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Winter break camps 2014 for New York City kids

The February school recess is upon us! It's not too late to sign your children up for one of our winter break camps, to keep them engaged over the hiatus.

Despite the sudden arrival of this year's first school recess, it's not too late to suss out next week's winter-break camps. Quite frankly, it's hard to believe that Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day weekend and the midwinter break are all flowing into each other so seamlessly this year—and maybe that's why they completely snuck up on us this year. But the whole reason we've rounded up the best of this year's diverse crop of midwinter break camps is to spare you from searching high and low yourself for ways to keep the kids busy over this year's February break. Among the great picks are a super-cool Olympic Games–themed camp at the Center for Architecture, a circus camp at the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics and even a free learn-to-swim program at NYC recreation centers around the city. Whichever camp you choose, we wish you and your kids a midwinter break tha's as exciting as it is relaxing.


RECOMMENDED: Free mid-winter break fun


  • Photograph: courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    New York Botanical Gardens Winter Science Camp: Plant Pioneers

    Budding scientists get to follow in the footsteps of the eminent botanist, inventor and educator George Washington Carver at this camp. Born into slavery in the 1860s, Carver gained a masters degree and became a famous botanist known for championing the humble peanut as a lucrative cash crop with multiple uses. Campers keep busy collecting samples and conducting experiments at the beautiful Everett Children's Garden, or filling sketchbooks with drawings of plants and animals, and then coloring them with paints the kids will make from natural pigments. Children preserve plant specimens in handmade herbariums and learn farming techniques firsthand with growing projects to take home. New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8181, nybg.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21 Mon–Fri, 9am–4pm. Ages 5–10. $250.

  • Photograph: CMA/Junenoire Mitchell

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Spring Art Colony at Children's Museum of Art

    Young artists get their hands on way more than papier-mâché and poster paints at CMA's intensive art colonies. There are two camps on offer for Presidents' Week: Fashion Design and Stop Motion Animation. Auteurs work in both 2-D and 3-D techniques and write, storyboard and narrate their own short films using iStopmotion software. Fashionistas create their own collections, from sketches and look books to a fully realized runway show, picking up basic sewing, pattern-making and fabric-printing skills along the way. Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton St between Greenwich and Hudson Sts (212-274-0986, www.cmany.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21, 9am–5pm. Ages 6-12. $595.

  • Photograph: courtesy Taste Buds Kitchen

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Taste Buds Kitchen: Warm & Cozy Cooking Camp

    Kids don their aprons and wield their spoons to stir, knead and whip fresh ingredients into mouthwatering creations at this Chelsea camp. The spacious kitchen hosts younger chefs in the morning, with tweens and teens cooking in the afternoon. Each day the groups prepare one sweet and one savory dish, and even though there's lots of sampling during the day, there's always plenty to bring home. The theme for the mid-winter session is—what else?—comfort food, so hungry parents can look forward to the likes of pumpkin mac and cheese, molten lava cakes and warm cinnamon buns. 109 W 27th St between Sixth & Seventh Aves, tenth floor (212-242-2248, tastebudskitchen.com). Camp runs Feb 17–21. Mon–Fri 9am–noon, ages 9–13, 1pm–4pm. Full week $430, daily $100. Ages 4 to 8.

  • Photograph: courtesy Asphalt Green

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Asphalt Green February Fun Camp

    This Upper East Side sports mecca uses only professional coaches and expert instructors to lead campers in the multiple activities they'll tackle during their days here. Grouped by age (4–5, 6–7, or 8–12) kids try their hands—and feet—at multiple sports including gymnastics, yoga, baseball, soccer and martial arts. And, of course, there's swimming every day in the facility's state-of-the-art Olympic standard pool. Asphalt Green, 555 E 90th St between York and East End Aves (212-369-8890, asphaltgreen.org).Camp runs Feb 17–21, Mon–Fri 8:45am–3:15pm. Full week $500, one day $115. Ages 4 to 12.

  • Photograph: Josh Flannigan

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Streb Lab for Action Mechanics: Circus Camp

    Set in an industrial building close to the East River, SLAM's headquarters is part warehouse and part big top. Here even the most active kids will feel sated after taking part in the camp's hyper-kinetic mix of gymnastics, acrobatics and aerial arts, including walking the tightrope, swinging on giant metal rings and trying out the trapeze. The instructors are all performers in Elizabeth Streb's action-oriented dance company. SLAM, 51 North 1st St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-6491, streb.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21, 9:30am–4:30pm. Ages 6–12. $625.

