RECOMMENDED: Full guide to summer camps in NYC
While older kids may head off to a specialized program or sleepway camp for the summer, the city's youngest children also have plenty of summer camp options. Little ones can choose from a wide variety of summer camps for kids including a number of half day programs at city play spaces like Kidville and Apple Seeds. Another favorite: Preschool camps that offer kids the option to play in rooftop sprinklers, participate in field trips and make crafts.
Children gain an understanding of and appreciation for different Latin American cultures by taking part in classes including creative movement, percussion and a Latin American storytime with dance interpretation. Camp runs June 9–Jul 18, Mon–Fri 9am–noon. One-week session $350. Ages 3 to 5.
At this popular play space’s summer sessions, children are exposed to subjects such as cooking, science, construction and crafts through a number of interactive activities. Each day starts with playtime in the center’s gym or playground and ends with an art project, so tykes get a chance to exercise both their minds and bodies. Programs range from two to five days a week. June 23–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9:30am–12:30. Two-week session $1,250 (five days a week), $1,040 (four days a week), $810 (three days a week), $580 (two days a week). Two-week minimum.
The littlest campers cook, get messy with crafts, frolic in the rooftop playground’s sprinklers and participate in outdoor activities. Older kids go on field trips and learn from visiting specialists who teach classes such as Mad Science, Art Farm and Karma Kids Yoga. All children participate in a weekly Shabbat celebration, and special themed days—Pajama Day, Patriotic Day and Backwards Day—build camp spirit. A Family BBQ lets Mom and Dad get in on the fun too. Camp runs June 2–July 25; Tue–Thu 9–11am (young two-year-olds); Tue-Thu 9am-11:30am (older two-year-olds); Mon–Fri or Tue–Thu 9am–noon (three-year-olds); Mon–Thu 9am–1:30pm, Fri 9am-noon (four and five-year-olds). $380–$765. Three week minimum. Ages 2 to 5.
Each week, campers work on crafts, cooking, science, music and other activities centered around a different theme. Beach parties and circus romps vie with the likes of Pop Idol Week, where tots take on the persona of their favorite pop star at a talent show. New for this year is Singer-Songwriter Week—little ones learn about rhythm and pitch as they write and perform their own songs. Camp runs Jun 16–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9am–noon. One-day session $85 (for 2 and 3-day options) or $80 (for 5-day options). Ages 3 to 5.
The nursery school’s experienced teachers lead the summer fun at this popular day camp. Kids get swim instruction and play soccer in Prospect Park, and choose from activities that include pottery, arts and crafts and lego clubs, but by far the most popular pastime is “The Big Yard.” Every day the kids slather on the sunblock and play in the sprinklers in the school’s verdant garden, which has tricycles and toys for water play, and a fully equipped playground to boot. Camp runs 8:30am–3pm, Jun–Aug, exact dates not available at press time. 3.5–5 years.
Preschoolers get plenty of personal attention here—the camper to counselor ratio is six to one. Little ones sample arts and crafts, music, gym, storytelling and other activities designed to introduce them to camp life. Occasionally participants will head off campus for nature walks or visits to local bowling alleys and petting zoos. Camp runs June 24–Aug 16, Mon–Fri 9am–4pm. $225 per week until June 1, thereafter $240, with a two-week registration minimum. Round-trip transportation is $50. Ages 3 to 5.
This summer, the innovative Baby DJ school is offering a two-week camp with a different theme each day. “Bounce, Beethoven, Bounce” has cool kiddos getting into Beethoven’s music and busting dance moves to tracks that sample the maestro’s compositions; “Eat the Beat” mixes cooking with foods that feature in rap songs; and “House Music Heaven” has little ones making their own palatial abodes out of cardboard. Daily DJ lessons, plus field trips to nearby Prospect Park and local vinyl record stores, make this program a must for hip Brooklyn babes. Camp runs July 14–25, Mon–Fri 9am–noon. One-week session $325; two-week session $600. Ages 3 to 5.
Campers of all ages dabble in artistic and athletic activities, but while the younger group (ages 3 to 4) enjoys a curriculum of sports, music, science, and cooking, the older set (ages 5 to 6) attends camp at Pearl River, where they head off campus for cultural excursions and to pursue specialized elective classes, such as karate or drama, and takes weekly trips to spots like the Liberty Science Center and Brooklyn Children’s Museum. All participants must be potty-trained and have previous experience at a separation program. Camp runs June 23–July 18, July 21-Aug 14; Mon–Fri 9am–4pm (five- and six-year-olds), Mon–Fri 8:50am–2pm (four-year-olds), Mon–Fri 9am–1pm (three-year-olds). Eight-week session $4,850–$5,300, four-week session $2,900–$3,300; price depends on age. Price for children ages five and up includes bus to Pearl River. Ages 3 to 6.
The camps at this posh play space immerse tots in arts and crafts, athletics, music and hands-on projects. There are also days with special themes, and weeklong specialty camps with such titles as Fairy Princess and Superhero Training. Visit kidville.com for locations. Camps run May 12-Aug 29; times vary by location. Specialty camp, one-week session $545. General-interest camp runs, Mon–Fri. 16-week session $2,880–$10,800, 12-week session $1,620–$8,100, eight-week session $1,080–$5,400, two-week session $400–$1,500. Ages 2 to 5.
