The best day camps for kids in NYC

There's no shortage of day camps for kids in the NYC area, and now's the time to pick the perfect one!

Photograph: Courtesy FIAF & Alexandre Ayer

Summer 2019 is upon us, and these day camps for kids in NYC are calling our names! The camps on this list are some of our favorite traditional day camps—meaning programs where your kids get a little taste of pretty much everything (art, science, name it!).

Thanks to these wonderful NYC camp offerings, your kids, tweens and teens will certainly never be bored, and they're sure to learn fun skills and make new pals before summer's out!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC

*Hoping for a camp with a more specific focus?* Head to our roundups of the sweetest sports camps, STEM and science camps, creative art camps, sleepaway camps, performing arts camps and family camps (and scroll all the way through our complete summer camp guide, found next to the "RECOMMENDED" link above, for everything else!)

Best day camps in New York

Photograph: Courtesy Deer Mountain Day Camp
Things to do, Camps

Deer Mountain Day Camp

Set on an idyllic mountainside with a spring-fed lake, the 25-acre camp pays particular attention to each camper’s stage of development. In addition to its main programming of sports, fine arts, performing arts, outdoor adventure, swimming and special events, Deer Mountain adds more classes and trips as participants advance. Kids can choose from electives such as wire art, Claymation, hip-hop dance and handball, to name a few. Ages 3–15. 

Photograph: Courtesy NYBG
Things to do, Camps

New York Botanical Garden Summer Break Camps

icon-location-pin The Bronx

Love learning about nature, food and science? Your outdoorsy sprouts can sign up for nine different camp offerings this summer at NYBG. Step outside the classroom and into forests, wetlands and other ecosystems to learn about their function as well as their indigenous plants and wildlife. But don’t overlook the range of creative-arts sessions, including one in which budding chefs harvest and cook veggies from NYBG’s gardens and another in which blooming artists use a variety of media to explore nature. Grades K–8.

Photograph: Courtesy Sami Fox
Things to do, Camps

Camp Chaverim

icon-location-pin Lenox Hill

At this all-boys camp, kids are treated to a wide array of activities—sports, music, performances and more—as well as prayer, seders and designated Bishvili activities (building, yearbook, name it!) Plus, campers are divided by age group ("division") to ensure everyone gets the most out of their experience. All ages.

Things to do, Camps

NYC Parks Summer Day Camp

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Tiny New Yorkers can enjoy their city to the fullest during an NYC Parks summer camp, which boasts STEAM projects, outdoor activities and sports— like tennis and golf, hosted by the City Parks Foundation—as well as trips to some of our city’s shining cultural and educational institutions. Last year’s campers visited Central Park Zoo’s super-cute sea lions and kayaked the city’s waterways with the Urban Park Rangers. *LOTTERY MARCH 1–10, 2019. Ages 6–13.

Photograph: Courtesy Staten Island Museum Earth Camp
Things to do, Camps

Staten Island Museum Earth Camp

icon-location-pin Midtown West

Every morning, campers 
head to local parks and green
spaces to decode the secrets of
these natural habitats. They document cool finds (
crawling critters, colorful birds and
 animal tracks) and conduct research in the camp’s library. The 
extended day camp option, which includes an extra three hours of investigating the wetlands and trails around Snug Harbor, is available for an additional fee. Please note that the 2019 schedule is not yet available, but you can call  718-483-7103 for more information. Ages 8–13.

Things to do, Camps

Child's Play NY Camp

icon-location-pin Brooklyn Heights

Tiny thespians are treated to a wide variety with this camp. The Adventure Series (ages 3–5) allows little ones to sing and act their way through their favorite stories; Mini Musicals (ages 4–6) get to belt one out and nail down the necessary choreography; the Players Series allows kids to create an entire production...all by the end of the week! Ages 3–11. 

Things to do, Camps

Taste Buds Kitchen Camps

icon-location-pin Chelsea

The teachers at Taste Buds Kitchen help children create scrumptious, sweet and savory dishes. Consider signing your sprouts up for the Urban Foodies camp, where kids taste their way around NYC's coolest restaurants and markets, and then recreate some amazing food in Taste Buds' test kitchen. They might also like Secret Ingredient Camp, where participants get a mystery ingredient learn about, prepare and enjoy in a variety of ways. Ages 4–17.

Things to do, Camps

Camp Zeke

The overall focus at Camp Zeke is wellness, and campers learn the value of a healthy lifestyle during their summer stay. The program is structured with electives, so children have the option to choose activities, such as Krav Maga, soccer, dance or go for more low-key pastimes such as yoga, running and boating. There's plenty more, too—including dance and circus arts programs Those interested in food have the option to try the culinary arts program. Campers often help prepare the wholesome dishes served in the dining hall using organic, locally sourced ingredients. Ages 7–17.

Photograph: Courtesy Queen's Botanical Garden
Things to do, Camps

Queens Botanical Garden Camp

icon-location-pin Queens

Give your little metropolitans the gift of nature this summer! These hands-on day camps encourage kids ages 2 through 10 to get down and dirty planting seeds and sprouts while playing in a verdant setting. Sixth- to ninth-grade naturalists will be challenged to think about sustainability and the importance of ecosystems as the class forages for edible plants and learns to identify various wildlife. Ages 2–15.

Things to do, Camps

Mill Basin Day Camp

icon-location-pin Brooklyn

Mill Basin campers have a lot to choose from each day. After being sorted into their respective age groups (5 camp divisions in total), kids can opt to swim (in either an outdoor or an indoor pool), take advantage of the two computer rooms, two karaoke studios, two giant-screen theaters and a TV game-show studio. Ages 3–15.

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