RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Keep busy with epic day camp programs for kids this summer! These general day camps are perfect for little ones who want a taste of everything—whether it’s a mix of arts, science and outdoor activities or has you learning to scale climbing walls or whip up something awesome in the kitchen. Looking for something more specific? Check out our dedicated lists for sports camp, STEM and science camps, creative art camp, sleepaway camps, performing arts camps and even family camp!
Day camp in New York
The littlest campers cook, get messy with crafts, frolic in the rooftop playground’s sprinklers and participate in outdoor activities. Older kids go on field trips and learn from visiting specialists, and all children participate in a weekly Shabbat celebration, and special themed days—Pajama Day, Patriotic Day and Backwards Day—build camp spirit. Ages 18 mos–5 years
Thanks to the fantastic zoos in NYC, which are backed by the Wildlife Conservation Society, families have the opportunity to see animals from across the globe without ever leaving the city. The massive Bronx Zoo (one of the biggest in North America), as well as the Central Park, Prospect Park and Queens zoos, all invite kids to learn about numerous species through hands-on summer programs. Offerings are slightly different for each location, but youngsters are guaranteed to get up-close with all sorts of creatures, explore cool exhibits, conduct science experiments and learn from the zookeepers. Marine fanatics will revel in the NY Aquarium’s unique camps covering underwater dwellers from New York Harbor and beyond. Ages 3–13.
Budding screenwriters and film producers dive in to filmmaking headfirst through this movie arts program led by industry professionals. In fully outfitted production studios and classrooms, students will join in on intensive workshops learning to write, shoot and edit their own films, which will be shown at a screening with their families to close out the camp. Since each workshop is designed to accomodate twelve students max, each child is sure to get the individualized attention they need. Ages 8 to 14.
Even preschoolers deserve a cool camp experience, and this popular NYC play space provides the perfect spot for little ones to learn and grow. Youngsters toddle around the safe and colorful sports gym while exploring and socializing, but daily specials stimulate their minds even further. With guidance from trained counselors, the kids dig for dinosaurs, learn how to take care of Mother Earth and much more. Children are exposed to music, art, storytelling, cooking, science experiments, building projects and crafts to go along with a special daily theme. The Chelsea location offers two-, three-, four- and five-day options, and Upper East Side campers can choose between two- and three-day weeks. Ages 3–4.
Summer Camp at Rodeph Shalom School has plenty to offer the little ones! Your kiddos will enjoy arts & crafts projects, yoga classes, fun field trips, playtime on the facility's rooftop playground, exploring RSS's library and indoor mini gym, exciting games in an air-conditioned gym and swim classes in a heated pool. Camp sessions also feature fun weekly themes like Under the Sea, Terrific Travelers, Amazing Animals and Super Sports lead by certified instructors. Open to children entering a Threes, Pre–K or kindergarten program in the fall. Additional location at 10 W 84th St.
Some kids always seem to be in “go!” mode—ready to take on a challenge and try something new at every turn—and that’s exactly the type of kid that Dwight School’s Adventure Camp was designed for. Tweens ages 9 to 12 are in for an action-packed summer, with fresh weekly themes that transport them through historical periods and to far-flung locations around the world. Sweet activities and community service projects keep campers busy creating a rainforest in the Amazon, battling climate change during the Ice Age, hunting in the Stone Age and even journeying to another galaxy. If those crazy adventures aren’t enough, day trips, leadership exercises and daily swim instruction round the days out. The Discovery, Sports and Spark camps are open to kids as young as age 4, so little ones can get in on the action too. Ages 4–12.
At the 50-acre Henry Kaufmann Campgrounds in Rockland County, kids jump in on traditional outdoor activities and pick up knowledge relating to math, engineering and biology, thanks to the STEM curriculum developed by the New York Academy of Sciences. Adding to their education are visits from professional scientists and other experts from NYC-area museums and an interactive playground that demonstrates principles of physics, anatomy and more. Other notable offerings include a stellar sports and rec program that provides tennis, soccer, yoga, jewelry making, digital photography and film electives, with instruction from the pros. Workshops on coding, LEGO robotics, gardening and cooking tailor your youngster’s summer experience to a perfect fit. Ages 4½–11.
Spend the summer in style at Deerkill Day Camp, a third generation family-owned business offering four, five, six, seven and eight-week sessions on a 15-acre site. Door-to-door transportation on mini air-conditioned buses make the trip from NYC to the campgrounds easy as pie, plus there’s plenty to do when the kids get there! They’ll get professional swim instruction in large heated pools and exposure to fun sports activities, a chance to dabble in performing arts and creative arts like ceramics and woodworking, plus they’ll have the opportunity to try out Deerkill’s new 28-foot climbing tower and 250-foot zipline. Good to know: campers can also register for two weeks during their first summer. Ages 3 to 15.
This traditional, urban day camp has provided memorable summers to Brooklyn kids for 25 years and counting, encouraging them to really explore their borough. Any activity that campers could dream of is offered here, whether they’re outdoorsy types who are into nature walks, social butterflies who enjoy interactive exercises or creatives who love crafts, music and dance. Kids are grouped by age for full days of amusement, with specialized options like Cirque d’Été Circus Camp and Sports Academy. In addition to on-site programming, campers also venture out to Prospect Park and nearby pools, ballparks and museums. Senior campers get the special treat of an overnight trip to Club Getaway in the Berkshires. Shuttle bus service is available from locations in Brooklyn for an additional fee. Ages 3–16.
After being cooped up all winter, city kids can run free on this New Jersey camp’s sprawling 30-acre campus. Outdoor facilities include a 40,000-square-foot heated-pool complex divided into five individual pools, a five-acre lake for fishing and boating, baseball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, a Go Kart track, a 500-foot zip line, a volleyball beach, a ropes course, a four-person bungee and four ball pits. Each day consists of seven periods: two athletic, two art and two swim (one instructional lesson and one that’s just for fun), plus lunch. There are also weekly special events, like carnivals, theme days and Olympic competitions, and trips for older kids, which last year included jaunts to Hershey Park and Medieval Times. Ages 3–15.