Little ones enjoy a rooftop playground, run through the sprinklers (also on the roof), learn about science and get messy with art projects. The activities will all center on a to-be-determined theme. A few times each week, the campers receive swim instruction from the Y’s aquatic staff. Camp runs June 26–Aug 14, Mon–Fri 8:30am–4pm or 8:30am–1pm. $2,800-$3,650, depending on length of day, for non-members who register before March 3. $2,900-$3,775 for non-members who register after March 3. Ages 3.5 to 6.
In the posh, air-conditioned facilities of the 92nd Street Y’s Nursery School, licensed teachers and assistants guide children in art, music and outdoor games. The 92nd Street Y’s aquatics department supervises campers during swim sessions in the building’s pool. Camp runs in a single six-week session, June 23–Aug 1; Mon–Fri 9am–noon (three-year-olds), 9am–1pm (young four-year-olds), 9am–2pm (mid-four-year-olds), 9am–3pm (older four-year-olds and five-year-olds). $5,100–$6,000. Ages 3 to 5.
Parents and caregivers stick around for a half hour of hanging out on the rooftop playground. Then, having waved goodbye to their parents, the children (who must have previously attended separated classes) engage in two hours of indoor art activities, music, movement, storytime and snack. Camp runs June 23–Aug 14, two days per week. Mon, Wed 9:30am–noon or 2:30–5pm; Tue, Thu 9:30am–noon. Eight-week session $1,310. Ages 2 to 3.
Tykes cultivate a love of nature by observing ants and worms with trips to nearby Prospect Park, collecting nature objects and creating art inspired by the great outdoors. The littlest ones go at a slower pace, staying local, but fours and up partake in trips around the borough, playground time and on-site gymnastics lessons. Camp runs June 27–Aug 30. Mon–Fri, Mon–Wed or Wed-Fri, 9am–1pm. $276–$440 per two-week session (young three-year-olds). Mon–Fri 8:30am–4pm. Eight-week session $2,795, seven-week session $2,590, six-week session $2,280, five-week session $2,000, four-week session $1,720, three-week session $1,350, two-week session $920, one-week session $475 (turning-four-year-olds). Two-week minimum. Ages 3 to 5.
In between jaunts on the 4,000-square-foot indoor playground, preschoolers learn the basics of team sports like soccer, basketball, volleyball and baseball. They’ll also try out kiddie obstacle courses, get adventurous on Playgarden’s zipline and take a breather with some arts and crafts. Camp runs June 23–Aug 24, Mon–Fri 9:30am–12:30pm; Mon and Fri only, 1:30pm-4:30pm. Two-week session $500 (two-day week), $750 (three-day week), $1,000 (five-day week). Unlimited summer playground access $250 extra. Ages 2 to 5.
Tots can learn the basics of Spanish or German at this immersion camp. Each week will center around a different theme, such as Cultural Cuisine where kids cook their own multi-culti treats, and Build it to the Sky! which sees budding Gehrys take a walking tour of the neighborhood and then create massive structures of their own. Camp runs July 7–Aug 29, Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. One-week session $540. Extended hours available. Ages 3 to 5
In addition to quality time with the zoo’s inhabitants, all campers can expect movement, music and crafts. Older creature-lovers spend the week discovering what animals eat and exploring critter colors through hands-on activities. Meanwhile, one-hour sessions give toddlers and their caregivers a chance to meet the animals and their keepers. Toddler Time runs June 16–July 3; Mon–Fri 10–11am or 11:30am–12:30pm. Five-days $140, four-days $125. Ages 2 to 3. Kinderzoo runs June 16-27 and Aug 11–29; Mon–Fri 9am–3pm. One-week session $375. Ages 4 to 5.
Alongside children their own age, preschoolers sample an array of age-appropriate activities ranging from yoga stretches to animal meet-and-greets with the Nature Company. Youngsters four and up also get a healthy dose of sport with tennis and swimming instruction, creative movement with drama and music, and they participate in field trips. Camp runs June 16–Aug 1, Mon-Fri 9am-11:30am (age 2) Mon–Fri 9am–12:30pm (age 3), 9am–2pm (age 4), 9am–2:30pm (age 5). One-week session $600 (age 2), $785 (age 3), $820 (age 4), $850 (age 5), Ages 2 to 5.
Teachers from Trevor Day School guide children through arts and crafts, phys ed, drama, movement, music and sing-alongs. Campers also get to play in Central Park, and on the school’s rooftop playground—equipped with kiddie pools for summer. Camp runs June 23–July 25; Mon–Fri 9am–noon (three-year-olds), 9am–2pm (four-year-olds), 9am–3pm (five- and six-year-olds). $1,130–$5,059, depending on age and number of weeks. Ages 3 to 6.
Pint-size players have a hand in every aspect of production during this drama program. They’ll learn musical numbers, design sets, make costumes and even apply their own stage makeup. When the session wraps up, campers perform in a talent showcase. Camp runs June 16-Aug 22, Mon–Fri 9am–noon. One-week session $375. Ages 4 to 6.
Each day the West Village learning center gives tykes a chance to rotate through five themed rooms. Campers get their fill of art, science, music and movement, indoor playtime in the air-conditioned “Playtrium” and surprise ventures—which could incorporate anything from cooking and drama to taking nature walks and watching performances. Dates and prices not available at press time. Ages 3 to 5.