New York's art camp programs aren't your typical offerings! You'll find wild options that involve cool sewing projects, mixed media, pottery class and even writing projects for your mini literary nerds.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
If you can't keep your mini mes away from painting their next masterpiece, building with clay, writing exciting stories or creating cool collages, these art camps for kids are made just for your family!
For more fun things to do as a crew, check out our top 101 things to do with kids in NYC and our favorite free activities for kids. You might also browse our top after-school programs if you're really planning ahead!
Burgeoning writers polish their technique during these one-week workshops. Campers start their day with a three-hour intensive in their chosen area of study—poetry, fiction, memoir, scripts or journalism—led by a published author or a produced playwright and work to create a finished project shaped by the teacher’s guidance and feedback. In the afternoon, campers take field trips to publishing houses to learn what it takes to break into the creative world and what it’s like to work for these companies. Budding literary stars can also take electives that focus on other applications of their skills such as graphic novels, illustrations, filmmaking, TV writing or embarking on poetry hikes. Ages 9–16.
There are so many incredible art museums and public works to explore around NYC, but who has the time to hit them all? This camp makes it possible, getting kids’ creative juices flowing with daily Art & Play adventures in the city—each week explores a special theme, such as LEGO Sculpture or Art & Robots, with outings to match. The groups head back to the studio for lunch after the field trip, then put their fresh ideas into an art project before a full afternoon of games, yoga and dance. All art supplies, museum admission and daily snacks are provided, and the helpful staff is around to assist little ones in bringing their ideas to life through drawing, coloring, painting and sculpting. Early drop-off and extended day options are available for an additional fee. Ages 5–11.
Children who cite art as their favorite subject will love this bright, colorful Brooklyn studio’s offerings. Campers spend their summer days creating masterpieces worthy of special display in their rooms or in the kitchen that go beyond basic at-home projects. Each week has a different theme including printmaking, collage, textile and sculptures, while painting and still- life projects teach kids techniques they might not pick up on their own. After working hard in the studio, they’ll cut loose at the nearby park to run through the sprinklers and put that creativity to use in the form of free-time games. Ages 4 to 10.
The amazing, interactive exhibitions at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum provide a base for the exploration of many art forms during these weeklong camps. Kids can partake in sessions of all kinds, including those focused in robotics and circuits (Bits and Bots), The Jazz Age (Fashion: Bringing the Jazz to Our Age) and inventing (Product Play). Ages 6–10.
At this camp, children as young as third graders can learn the design skills needed to create anything—from a soaring tower to a magical shop befitting the Potterverse. Middle and high school campers can take a stab at using digital 3-D renderings and other tools used by professionals to envision small projects. Teenagers who are serious about their ambition, can also work on preparing a portfolio, which includes drawn designs, 3-D modeling and a full- concept project. Ages 8–18.
Mini Monets and Mizrahis take their inspiration from the kid-friendly collections at the Children’s Museum of the Arts to create their own masterpieces across different disciplines. With professional teaching artists at the helm of this immersive summer program, campers can make a stop-motion animated film with clay characters, experiment with printmaking techniques like silkscreen and block printing, weave an original textile, create imitation Egyptian sculptures, mold and glaze a ceramic vase, illustrate a supernatural tale, design a Project Runway–worthy outfit or create a mixed-media portrait. Ages 6–15.
During NYC Kids' Lower Camp, children spend the day exploring nature and science through hands-on art projects, romping around a playroom stocked with soft mats and gym equipment and frolicking in the outdoor courtyard. Campers are split up by age, with a toddler group, a 2's group, a 3's group and a 4's & 5's group providing appropriate activities for each. While the youngest ones supplement their mornings with snacktime, dress-up, storytelling, puppets and freeplay, kids ages 3 and up can go on nature walks, join in weekly soccer and swim programs or even take field trips to places like The High Line or Jefferson Market Garden. Older kids in the Upper Camp spend the mornings investigating art and science in and out of the classroom, practicing strokes during swim lessons at the YMCA and playing soccer and other field sports. In the afternoon, they pick from activities like musical theater, fashion design, cooking and filmmaking for their choice time. Other daily adventures may take youngsters to the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Aquarium or to the Hudson River for fishing. Ages 2 to 12.
Budding artistes get creative in these weekly art workshops, using a variety of materials and techniques to create masterpieces they show off in a mini art opening. With nine different types of art making, the Summer Lab program offerings range from woodwork to clay-work to drawing and building with LEGO bricks. Grades K–6.
For those kids who love the kind of functional art that involves using their hands and creating a piece they can hold and even use, this morning camp will fill their mornings with a celebration of ceramics. During the three-hour sessions, kids learn various techniques for making the visions in their imagination a reality, including hand-building skills and spinning on the pottery wheel. Though the experienced teachers are there to help guide projects, children who know the basics can choose their own journey with clay or individualize the day’s suggested creation. Ages 4 and up.