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Sports camps for kids in New York

Get high-energy half-pints moving at cool sports camps for kids, offering everything from basketball and rock-climbing to surfing and ropes courses

Photograph: Courtesy Asphalt Green

Active youngsters who can't get enough of the sports and athletics offered inafter-school programs during the year can spend their summer vacation blowing off steam in the coolest ways possible. Kids' fitness centers in the city and beyond offer endless sports camps for kids, from a brand-new tennis program in Brooklyn to a circus-inspired acrobatics camp or way-cool surf lessons at Rockaway beach. With awesome youth fitness classes and camps available for almost any sport you can imagine, you'll have no problem getting little ones off the couch. 

RECOMMENDED: Summer camps for kids

Sports camps

Deer Mountain Day Camp

It’s conveniently located minutes from the George Washington Bridge in scenic Rockland County, New York, but kids still feel like they’ve gotten out of town on the 25-acre mountainside grounds, complete with six swimming pools, a lake and multiple sports fields. Deer Mountain offers a ton of alfresco activities, whether your kid is into extreme sports (like mountain biking, ropes courses and zip lining) or more relaxing fun (such as gardening, kayaking and fishing). Little athletes have their pick of all the usual suspects—softball, football, lacrosse, tennis and volleyball—plus cricket, fencing, archery, rugby and golf. The beautiful lake is perfect for swimming, canoeing, paddleboating or just bouncing off the giant, inflatable Wibit. Ages 3–15.

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Chelsea Piers Sports Academy

Young athletes don’t have to pick and choose—they dive right into a wide range of sports, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, baseball and European handball. (Yes, really.) Daily cross-training also has campers trying gymnastics, bowling and ice skating in a world-class facility, where supportive coaches help them work toward their personal bests (Until they face off in a counselors-versus-campers Spirit Games competition, and then all bets are off). All equipment is provided at the Chelsea Piers activity complex. Ages 5–12.

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Circus Camp @ SLAM

At this high-energy, big-top–inspired camp, kids have a blast flying and flipping through the air on the trapeze, catching serious air on the trampolines, testing their balance on the tightrope and even tumbling in a clown suit. They do all of this while learning the basics of SLAM founder Elizabeth Streb’s signature Pop Action technique, a fun and challenging mash-up of dance, stunt work and acrobatics that’s designed to push kids’ physical limits. Little circus performers show off their awesome new skills in a family performance every Friday. Ages 6–12.

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Playgarden Camp

On a typical day at this Tribeca camp, preschool-age thrill seekers bust a move to explore Playgarden’s sizable indoor playground, which features slides, ball pits, tunnels and rides. Campers have a blast venturing through an obstacle course and taking a wild ride down the zip line. A healthy organic snack each day fuels their play while teaching them about nutrition. Sign up for three or five days a week—at just three hours per day, this program is a great introduction to summer camp for younger kids. Ages 2–5.

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Skudin Surf Camp

Little beach bums learn to ride the waves at this Rockaway surf camp. Certified surf instructors teach kids safe board techniques—first on land, then in the ocean—with a 1:1 or 1:3 instructor-to-camper ratio. Beach games like tennis and volleyball ensure no one gets waterlogged, and snacks and a free T-shirt are included for all. If a week in the sun is too much, Skudin offers daily sessions; parents are encouraged to come and enjoy a relaxing day at the beach while their child surfs. Ages 5–16.

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Court 16 Camps

At Brooklyn’s only children’s tennis club, the United States Tennis Association–sanctioned indoor courts are kid-size. While freshmen (ages 3 to 4) start with the basics, like hand-eye coordination, sophomores (ages 5 to 6) learn the fundamentals, like ground strokes and serves. Juniors (ages 7 to 8) sharpen their agility through exercises that boost muscle memory and coordination while prepping them to play against one another. Seniors (ages 9 to 11) hone their strategies and techniques to face off against each other in court and master the game. Ages 3–11.

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Asphalt Green Camps

This day camp balances sporty activities, like swimming, with arty endeavors, such as art making and creative writing. The age-specific programs—Pee Wee Camp (ages 4½ to 6), Junior Camp (ages 6 to 8), Senior Camp (ages 8 to 13) and Counselor in Training (ages 14 to 15)—ensure that kids enjoy a schedule tailored just for them. Campers take weekly field trips to cheer on the Brooklyn Cyclones at a game or practice backflips at BounceU, inspiring teamwork and cooperation. Ages 4.5–15.

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Upper East Side

Brooklyn Boulders Adventure Weeks

Kids climb the walls—in a good way—as they learn the basics of scaling rocks while simultaneously developing confidence, as well as teamwork and problem-solving skills. Instructors coach them through rock-climbing essentials like slack lining and bouldering, and challenge them with new courses and obstacles each week. The ratio of one staffer to five campers ensures a safe environment, and daily open playtime at nearby Douglass Greene Park keeps kids from getting antsy. Lunch and snacks are provided, in addition to Friday pizza parties. Ages 5–12.

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