RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
Active youngsters who can't get enough of the sports and athletics offered in after-school programs during the year can spend their summer vacation blowing off steam in the coolest ways possible. Kids' fitness centers in the city (and beyond) offer endless sports camp offerings your kids will totally love, ranging from soccer, basketball and lacrosse to activities like rock climbing and surfing.
Sports camp for kids
US Open hopefuls summer in style with the individualized training they get on five USTA-sanctioned tennis courts at Court 16, sized specifically for child athletes. After breaking into age groups—Freshmen (ages 3 and 4), Sophomores (ages 5 and 6), Juniors (ages 7 and 8) and Seniors (ages 9 to 11)—budding Rogers and Serenas take on tactical training, obstacle courses and agility games in the cutting-edge facility, then analyze videos of themselves to further improve their stroke, footwork and playing style. Off the court, kids get to socialize via arts and crafts and just-for-fun table tennis and badminton. Guest speakers visit to inspire the youngsters, and everyone gets to kick back and chow down during Friday pizza parties. Ages 3–11.
This behemoth sports facility is a go-to spot for active kids throughout the year, and summertime is no exception. At Gymnastics Camp in the Field House, agile youngsters ages 5 to 14 get free rein over the 23,000-square-foot gymnastics center, where girls tackle the balance beam, uneven bars, vault and spring floor, and the boys get an intro to the pommel horse, parallel bars, horizontal bar and still rings. Aspiring Annas and Elsas should sign up for the Ice Skating Camp at Sky Rink, where instructors teach Level I and Level II skills to prep campers ages 6 to 12 for biweekly skating shows for their family and friends. Skaters also get the chance to warm up during daily cross-training with options like gymnastics, rock climbing, soccer, volleyball and bowling. Big kids ages (12 to 16) can try their hands at many out-of-the-box sports like kayaking, rock climbing, stand-up paddle boarding, sailing, cycling, boxing and fencing during the Urban Adventure Camp. Ages 5–16.
It’s conveniently located minutes from the George Washington Bridge in scenic Rockland County, New York, but kids still feel like they’ve gotten out of town on the 25-acre mountainside grounds, complete with six swimming pools, seven tennis courts, a 1,000-square-foot air conditioned dance studio, lake access and multiple sports fields. This family-owned camp offers expert instructors to teach skills in swimming, fine arts, performing arts and more—plus, there are plenty electives to choose from (kids can try cooking international street foods, play in a rock band and tend to an organic garden)! Ages 3–15.
Kids in the Game knows every kid deserves a chance to play! Here, sports-loving kids and tweens will get instruction in soccer, football, baseball/softball, flag football and even Zumba to keep their hearts pumping throughout the day! Kids in the Game also includes academic classes that help improve reading, writing and math skills plus fun weekly field trips including Mets and Yankees games. Campers will be divided into age-appropriate groups for daily activities but will participate in larger group activities and special events throughout the day, and camp counselors include current and former college athletes, teachers, professional dancers and fitness coaches. Camp locations include the Good Shepherd School, 620 Isham St (212-634-7262) and School of the Blessed Sacrament. 147 W 70th St (212-634-7262). Ages 3–12.
Kids climb the walls—in a good way—as they learn the basics of scaling rocks while simultaneously developing confidence, as well as teamwork and problem-solving skills. Instructors coach them through rock-climbing essentials like slack lining and bouldering, and challenge them with new courses and obstacles each week. The ratio of one staffer to five campers ensures a safe environment, and daily open playtime at nearby Douglass Greene Park keeps kids from getting antsy. Lunch and snacks are provided, in addition to Friday pizza parties. Ages 5–12.
Young tumblers spend half the day fine-tuning their technique in 92Y’s state-of-the-art Gymnastics Studio in the Sky—a huge, skylit room equipped with a tumble track, foam pit, climbing wall, trapeze and tons more equipment. Girls practice all four Olympic events (vaulting, uneven bars, balance beam and floor exercise), and the boys get moving on the pommel horse, parallel bars, rings and high bar (in addition to floor and vault) before both groups break for more diverting play like swimming, arts and crafts, sports classes and dance sessions. At the end of each two-week session, families watch their campers balance and somersault with ease in a special performance. Extended care is available for an additional fee. Ages 6–14.
High-energy kids are sure to find something to suit their interests with diverse offerings like soccer, basketball, swimming, tennis, martial arts and yoga. Pee Wee campers (ages 4½ to 6) dabble in several sports through organized play, music, movement and art projects, while Junior campers (ages 6 to 8) refine their technical skills and break from sports for creative writing and field trips. There’s plenty for the older kids too: Senior Camp (ages 8 to 13) focuses on sports instruction and friendly, competitive play. Campers choose from newspaper club, dance, comic-book writing and more for elective periods. Off-site travels range from trips to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum to overnight visits to Mountain Creek’s water park, depending on age. Extended hours and bus pickup from Manhattan locations are available for an additional fee. Find Asphalt Green's second location at 212 North End Ave (212-298-2900) Ages 4–13.
Kids of all skill levels get their kicks in these specialized soccer camps, which aim to improve motor skills and facilitate teamwork on the field. Little ones learn to dribble in a noncompetitive atmosphere and embrace their creative sides in two-and-a-half-hour Mini Camps that combine soccer and Private Picassos! art classes (ages 2½ to 5). Fun in the Sun camps (ages 3 to 5) get youngsters acquainted with the sport through outdoor drills and scrimmages, while Jr. Kick It sessions (ages 3 to 5) let them build their skills inside. Older kids will want to get in on the Kick It camps (ages 6 to 12), where they practice with professional coaches and go for the goal during daily, 55-minute World Cup games. Ages 2½–12.
Here, kids build leadership skills and self-confidence through exercise, all in and around a real airplane hangar. The Junior Camp (ages 3 to 5) gives little ones their first camp experience with the likes of rock climbing, art projects, swimming and gymnastics. The Adventure Camp is broken into three age divisions—Younger (ages 6 to 8), Older (ages 9 to 11) and Teen (ages 12 to 15)—each of which tackle fencing, pedal karts, CrossFit Kids, sky jump plus more traditional sports. Adventure campers who register for a full session can take part in programs that focus on gymnastics, skate instruction, dance and theater a few hours per week. All campers fuel up on provided lunch and snacks. Bus transportation and extended day drop-off and pickup are available for an additional fee. Ages 3–15.
Young shipmates head for the high seas (or the Hudson River, at least) during this summer sailing program from Hudson River Community Sailing. After launching from docks in Chelsea and Inwood, they learn how to safely steer, navigate and trim the sails on a 24-foot vessel, all while picking up knowledge about the weather, tides and the local marine environment. Midday, they take a break to eat lunch and rest on dry land before gearing up for an afternoon sail. With no more than five campers per instructor, the kids have plenty of one-on-one practice, which they can use to their advantage during on-the-water games, races and exciting weekly trips to locations like New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, the Palisades and the George Washington Bridge. Ages 10–17.