Island City Summer Arts Camp

Members of the Long Island City School of Ballet teach dance, representatives from the Long Island City Academy of Music provide music instruction and the Secret Theater stops by for drama lessons. The youngest campers (ages 3 to 6) engage in arts and crafts sessions in between performance lessons, while older kids (ages 7 to 13) devote part of their day to rehearsing a piece they'll perform at the end of the session. Ages 3 to 12.

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Long Island City

NYC Kids Fairy Tale Camp

Little ones can let their imaginations run away with them during this summer arts camp, encouraging city kids to weave their own original fairytale. After getting inspired by the week's featured tale through storytelling, music and movement—themes include Frozen, Beauty & The Beast, The Princess & the Frog and Sofia the First—they'll have time to craft props, costumes and sets. Mom and Dad will love taking in the whimsical production at week's end. Ages 3–5.

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West Village
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