Learning doesn't stop when the bell rings. These wonderful after-school programs offer plenty to keep your kids engaged and entertained, diving deep into subjects like science, theater, art, robotics and more. While some of the after-school programs on our list cover a variety of topics and switch things up by the hour, others focus more specifically on what your kid's into—like game coding or cooking, for example.
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The best after school programs in NYC
With an adjustable floor that switches from shallow to deep, Asphalt Green arguably has the best pool in Manhattan. The sports hub's comprehensive class offerings also include pilates, yoga, spinning and martial arts. Bring sporty kids who love hoops to Battery Park City to hit the court with Asphalt Green’s Basketball Academy. With classes capped at about eight students, players get plenty of one-on-one instruction from coaches. Tiny tots learn game in Little Shooters (ages 3–4) and Pee Wee (ages 5–6) classes, and then move up to Middies (ages 7–8) and Sharp Shooters (ages 9–10) to try out defensive strategies and face off in five-on-five games. For a bit of friendly competition, kids can join the rec league where age groups are divided into four teams for specialized weekly practice with an assigned coach, followed by formal game play. Locations in Battery Park City and on the Upper East Side. Ages 3–13.
In the Brooklyn Boulders Kids Academy, kids build strength, concentration and problem-solving skills while stretching, bouldering, roped climbing and slacklining—with a 1:5 belayer to climber ratio, kids are always well-supervised and can pretty much climb to their heart’s content. For older climbers, there's a Teen Academy for kids 12 and up. Ages 4 and up.
Chelsea Piers: CP-After-3
Instead of racing your child from school to their favorite sporty activity, let Chelsea Piers do pickup duty from P.S. 3, P.S. 11, P.S. 33, P.S. 41 and Avenues: the World School. Each student participates in at least one semester-long Field House class (two classes if the child is signed up for five days a week), and options for sports courses span classic team games like soccer, basketball and tennis to more individual pursuits like gymnastics, rock climbing and “stunts and tricks.” On days when the kids are not in a class, they fill time with table games, art projects and computer activities. All participants also receive homework help and a snack. Pier 62, W 22nd St and the Hudson River (212-336-6500, chelseapiers.com). Ages 5–9.
After sitting still all day, little ones can jump, flip and cartwheel as the coaches teach the fundamentals of Olympic events for both women (vault, uneven bars, balance beam and floor) and men (floor, pommel horse, rings, vault, parallel bars and high bar). As the children grow stronger and more flexible, they’ll also gain confidence—not to mention a few acrobatic skills they’ll love to put into use on the playground. Ages 4.5–12.
The 92nd Street Y holds classes for every discipline under the sun, and the after-school offerings at their top-notch facilities are always family favorites. Young U.S. Open hopefuls practice their swing and footwork in Peewee Tennis classes (ages 4–7), hosted by CityView Racquet Club, while budding yogis work on breathing techniques and try downward dog in Bean Yoga (ages 5–11). Ballers can hit the basketball court for coaching sessions in the 92Y Dribblers program (ages 4–6), and high-energy kids jump and climb around in the Studio in the Sky during Parkour classes (ages 5–8). All ages.
Tots as young as two and a half years oldcangatheronthespecialkid-size courts (36 by 18 feet) to learn hand- eye coordination, balance and how to play well with others through the basics of tennis. Early-elementary- school–aged children are taught how to correctly swing a backhand and a forehand and to volley, while bigger kids get into the nitty-gritty of how the game works and they even play mini tournaments. The oldest of students (9- to 11-year-olds) start to delve into strategy and graduate to the full-size courts, but even these young pros still get to have fun: At every level, instructors take breaks for games and music! 526 Baltic St (718-875-5550, court16.com).
The Cliffs at LIC
Natural rock faces are few and far between here in NYC, but that can’tstop kids from learning the ins and outs of climbing right here in town. Before scampering up the bright, colorful walls, instructors familiarize the childrenwith the gear needed—like ropes and harnesses—and give them tips for getting to new heights. Experienced climbers can take the intermediate course, which delves deeper in climbing techniques and how to build strength. The six-week club also comes with a membership that includes free equipment rentals and one guest pass for return visits with friends and family. 11-11 44th Dr (718-729-7625, lic.thecliffsclimbing.com). Ages 6–9.
