Academic summer camps make learning exciting for kids, even during the summer.
From interesting science camp programs to cool day camps for kids, our list features a little bit of everything. Writers can hone their craft, scientists can test a new experiments and tech-savvy kiddos can tinker with new tools.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Make sure to put at least one of these academic summer camps on your family's summer bucket list. Not only are they engaging, but they provide opportunities for youngsters to meet new friends, explore different areas of the city and make the most out of their time off from school. Sounds like a no-brainer to us!
Best academic camps for kids
Each child gets a little taste of the arts, nature, history, culture, technology, literature and science when spending a summer at BCAP. This award-winning camp—which works alongside institutions such as the Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden—allows kids to explore, play games and visit two institutions on the program's Cultural Campus. An unforgettable experience is guaranteed. Ages 7–12.
Nothing is off limits for young girls with big dreams, and this summer program proves it. Curious Jane, the masterminds behind the eponymous DIY magazine, offers pint-size artists in the third through sixth grades the opportunity to select a theme for a weeklong program. “Kitchen Chemistry,” “Stop Motion,” “Sew Fun” and “Spy Science” are just a few of the offerings on the menu. Chances are, once the first session wraps up, your little camper will request a return ticket. Extended hours and discounts for families with multiple enrollments are available. Ages 7–12.
Mathematics might get a bad rep in school, but MoMath makes the subject a whole lot more interesting, especially when there’s no homework or tests! Campers are divided by grade level: the Epsilons (first to third grade) and Deltas (fourth to sixth grade). Throughout the week, they tackle creative projects and interactive programs while exploring new and unfamiliar areas of the field that often aren’t taught at school—Perplexing Puzzles and Game Theory, to name a few. When it’s time to refuel, the groups venture across the street to Madison Square Park for lunch, weather permitting. Ages 6–12.
You’ll be seriously jealous of your tech-savvy kids after one of iD Tech’s crash courses in the latest computer skills and software. iD Tech's programs are held at over 100 campuses across the nation and run anywhere from one to four weeks. iD Tech also offers a small student-to-instructor ratio, which means your kiddos get plenty of attention in subjects like Minecraft modding, Java and C++, photography and robotics—buckle up for an epic summer! Ages 7-19.
Little brainiacs love the hands-on activities at this STEM-focused camp! They'll try out cool courses developed in conjunction with MIT, Raspberry Pi and the United States Naval Academy to learn about time and space, robotics and electronics and the human body. Ages 9–13.
At this camp, kids will get a taste of college life a few years ahead of schedule. Manhattan College opens up its quaint campus to youngsters looking to explore new areas that might not necessarily be on their school’s syllabus. Educators across the Bronx gather for the summer to help campers tackle coding, moviemaking, photo editing and many more exciting subjects. For those who have science on the brain, prepare for a day filled with interactive experiments that will make kids better understand the scientific thinking and the fundamentals of different areas. Ages 6–12.
Explore the galaxy, get an up-close-and-personal look at a Madagascar hissing cockroach and create a unique invention from scratch, all thanks to the New York Hall of Science’s Design-Make-Play Innovation Camps. Broken up according to age, children deep-dive into a particular area of science: animal adaptations (ages 6–7), astronomy (ages 8–9) and STEM (ages 10–13). Museum staffers guide youngsters through activities, exhibitions and projects throughout the session. Upon completion, attendees will receive a certificate and free NYHS student membership for six months—score! Ages 6–13.
Offering great camps for toddlers, kids and tweens with curious minds, Launch Math + Science Center is a go-to for those who are looking to learn more about the world around them. For the Pre-K set, tykes might enjoy a camp that focuses in on things like coding, our solar system or physics. Older kids have the opportunity to partake in coding and animation-dedicated programs, robotics or chemistry! Peruse a full list of 2019 offerings here. Ages 5–12.
Thanks to the fantastic Wildlife Conservation Society-backed zoos (and aquarium) in NYC, families have the opportunity to see animals from across the globe without leaving the city. The Bronx Zoo—as well as the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and the New York Aquarium—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. Campers of all ages (starting at 12 mos) get to visit exhibits, solve animal mysteries and enjoy the fun. All ages.
Curious minds can explore new areas during this STEAM-themed program. Campers dive into robotics, building their own creations with sensors, motors and LEGO's WeDo software. They can also try out coding, video game creation and animation. Ages 3–12.
