Photograph: Courtesy Manhattan School of Music

The best academic summer camps NYC kids love

We scoured the best academic summer camps NYC kids love to attend, so have a look at our 2021 list of the best of the best.

By Paulina Jayne Isaac

Summer in NYC means something different for every student. Some spend every day at the beach, some visit out-of-state family members, and then there are others who go to camp. The NYC area is saturated with summer activities for kids with a variety of interests.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC

You're sure to find an academic camp on this list that will fit your kid—even in our current age of social distancing. Whether it’s music, dance, science, or math—we’ve got some great options. The one aspect they all have in common is that they make learning super fun.

Be sure to have a gander at the 2021 programs and register for one—or more!—cool camps. While you're filling out that seasonal bucket list, make sure to have a look at our favorite summer activities for kids

Academic summer camps NYC kids love

Photograph: Chess NYC

1. Chess NYC Camp

Things to do Classes and workshops Greenwich Village

Every day spent in quarantine is another day kids are likely staring at a screen. Why not make that time educational? Chess NYC camp offers virtual sessions where campers will receive online training from coaches. They welcome kids with all experience levels. The best course of action is to register your child for a $36 personal evaluation session to ensure they’re placed properly. The different classes range from learning the basics to advanced tactical and diabolical training. Ages 7–14. 

Photograph: Courtesy FasTracKids

2. FasTracKids - Summer STE(A)M Adventure

Things to do Camps Midtown West

It doesn’t matter what subject your kid wants to study: FasTracKids has it. The STE(A)M adventure camp includes science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The downside of summer vacation is that kids will lose one to three months of reading and math skills. The motivation behind the FasTracKids camp is way to ensure that campers will retain the information they learned during school by attending one of the summer enrichment camps. Plus, it’s a blast (maybe even more fun than school!). Ages 2-14.

Photograph: Arianys Wilson

3. French Summer Day Camps at FIAF

Things to do Camps Upper East Side

Bienvenue to a wonderful immersive language experience! If you want your child to improve their French skills or begin to learn French, this camp is for you. Toddlers, kids, and teenagers will learn from native-speaking teachers for an entire summer. The camp runs from June 21 to Aug. 13 and provides three separate experiences depending on your child’s age and French educational level. This summer’s theme is c'est la fête, proving that the camp is anything but boring. Ages 3-14

curious on hudson
Photograph: Courtesy Curious-on-Hudson

4. Curious-on-Hudson

Things to do Camps The Bronx

The STEAM Revolution Camp runs for seven weekly sessions from June 28 to August 13 and offers full-day online and physical camp from 8:30am to 4:30pm every day. In the morning, the kids are split up into peer groups to follow a CORE curriculum and the afternoon is where the campers can choose their own electives that cater to their specific interests. Curious-on-Hudson is committed to keeping the camp a COVID-free and safe environment. Staff is required to show negative tests, there are hand sanitizing stations throughout the camp, and campers and staff will wear masks indoors and social distance whenever outdoors. Ages 7-14.

Digital Media Academy Tech Camp
Photograph: Courtesy Digital Media Academy Tech Camp

5. Digital Media Academy Tech Camps

Digital Media Academy is the chance for kids to benefit from the most prestigious universities in the country. The Virtual Tech Camps are associated with Stanford, Harvard, NYU, and other universities. Small classes, more than 100 courses, 20 plus years of experience, and a 99.6 percent student satisfaction rate makes the Digital Media Academy Tech Camp competitive. Make sure to schedule a time for your student to study at the NYU chapter. The best part is they can learn from the comfort of their home through the virtual learning option. Ages 9-18.

Photograph: Courtesy NYC Guitar School/@plasticarmygirl

6. NYC Guitar School

Things to do Camps Midtown West

If your kid isn’t gung-ho about the idea of studying or reading during summer break, they might jump at the idea of learning how to play the guitar! New York City has its very own guitar school where kids can attend the Ultimate Rock Band Summer Program. One and two-week sessions are available begin July 5 and end August 14. You can attend in-person or virtually. Yes, virtual guitar classes can work as long as you’re ready to rock. Ages 8–11, 12–14, 15–17.

Stem from dance
Photograph: Courtesy Stem from dance

7. Girls Rise Up

Girls Rise Up believes that your kids don’t need to choose between science and the arts. The summer camp gives girls of color two weeks to take dance classes, learn how to code, and explore ways to combine creativity and technology in a unique dance performance. Despite the psychical component, there is the option to attend the camp virtually. If you do send your child to the in-person option, you can feel comfortable knowing that Girls Rise Up is closely following the CDC guidelines, specifically those outlined for summer programming. Ages 10–18.

Photograph: Courtesy Manhattan School of Music

8. Manhattan School of Music Summer Camp

Things to do Schools and universities Morningside Heights

Manhattan School of Music is bringing music to your homes. Students can attend online sessions from July 12 to Aug. 13. The camp doesn’t require kids to audition. However, some courses and private lessons require a placement video or placement test in order to put the camper in the appropriate group. MSM Summer 2021 also offers private lessons with faculty, so you can be assured that your kid will be taught by instructors with extensive musical knowledge.


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