If your child wants to learn how to swim—or learn how to swim better—you’d be hard-pressed to find more options than those offered at the Y. Kids are grouped by age and capability, and certified instructors teach classes for ages that range from super young to teen beginners. The courses cover personal safety and stroke techniques like paddling, treading and floating so your guppies can hold their own on your next beach vacation. If your offspring prefer dry land, the Y also offers dance, basketball, tae kwon do and football. Various classes and locations (212-630-9600, ymcanyc.org). Visit website for class descriptions and detailed price information. Ages 5–18.
STREB Kid Fly
Soar like Peter Pan with this one- of-a-kind trapeze program made for children and tweens. Trained instructors evaluate each student at the start of the session and teach children based on their individual abilities, strengths and weaknesses; even beginners can quickly become graceful circus folk under the instructors’ tutelage. Kiddos who can’t get enough of heights and tricks can also sign up for the trampoline class or get their ya-yas out with parkour. 51 North 1st St (718-386-6491, streb.org).
NY Kids Club: 89th St
Used as both a preschool supplement for toddlers and as an after-school program for young children, the 89th Street location of this popular gym for tots has plenty to offer. Each day includes two activities: On Mondays it’s tumbling in gymnastics followed by the class Architects and Engineers to indulge future designers and builders. Wednesday is all about showmanship, with musical theater then “Math Magic,” and Friday is dedicated to unleashing kids’ creativity through open art and open gymnastics. Other days offer sports, science and “history adventures.” Parents can choose between one and five afternoons in the club. 601–644 Amsterdam Ave (347-394-2649, nykidsclub.com). Ages 3.5–6.5.
This organization’s stellar after-school soccer classes are not only offered at its home location, but also at approximately 100 locations in greater New York City (often at local schools). Little kickers can start super young (ages 2 through 4) to learn the basics in a noncompetitive way. Grade school-aged kids kick it up a notch with exercises that focus on dribbling, passing, shooting, defending and shielding and end with a friendly scrimmage to get ’em accustomed to the game structure. Older, more experienced players can move on to the Premiere and Advanced Development sessions and teams, where they deepen their understanding of team positioning and strategy, passing and ball control. Various locations (212-877-7171, supersoccerstars.com). Ages 2–16
At Uptown Sports, aspiring athletes can try their hands and feet at baseball, gymnastics, soccer and dance. During its after-school program, every afternoon starts with a snack used to fuel the next few hours, during which kids fully participate in two of the activities— learning skills and gaining friends along the way. The price includes pickup from nearby schools, and time is built into the schedule for doing homework; this way wiped out kiddos are ready to go straight from dinner to bedtime. Ages 5–12.
This spacious indoor rink operates even when all the ice has melted at Rockefeller Plaza. Kids can strap on their skates year-round, beginners learning basic skills like edge work, stroking and turns and advanced skaters practicing graceful spins, jumps and more fancy footwork. Skate School students dress in costume and perform choreographed routines that they’ve practiced throughout the year during the annual Skating Spectacular in June. Young NHL hopefuls can opt for the center’s USA Hockey Learn to Skate program, which helps them find their balance through athletic drills. Ages 5 and up.
Kids aged 3–10 can get flexible with class offerings at three different locations (and one in Central Park!) that employs age-appropriate techniques, games and props to teach young yogis the benefits of a regular practice. In Me & My Bean program, caregivers and kids bend, stretch and bond; Central Park Yoga allows moms to tone with a cardio-Yoga regime while their offspring (Mini Beans) learn the basics nearby. School-age kids, tweens and teens can also refine their skills in classes that put more emphasis on the correct alignment for poses. Ages 6 weeks to 16 years.
The martial arts are fantastic for introducing kids to competition, in a respectful and nurturing environment. They can get started as young as toddlers at AmeriKick’s two Staten Island facilities, honing their listening skills and working together with other students in the Tiny Tigers program (ages 3–4). Self-discipline and focus become more important once kids become Little Dragons (ages 5–7) and practice coordinated grabs and kicks. They’ll work their way into the Karate Kids program (ages 7–13), which incorporates elements of Tae Kwon Do, boxing, kung fu and judo, and focuses on character development. Students are given assignments to ensure they’re being kind and generous outside of class. Various locations in Staten Island. Ages 3–13.