  • Photograph: Filip Wolak

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    American Museum of Natural History: Adventures in Science February Break Program

    The venerable museum's ongoing Adventures in Science program is running three five-day camps during this midwinter break. "Butterflies: Colors in Motion" (grades 2 and 3) is heaven for bug nuts, who get to spend quality time observing the winged wonders and decoding their color patterns in the museum's butterfly habit. "Unlock the Mystery of Poisons" (grades 4 and 5) will have young Hermione Grangers learning why plants and animals make poisons, and how the mysterious toxins can be harnessed for life-saving medicines. "Digital Universe Flight School" (grades 6, 7 and 8) takes serious space cadets on a galactic adventure, roaming the Hayden Planetarium, interacting with astrophysicists and navigating the stars using the museum's own 3-D mapping system, Digital Universe. American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th St (212-769-5100, amnh.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. $550.

  • Photograph: Alejandra Novillo

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Juguemos a Cantar

    This immersion Spanish camp, led by qualified bilingual teachers, is suitable for both absolute beginners and fluent speakers. Campers meet in a bright Park Slope playspace, with an airy school room, plentiful toys and even a small ball pit. Kids can enroll for one day or more, and are kept busy with age-appropriate arts and crafts, games and singing. Juguemos a Cantar, 463 Sixth Ave between 10th and 11th Sts, Park Slope, Brooklyn (917-453-1187, www.juguemos.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21. Full day 9am–3pm, $85 per day; half day 9am–noon, $55. Extended hours available. Ages 3 to 10.

  • Photograph: Daniel Avila/NYC Parks

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    NYC Parks Learn to Swim Camp

    At locations throughout the five boroughs, the Parks Department has arranged free (free!) four-day programs to teach kids ages 6 to 17 basic swimming and survival skills. Classes are taught by experienced NYC Parks Department aquatics staff and pre-egistration for this popular program is essential. Multiple locations, check website for details (nycgovparks.org/programs/recreation/vacation-camps). Camp runs Feb 18–21. Ages 6 to 17. Free.

  • Photograph: courtesy Center for Architecture Foundation

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    Studio@theCenter: Olympic Game Design

    They may not make it to Sochi this year, but kids with an eye for design can create their own versions of favorite winter sports events at this camp in the ultra-cool Center for Architecture building. Grade- and middle-schoolers use marbles in place of Olympians as they design, build and test out the mini ski jumps, mogul runs and bobsledding courses they create during this three-day course. The Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Pl between Bleecker and W 3rd Sts (212-683-0023, cfa.aiany.org). Camp runs Feb 18–20, 9am–4pm. Two groups: grades 3 to 5, and grades 6 to 8. $350.


  • Photograph: Ezra Suazo

    WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

    City Ice Pavilion: Presidents' Week Camp

    This enormous rink, situated on an industrial block in Long Island City, has four mid-winter camps for ice fanatics. "Hockey Camp" builds on existing skating, stick and puck handling, play making and shooting skills, whereas the aptly titled "Learn To Skate: Get Ready to Play Hockey Camp" teaches beginners how to skate and then basic hockey techniques once they're comfortable on the ice. "Skating Camp" brings on newbies but also hones turns, jumps and spins for those with more experience. The two-day intensive Figure Skating Camp is for elite skaters at freestyle level and above; the camp aims to polish spins, turns and every move on the rink, targeting balance and flexibility and building strength (Figure Skating Camp runs Feb 17 and 18 only, 8:45am–5:20pm, $150 per day). City Ice Pavilion, 47-32 32nd Pl between 47th and 48th Aves, Long Island City, Queens (718-706-6670, cityicepavilion.com). Camp runs Feb 17–21 Mon–Fri. Learn to Skate: Get Ready to Play Hockey Camp and Skating Camp 9am–noon, $60 per day (includes skate rental). Hockey Camp 10am–3pm, full week $350, per day $80. Ages 4 to 18.

Photograph: courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

WInter break camps 2014 for New York City Kids

New York Botanical Gardens Winter Science Camp: Plant Pioneers

Budding scientists get to follow in the footsteps of the eminent botanist, inventor and educator George Washington Carver at this camp. Born into slavery in the 1860s, Carver gained a masters degree and became a famous botanist known for championing the humble peanut as a lucrative cash crop with multiple uses. Campers keep busy collecting samples and conducting experiments at the beautiful Everett Children's Garden, or filling sketchbooks with drawings of plants and animals, and then coloring them with paints the kids will make from natural pigments. Children preserve plant specimens in handmade herbariums and learn farming techniques firsthand with growing projects to take home. New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx River Pkwy at Fordham Rd, Bronx (718-817-8181, nybg.org). Camp runs Feb 17–21 Mon–Fri, 9am–4pm. Ages 5–10. $250.


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