Before daring kiddos vie for the top prize in KoKo NYC’s Derby race, they have to build their own cars from the ground up during the Soap-Box Workshop. After gathering materials, making calculations and building their speed machines, tech-savvy campers will test their inventions before the big race, learning STEM fundamentals along the way. On your mark, get set, go! Ages 7–14.
The WriCampia program in the Poconos is perfect for those craving to pen the next great American novel. Buses transport campers from Manhattan and Westchester for a 12-day escape filled with intimate writing workshops and creative electives. Published authors and playwrights help kids learn the secrets to memoir writing, poetry and what makes a great novel, while campers also enjoy arts activities such as photography, ceramics, theater, zine-making and filmmaking. In the evening, everyone gathers around the campfire to swap stories or test their team-building skills in a scavenger hunt or “escape the room” challenge. Ages 7–18.
Young New Yorkers who never cease to be amazed by skyscrapers can imagine and build their own models—after they’ve learned how to handle the design challenges of really tall structures. Similar five-day programs exist for treehouses and bridges, and other offerings allow future architects to study digital design using 3-D computer modeling or old-school freehand drawing. For the latter, campers explore the city to sketch various architectural wonders. In all sessions, participants take home the projects they create. Grades 3–12.
You don’t have to be an advanced engineer to build a robot—at this interactive camp, kids create bots that walk, dance and even swim. Campers will assemble robots of all kinds and test their creations in different environments, plus there are even a few girls-only camps Brooklyn Robot Foundry offers summer camps in various Brooklyn and Manhattan locations, so there's something for everyone. All ages.
Budding engineers will create, problem solve and make incredible memories along the way with McBurney Robotics Camp. Kids will get to dabble in science, technology, engineering and math, but that's not the only thing they'll get to enjoy. McBurney also offers fun traditional camp activities such as swimming and making crafts. Ages 6–8.
Kids can tinker with new tools while exploring STEM and tech at Dazzling Discoveries. The sky's the limit this summer, and campers can choose from topics such as robotics, engineering, coding, science experiments and more. Programs are offered for a variety of ages, so all scientists can hone their skills. Ages 5–17.
Thanks to several unique offerings from the Intrepid Museum this summer, kids are sure to find a program they'll love! Many of the programs, including Spy Science (which focuses in on the concept of cracking codes like Sherlock Holmes) also offer camps at various age levels. This is the perfect place for scientists-in-the-making and junior history buffs. Ages 5–13.
If your tyke is the type who prefers beakers to beaches, consider a week of experimentation at Carmelo the Science Fellow. Each five-day session tackles a different science, so there’s something for every budding physician, astronaut or engineer. The emphasis on teaching lab lessons using the interests of kids—such as the chemistry of baking delicious treats or the physics of comic book superheroes—might encourage even classroom-averse children to enjoy the wonders of science. Register here. Ages 5–10.
For a full day of screen time parents can feel good about, check out the state-of-the-art technology camps offered at Pixel Academy. With various locations and tools for exploring the new frontiers of computers and programming, children can get hands-on experience working with 3-D printers, developing and creating video games and learning about Volume, a cutting-edge virtual- reality experience that requires no goggles or headset. Campers can enjoy topics such as Minecraft creation, Roblox coding, mobile games and so much more. Additional locations: 256 West St and 1 W 88th St. Ages 7–13.
Nurture your little scientist with STEAM projects and topics during the summer at Marymount Manhattan. Kids can learn how science is an integral part of catching the bad guys during the CSI course or learn what surgeons deal with on a daily basis with the surgical technique course. There's a bit of everything for all interests: coding, biology, video animation, engineering and so much more. Field trips and swimming instruction are not included in science, engineer and design camps. Grades 4–8.
NORY lets children's imagination flourish during its summer camp offerings. With the help of various themes and projects—game design, sports science, inventing for good, to name a few—the program encourages kiddos to try their hand at their own creations with STEM-based learning. Not only will they have the opportunity tackle inventions, but they'll have time to enjoy a few laps in the pool with the Swim & STEM camp or scrimmage against friends in Soccer & STEM. For 2019, NORY will open up three new locations and expand its weekly project offerings. Learn more about the fun that awaits your kiddos this summer. Those who use the code "earlybird" before Feb 15 will receive 10 percent off. Various locations. Ages 3–12.
For young environmentalists looking to make a difference this summer, SALT is the perfect option. The week-long program allows teens to participate in environmental science field work, help restore the Jamaica Bay and Rockaway shoreline alongside various organizations and learn how to kayak and surf in their downtime. Ages 15–18.