This kid-centric art museum not only offers its signature drop-in art-making programs but also a series of skill-building after-school classes for various age groups. Teaching Artists lead the classes to help crafty kids refine their techniques, find their own artistic style and explore their imaginations. The museum’s imaginative and rigorous offerings include typical art classes like painting and sculpture but also introductions to things like video game design, filmmaking and S.T.E.M. Before class begins, youngsters can join in on supervised play with other students. Ages 5–15.
Kids from 42 Bronx public schools flock to DreamYard for free programs that help them discover their talents and passions through the arts. Youngsters (ages 6–10) gain confidence through a rotating series of theater, visual arts, dance and digital arts classes with their peers in the MINIs program. Middle school kids (ages 11–13) and high school students (ages 14–18) get to try exciting opportunities like arts activism, poetry and hip-hop, while working with professional artists. The center has the ability to connect driven kids with internships and mentorships in the community, as well as to prep students for the transition to college. Ages 6–18.
Tucked away near the Bronx Zoo, the BRAC’s newly renovated 18,000-square-foot facility is a perfect habitat for creative kids. Young visual artists enjoy in-depth painting and drawing classes that cover casting the perfect shadow, shading complex sketches and capturing the color of the sky. Those who prefer other mediums for self-expression, however, can also check out classes in printmaking, ceramics, sculpture and even 3-D modeling. *Classes held at various locations. Ages 7 and up.
With locations in Greenwich Village and Park Slope, crafty kids in Manhattan and Brooklyn can experiment with new art forms. On a typical day, budding artists have time for homework and a snack (included) before beginning class at 4pm. They experiment with textiles through eight-week workshop cycles in Weaving, Printing & Dyeing, Felting & Soft Sculpture and Sewing & Fashion, led by professional artisans. 505 Carroll St, Brooklyn (718-369-0222) · 26 W 8th St (646-225-6554, textileartscenter.com/afterschool). Ages 5–14.
Artsy projects go far beyond tempura paintings at this Staten Island studio. Creativity is merely a jumping-off point that leads kids to focused courses like Comic Art (ages 6–12) which involves designing characters as well as elements of storytelling. Kids can channel their ideas into a plethora of other classes as well, including drawing, painting, fashion boutique, animation, human anatomy, digital design and photography, which each introduce young creators to new and exciting materials and tools. Driven artists even get a chance to show off their full range by putting together impressive portfolios made up of works using graphite, pastels, watercolors, acrylic and more. Ages 4–19.
Little girls will flip for the Mindful Crafts classes put together by Mischievous Goddess founder, Lucie McQuilkan. The group dives into artsy activities with a spiritual twist, creating projects like glittery mobiles, fairy houses and goddess eyes using paint, beads and natural materials like sticks, shells and fresh flowers. Good vibes flow throughout the sessions, which incorporate tales of mermaids and unicorns, plus tranquil music and time outdoors (weather permitting). Little ones (ages 3–7) who prefer to move around more can get in on Goddess Dancing classes at other locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Ages 4–6.
Kids get a behind-the-scenes look at movie magic through this Brooklyn studio’s Movie Arts©Workshops & After School Programs. Experts coach small groups of young cinephiles (12 students max) ages 8–10 and 11–13 through the entire movie-making process, from scriptwriting to production to editing. The program culminates in a final screening of their short film. Ages 8–13.
If you’re after the language de l’amour, look no further than FIAF—a full-immersion school that ties its exploration of the language to French art and culture. Highlights include A Petits Pas, designed especially for toddlers. Some classes held at International School of Brooklyn (477 Court St between Nelson and Luquer, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn). Ages 1 and up.
This UES arts-and-crafts emporium offers kids engaging classes in painting, sculpting, design and other crafting skills. Wednesday’s Foodie Art (ages 6 and up) teaches kids how to turn edible objects into objects of art. Construction & Science sessions lets kids build volcanoes, twisters and terrariums (ages 6 and up, Mondays 3:00–4:00pm) while Rockin’ Craft Class invites youngsters to design T-shirts and make holiday centerpieces (ages 3.5–9, Thursdays 3:30–4:30pm). Ages 2 to 9.
