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New York may be the city that never sleeps, but it's also the city that has something to fill every niche, no matter how small. Whether your kid wants to learn about robotics and mechanics, mathematics and science, fashion basics or architecture, these special interest classes will keep her busy—and she might just become the next Vera Wang or Frank Lloyd Wright.
RECOMMENDED: Kids' classes: NYC's ultimate guide to the best programs
Love art classes for kids? In the center's flagship offering, the Passport Program, kids use a mix of art, history, math and science to learn about architecture and bring structures to life. Alternatively, school-age children can explore famous masterpieces, then create their own museum-worthy sketches, paintings and sculptures in Young at Art. The littlest kids (ages 3 and under) pick up social skills and stimulate their senses with open and structured play, music and art activities during Tiny Tot Time and Tot Time. 64-64 Dry Harbor Rd between Furmanville Ave and 64th St, Middle Village, Queens (718-894-7777, architots.net). Fall session begins Sept 10. Fifteen classes $700. Ages 1 to 10.
Art Farm in the City
During this spot's signature animal care classes, children learn how to look after guinea pigs, turtles, bunnies and bearded dragons while picking up science skills. Babes and their parents will also meet a variety of creatures in Rocks, Smocks & Animals, a mommy-and-me class that pairs animal visits with music, storytime and art. And if your little one's not ready to cozy up to critters, consider the Mini Chef Cooking Class, which equips kids with basic culinary skills. 419 E 91st St between First and York Aves (212-410-3117, theartfarms.org). Fall session begins Sept 4. Fourteen classes $288--$570. Ages 14 months to 8 years.
After learning how to read blueprints and safely wield real tools, grade schoolers erect small-scale buildings in this weekly class. Students also take on independent projects, from model boats or airplanes to abstract sculptures or dolls. 63 Flushing Ave between Adelphi St and Carlton Ave, Building 92, second floor, Brooklyn Navy Yard (646-529-9402, constructionkids.com). Fall session begins Sept 19. Prices vary; see website for details. Ages 5 to 10.
Dr. Dave's Little Vets School
Professional vet David Bessler shows aspiring animal doctors how to take X-rays, look at cheek cells under a microscope and measure critters' heartbeats—kids even get to try out real medical equipment. Parents can stick around for each lesson or drop off their kids. Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, 410 W 55th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves (832-377--5378, littlevets.com). Fall session begins Oct 3. Ten classes $700--$850. Ages 7 to 10.
The Fashion Class
Vera Wangs in the making start by learning the basics—sketching, cutting fabric, threading a sewing machine—and cut their teeth on simple projects like tote bags. As the class progresses, kids create clothing for themselves, and each session ends with a fashion show for families. Other classes encourage kids to refine their skills in fashion illustration and embellishment. 21 W 39th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves (646-329-6663, thefashionclass.com) *Kids at Art NYC, 1412 Second Ave at 73rd St. *The Yarn Co., 2274 Broadway at 82nd St. *The Center of Art & Imagination, 2116 86th St between Bay 28th St and 21st Ave, Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. *The Gowanus Arts Building, 295 Douglass St between Third and Fourth Aves, Gowanus, Brooklyn. Fall session begins Sept 16. Ten classes $300 and up. Ages 6 to 12.
Kids Make Movies
Young filmmakers use state-of-the-art tools to shoot and edit their movies and explore the aspects of filmmaking that interest them most—writing, costume design, production or acting. Participants develop skills in planning, storytelling and performance during private lessons or weekend workshops. 780 Riverside Dr at 155th St, suite 4F (646-468-4636, kids-make-movies.com). Fall session begins in mid-September. Single class $75, ten classes $650. Ages 8 to 12.
Launch Math & Science Centers
Math doesn't have to be boring, especially when it's incorporated into hands-on, age-appropriate classes, like the center's new Rockin' Robotics & Electronics workshop. Kids build their own projects, such as remote-controlled robots and burglar alarms, then get to take their creations home. Other new offerings for fall include a class called 3-2-1 Blast Off! Rocket Science. 173 W 81st St at Amsterdam Ave (949-528-6240, launchmath.com). Fall session begins Sept 17. Twelve classes $425 and up. Ages 6 and up.
Founded by international chess master Saudin Robovic, NYChessKids works with children at all skill levels—from beginners to national champions. The group provides private lessons in all five boroughs and runs after-school programs at several city elementary schools. 191 Seventh Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts, suite 2N (646-807-9236, nychesskids.com). Private lessons ongoing; after-school programs begin Sept 10. Private lessons $60 per hour and up, single after-school class $20 and up. Ages 4 and up.
Technically inclined kids dabble in robotics, video-game design and stop-motion animation. Over the course of a session they may construct robotic projects using motors, pulleys and gears, or script and direct their own short films. On the last day of class, students show off their creations to friends and family. 2672 Broadway between 101st and 102nd Sts, loft A (212-245-0444, robofun.org). Fall session begins Sept 20. Five to eight classes $195--$325. Ages 6 to 11.
Streb Lab for Action Mechanics
Elizabeth Streb's Brooklyn-based company performs high-energy routines that meld movement, acrobatics and aerial stunts. Kids can get in on the fun by learning trapeze or studying the studio's "Pop Action" technique, a combination of tumbling, running and "flying." New this year: German Wheel, where kids give a giant metal hamster wheel—like the ones you may have seen in the circus—a spin, and Kid Action Combat, which blends acting, action movie--like stunts and Streb's signature Pop Action technique as participants create original fight scenes. 51 North 1st St between Kent and Wythe Aves, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-384-6491, streb.org). Fall session begins Sept 24. Sixteen classes $325--$556. Ages 1 and up.