At this creative studio, little bookworms (ages 3–5) dive into different stories each week in Let’s Look in our Favorite Book classes before making themed crafts like creature collages and insect sculptures. Those ages 4 to 6 examine famous artwork in Matisse, Monet and Me to inspire their own masterpieces, while older kids (ages 6–9) try out Bookmaking using techniques like accordion folding and hand sewing. Pre-teens (ages 9–12) dive into drawing in Draw, Doodle & Pop! with fine artists like Keith Haring and Van Gogh as examples. Ages 18 months–12. Drop-off for ages 5 and up only.
There are a wide variety of offerings at this Tribeca studio, including a popular boys' hip-hop program (there’s a Street Hip Hop class that includes girls too!) that's drawn plenty of young men in the few years since it launched. From ballet and tap to jazz and lyrical, range from Tututots for teeny ballerinas to invitation-only technique sessions for experienced students, this spot has something for anyone you likes to boogie. Ages 2 and up.
This theater program invites little ones to immerse themselves in fantasy scenarios as they sing, dance and act, using props and costumes to bring their characters to life. The tiniest tots can begins to explore theater with Mom or Dad through puppets, music and games in A World of Play (18 month–21/2 years). In Imagine That!, preschoolers (ages 2–3) will work with their caregivers to reinterpret familiar stories and make up their own wacky scenarios. In the Adventure Series, little ones (ages 4–6) focus on rotating themes including Magical Travels, Gods & Heroes, Ocean Adventures, Fairy Tale Theater and Animals Adventures. Mini Musical classes allow kids (ages 4–6) to stage some of their favorite works of literature, including this season’s titles Peter Pan, Jungle Book and Once Upon a Time. As part of the Shakespeare Players, students (age 7–9) will rehearse and perform an adaptation of The Tempest. The Shakespeare Ensemble (ages 10-13) will put on their version of Antigone. Ages 2 to 14.
Tiny dancers and musicians learn to bust a move
from age three through their teens with the help of teaching artists at Mark Morris. Classes run the gamut from ballet to hip-hop to Afro-Haitian, plus there’s Special Kids Dance for youngsters with special needs. Those with a serious musical bent opt for Morris’s music performance program, and learn basic music theory and song interpretation through popular and classical music. Fall programs will culminate
in a performance of holiday classics in and around BAM. Ages 4–17.
If you’ve got an aspiring entertainer on your hands, the occasional school play probably isn’t enough of an outlet for their creative energy. Kids who dream of going into the performing arts will dig the immersive courses covering types of dance like hip-hop and Broadway, plus musical theater, acting scene study and on-camera acting. Kids can work on individual skills as well as collaborate as a team to create dance numbers, musical productions, complex characters and original films over the course of the semester. All classes will culminate in a showcase performance in front of real-deal agents and casting directors searching for young talent! Ages 4–18.
Kids of all skill levels are welcome to put on their dancing shoes and join in at this studio. Beginners learn dancing basics like coordination and rhythm in the Young Dancers Program (ages 2–5) to prepare for ballet and tap classes, while kids in the Technique Program (ages 6–18) develop form and try other genres like jazz, theater dance, hip-hop and modern as well. Pilates and dance history are also in the mix, and serious dancers may even ascend to the Pre-Professional Program (ages 7–18). Rehearsals are fun, yet focused, with a required dress code for most classes, but the dancers’ dedication pays off—past students have gone on to perform in prestigious shows, including Broadway’s Hamilton. Ages 18 months–18.
Expressive kiddos get expert instruction in various forms of dance and theater at BAX’s studios in Park Slope. Students learn about form and rhythm in focused dance classes organized by age, delving into the techniques of modern dance, ballet and hip-hop—they’ll even try out trendy moves like the Running Man and the Nae Nae. Aspiring actors work on their vocals, explore improvisation and hone more theater skills in drama classes. Exercises, storytelling and creative games build confidence and an understanding of the art before the term culminates with a showcase of the students’ original works in the BAX Theater. Ages 5–12.
If you’ve ever balked at the high cost of childcare or after-school activities, you won’t believe that this structured, all-inclusive program is completely free for Bronx kids. After the school day, local students head to the center after class (there’s complimentary pick-up) to dive in to their first class of choice and eat a quick snack. They have their pick of courses in music, theater, dance, fashion, arts and more, which they focus on for 45 minutes, before moving on to a second discipline. As they return throughout the year, they’ll work on final projects to present during a showcase at the end of each semester. Ages 5–15.
Guided by real live comedians and writers, wee wiseacres build on their comedic chops by studying their favorite comics on video, learning how to write and workshop material, and testing it out on their peers — culminating in a performance of their very own set for friends and family on the Gotham Comedy Club stage. Ages 10 and up.
Several levels of ballet (including a parent-child class for two-year-olds) allow young twinkle toes to learn and build their skills from the ground up and eventually audition for Ballet for Young Audiences' Nutcracker. Off-the-beaten-path options include SportsDance, a program that uses athletic movements like jumping and bending to teach the fundamentals, and Imagine Dance, where a different story serves as inspiration for the dances in each class. Hip-hop, tap and jazz are also on the menu. Ages 2 and up.
If you have a budding performer around the house, these playful youth theater programs are great for harnessing their creative energy. Youngsters can shake off stage fright in 45- to 55-minute classes like Imagination Adventure, Story Drama or Musical Adventure, where they’ll use props and costumes and play characters from their favorite stories and musicals. For more in-depth instruction, try Put on a Play (ages 4–6) or Musical Treasures (ages 5–7) where kids learn choreographed dance numbers and perform scripted mini-plays for friends and family. Various locations. Ages 2 ½–7.
Got a young rocker on your hands? Brooklyn Music Factory lets kids develop their skills in private lessons (voice, drums, guitar, bass or keys) and group classes in four age groups to help your whole crew master their favorite instruments. 295 Douglass St, Brooklyn (877-767-3560, brooklynmusicfactory.com). Ages 4–16.
The comprehensive curriculum at this music school founded in 1897 and housed in a five-story Victorian Gothic mansion ranges from things like Guitar Friends and Drumming Friends (both in two age groups) for kids who know what they like to Instrument Explorers for particularly young ones. You'll also find offerings like music therapy for kiddos recieving early intervention services. Ages 1 and up.
Leveling up in Donkey Kong or building a house in The Sims used to be an impressive feat, but with sophisticated coding software, young gamers and designers are capable of way more. Kids can learn coding basics, design 3D video games, make custom mods in Minecraft, create original animations, build apps and more in focused CodeAdvantage classes. Even first-graders can start absorbing the fundamentals of computer programming through game-based learning, and parents might pick up a thing or two by following along with their child’s projects through the online portal. Various locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Ages 6–13.
These days, kids aren’t just impressing their parents by mastering high-tech toys with little instruction—they’re building their own playthings, with working parts and all. This electronics and robotics shop in Williamsburg sells the pieces necessary to build functional video game controllers, motors, instruments and more, and invites kids to learn and create together. Courses cover everything from basic engineering (circuitry, mechanics) to digital programming and 3D design. Students use made-for-kids kits like littleBits and LEGO MINDSTORMS as well as cutting-edge software like Arduino and Scratch. Ages 5–14.
Love science? This one's for you. Carmelo’s after-school program is offered to two of-school-age groups (K–2nd, 3rd–5th) and explores cool concepts like Mystery Matter, where kids act as inventors, or things like The Magic of Science where magic and science come together (think disappearing ink)! After-school pickup is offered at area schools, and kids can bring their own snack, do homework and play with learning toys like Zoobs and marble runs until class begins. 300 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn (718-722-0000, carmelothesciencefellow.com). Ages 3 and up.
If you’re the parent of a persistent “What’s that? How does it work?” kind of kid, this one’s for you. Tiny techies who want to expand their know-how will dig these workshops in engineering and coding. Pre-Robotics helps kindergarteners build motorized LEGO creations, while older sibs (first through sixth grades) can design original characters, obstacles, settings and controls with MIT Media Lab software in Game Design. Also on offer is Stop Motion Animation (third through sixth grades)—if they’re into Fantastic Mr. Fox, they’ll love writing their own scripts, drawing up storyboards and building creatures using clay, paper and found objects for their own videos. 2672 Broadway, loft A (212-245-0444, robofun.org). Ages 3–12.
This mecca for tiny science geeks hosts hour-and-a-half classes and hands-on workshops that encourage exploration. Among this season’s offerings: Candy Chemistry (grades K–2) has kids using air pressure to mash marshmellows and extracting DNA from strawberries to practice measurement, observe and track their observations like a for-real scientist; Maker Magic has kids (grades 2–5) making light up wristbands and a solids and liquids lava lamp, using fundamental science concepts to build. Plus, they offer free after-school pick up (and the option of after-care!) from local public schools. Ages 2–11.
If your kids need math help (and fast) or are just in need of a new academic challenge, the after-school Edison Club at Zaniac is a great pick. Pint-size participants are evaluated so instructors know how best to address each child’s strengths and weaknesses, and parents are given daily progress reports. Teachers also make sure children complete their homework and help them puzzle through difficult assignments using fun methods for explaining various concepts. Families that use Edison three or five afternoons a week get a discount for weekly specialty classes that include chess, 3-D–game design, LEGO robotics and a course on the fundamentals of space travel. Pickup is available from various Upper East Side schools. 261 E78 St (917-388-2855, zaniaclearning.com). Ages 5–14.
If the LEGO movies have taught us anything, it’s that those little blocks can be used to make anything you can imagine. Here young sprouts have the opportunity to become master builders by taking on a new project each week, constructing models that are unlike any found in toy stores. Using instructions created by those behind the program, the tykes work with partners to complete multiple structures that fit within a theme like “space travel,” “famous buildings” and “inventions.” Each session then ends with free time to use how they wish. Various locations (718-300-7305, bricks4kidz.com). Ages 5–13.
Trained scientists, engineers, designers and other experts indulge students’ curious questions like “How would a superhero’s heart be different from a normal human’s heart?” or “Can 3-D printers be used to help save the environment?” This fall’s 11-week terms include classes on microbiology, forensics, nanotechnology, plant science and architecture. Young makers can expect to regularly bring home projects from class to show off to their families. Talk about a great dinner- conversation topic! 215 E 81st St (212-804-7055, sci-techkids.com). 5 percent discount (2017) available with code TIMEOUTKIDS1. Ages 3–15.
Kids who love asking “why?” will get plenty of answers with the hands- on science experiments at this wonderful after-school class. Topics like biology, paleontology, astronomy and more are covered in age- appropriate groups: Preschoolers and kindergarteners learn the basics about animals, dinosaurs and the planets, while big kids delve into dissecting owl pellets, the structure of Earth and even DNA. One class is available per week for each age group, and pickup is available from P.S. 41 and City and Country School. 112 W 14th St (646-374-1721, scienceteachersarah.com). Ages 4–9.
Grown-ups and kids alike can agree on the Pixel Academy’s educational use of computer games. During a six-week series (one class/week), kids gain STEM skills that might just lead to a future in tech. Using Minecraft, gamers learn how to code, or they might use virtual reality and 3-D animation technology to learn development and design skills. They can also sign up for the more freewheeling “makerspace” workshop visits, which cover things like 3-D printing, stop- motion animation and laser cutting. Sessions include homework help and snack time, with Pixel staff available to pick up students from eight different schools in Brooklyn and four schools in Manhattan. Various locations (866-771-6837, pixelacademy.org). Ages 7–12.
This well-established Park Slope nursery school has experienced staffers to keep kids busy after school with activities like photography, cooking, pottery and soccer in their indoor/outdoor facility. The pluses are many: they’ve got a full sized gym, they provide homework help and keep healthy snacks around to fill kid-bellies. Two-, three-, four- and five-day options are available, so you can customize the program to fit your schedule and needs. What’s more, they pick-up from ten area schools. Various classroom locations. Grades pre-K through 4.
Enjoy a traditional after-school program experience at the JCC, complete with creative play, homework help and tasty snacks to chow down on. Kids looking for extra activities can also sign up for special course options (at an additional fee), which include tae kwon do and gymnastics for energetic kids, ballet and hip-hop for dancers and even a variety of coding classes that use Kodu Arcade and Minecraft. Minimermaids can swim year-round in the indoor pool during sessions dedicated to teaching appropriate strokes and techniques to all levels of swimmers. Counselors transport kids from school to the JCC and within the building between classes. Ages 4–11.
Many learning facilities throughout the city allow kids to look but not touch, but this expansive cultural center and botanical garden encourages youngsters to interact with their surroundings for the full experience. Grow to Eat classes at the onsite Heritage Farm let kids discover where food comes through planting, examining and preparing seasonal produce. Explore the botanical garden grounds by getting crafty in Autumn Leaves sessions or taking an ecological tour in the science-focused Wetlands Creatures program. Ages 5–10.
Help future chefs and tastemakers perfect new skills, from proper food preparation and kitchen safety to cooking and baking techniques and plating presentation. Some people use the program as a drop-in class, while members take the classes weekly and can track their growth as amateur cooks with monthly knowledge assessments, all while working toward a diploma and a MasterChef jacket. The academy may be just what you need for a picky little eater; some studies have shown that they’re more likely to try meals they prepared themselves. Bon appétit! Ages 4–18.
Animal lovin’ kids get hands-on time with guinea pigs, turtles, bunnies and bearded dragons while learning science skills like observation, classification and communication. Babes (and caregivers) also hang out with a variety of creatures in Rocks, Smocks & Animals, a mommy-and-me class that combines animal visits with music, storytime and art. If your kid’s more the culinary kind, consider the Farm Foodies Cooking Class, where kids learn the importance of cooking with fresh ingredients. Need a fun and flexible option? The Afternoon Kids Club can cover you for a couple of hours. Ages 14 months to 8 years.
City kids get the rare opportunity to learn in an outdoor classroom through this early-childhood program. Tots as young as 1 ½ will develop their motor and sensory skills, as well as self-esteem and focus via hands-on, group activities in many of Brooklyn green spaces, including Prospect Park, Marine Park, Owls Head Park and Shore Road Park. The natural environment plays a role in each lesson, whether inspiring discussion about the seasons or providing natural materials to use in crafts and “outdoor kitchen” cooking activities. Parents will need to pack a healthy snack and water, and make sure the kids are suited up in weather-appropriate gear for class. Ages 18 months–8 years.
Housed in a gigantic 2,500-square-foot facility with a gym and a classroom, LIC Kids hosts tonsa comprehensive after-school program with plenty of after-school classes offered at a discounted rate. Among the offerings: Gymnastics, Music in Motion, Physical Theater and LIC Kids on Broadway. A typical day includes one hour of schoolwork/homework time (after-school pickup and homework help are both part of the deal), snack time (kids bring their own), one hour of active instruction (giggle-worthy Zumba, dance or music instruction) and one hour of learning (math, science or language). Plus, if your kid could benefit from some one-on-one academic support, a tutoring service offers more individualized help and academic support (at an additional cost). Ages 4–12.
Need something to occupy a hungry kid on his days off? From week-long to single days off, Taste Buds Kitchen offers a tasty education with 3-hour classes when school’s closed. For child chefs ages 2–6 and 6–8, weekend morning baking and cooking workshops teach little ones to craft recipes from scratch. Ages 2 and up.
Catering specifically to children with special needs, this awesome, inclusive studio features classes taught by both a black belt martial artist and a behavioral therapist. Parents love the small class environment (with just two to five students each), but they can also opt for private lessons. For tots who’d rather learn with a buddy, sibling and parent/child classes are available. Kids stretch, punch and kick, along with doing team-building exercises and playing games, to nurture kids’ physical and emotional well-being and boosting their social skills. Ages 3 and up.
Nobody’s too young or old to burn off energy at this Greenpoint play space, equipped with spring floors, beams, trampolines and more. After-school programs for children ages 3–12 include recreational gymnastics, kids’ yoga, tumbling and parkour to help build your youngster’s balance, agility, speed and stamina through obstacle-course practice. If the kiddos need a break from running around, they’ll spend time doing art enrichment activities and getting help with their homework—math tutoring is even available for an extra boost. The health-focused gym also grows its own organic and raw food, allowing kids to fuel up with an organic, non-processed snack each day (included with tuition). Ages 8 months and up.