Best after school programs in NYC
Let your kids fall in love with books thanks to this engaging tutoring program. Reading in PreSchool tutors kickstart the literary fun a bit early, helping little ones learn how to read before entering first grade, thanks to a phonics-based and play-based method. Various locations (readinginpreschool.com). Ages 3 and up.
At this Upper East Side institution, your musician can learn how to play an instrument—violin, guitar, cello, percussion—or music production. After-school classes ($500/semester) examine different musical pieces and encourage collaboration in a group setting. At the end of the program, mini Mozarts can impress their family and friends at open-house recitals. Although participants need to provide their own instruments for the duration of the course, the 92Y offers finanical aid and rental recommendations. Plus, when they’re not jamming, kids can take advantage of homework help and R & R in the Clubhouse, where they are divvied up by grade level. Ages 5–15.
After a day of navigating the academic obstacle course at school, your favorite achievers—whether beginner, intermediate or advanced—can reach new heights on a rock-climbing wall. The Cliffs’ once-weekly offerings ($525–$565/eight sessions) allow developing bodies to build muscle strength and agility. For example, introductory sessions teach climbers how to tie safety knots and belay (that is, controlling the rope while they’re suspended in midair) as well as other basics, mastering them with hands-on games and activities. More experienced teens can try lead climbing and other advanced techniques. The Cliffs at LIC, Long Island City (lic.thecliffsclimbing.com). Ages 6–18.
Court 16 invites your tennis stars to participate in a range of pursuits that will prep them for the U.S. Open in no time! Seasoned pros teach group lessons ($32–$52), private instruction ($78–$114) and semiprivate drills ($78–$98). Move over, Roger Federer—you’re going to have some competition! Note: Children must be members in order to participate in the lessons. Court 16, Boerum Hill, Long Island City (court16.com). All ages.
Asphalt Green offers plenty of sports-related after-school classes for kids (and caters to a variety of age groups). You'll find opportunities for both youth classes and ongoing youth programs throughout the year with concentrations in soccer, baseball, tennis, flag football and more great stuff (various prices). Locations in Battery Park City and on the Upper East Side. Ages 3–13.
In the Brooklyn Boulders Kids Academy, young participants receive basic coaching as they learn to climb, and a 1:5 teacher ratio makes sure everyone gets personalized instruction. Kids will learn how to safely use equipment and scale Brooklyn Boulders' climbing walls, as well as enjoy activities on the ground too! A 10-pack of classes is $475. Ages 5 and up.
Fun at the Chelsea Piers Field House has no limits, and its after-school programs (various prices) let kids take advantage of the amazing facility. Your tykes can sign up for one or more of the many semester-long classes, including rock climbing for the adventurous, dance for the dramaticand soccer and basketball for the team-oriented. On days when the kids aren’t inside the classroom, they can take part in table games, art projects and computer activities. Chelsea Piers, Chelsea (chelseapiers.com). All ages.
Your kids are likely to be hunched and antsy after sitting at a desk all day. Help them spring into action with flips, jumps and balancing challenges! Expert 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. Class packages start at $504. Ages 4.5–12.
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. Kids 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. STREB, Williamsburg (streb.org). All ages.
Let your future World Cup players loose at this stellar organization’s soccer classes, which are offered at about 100 locations in the area. The goal is to inspire self-confidence and teamwork in a fun environment—no competition required. Children will focus on key skills such as dribbling, passing and defending while learning how to play as part of a team. Class packages start at $325 and up. Ages 1 and up.
Though the trees may still have their green leaves, this large rink maintains its year-round frosty temperatures for ice-skating fun. Aspiring figure skaters, hockey players and beginners can all learn the basics of edge work, stroking and turns. Courses are offered every day of the week for a variety of interests and skill levels, and public and freestyle sessions are available for little Mirai Nagasus who want to spend some afternoons shredding the ice without instruction. Ages 4 and up.
Master tree pose, cobra and downward dog at these cool kids' classes! These are perfect for restless elementary and middle schoolers who have extra energy to burn after class. There are also plenty of offerings for the younger set (toddlers) as well as family yoga on weekends. With several locations around the city, you're sure to find one that suits you. Ages 3–10.
When school is out, it's the perfect time for moppets to harness their bouncing-off-the-walls energy! This program (roughly $55/class) gets kids on the court so they can develop their b-ball skills amid fair play and friendly competition. The classes stay small and impart lots of support: Each group consists of about 15 kids and two or three coaches. Beginners will benefit from the introductory classes, while serious ballers can receive advanced training. Grades K and up.
Once youngsters taste-test the Dynamite Shop’s delicious dishes, they’ll come back hungry for more. The culinary school offers a glimpse into the inner workings of a real kitchen— but kids and teens are the chefs here! Founders and food writers Dana Bowen and Sara Kate Gillingham have devised the Make & Take program, in which young cooks prep dinner for their families each night. Bon appétit! (Prices TBD). Ages 8–13.
Since young brains are particularly adept at learning languages, Lango Kids is the place to go: Weekly lessons ($28/class) in Spanish and Mandarin cover grammar, vocabulary and phrases, ultimately leading to simple conversations. What’s more, the teachers—who are all native speakers—incorporate fun movement exercises and creative projects to reinforce the intellectual stuff. Lango Kids, Boerum Hill (langokidsnyc.com). Ages 4–6.
Youngsters can explore their creativity and passions in a wide array of once-a-week classes, such as Comics and Illustrated Stories or Animation and Set Design. In the Investigating Artists course, students encounter the techniques and styles of famous artists, then attempt to re-create their work with a personal spin. CMA’s teaching artists help each class to master traditional methods and each kid to develop a unique voice. $500/semester; school, 6pm pickup $150 each. Ages 5–15.
This small Staten Island studio has tons of child-centric drawing and painting classes in a variety of styles and mediums. Kids Comic Art introduces future illustrators to cartooning and animation. At the end, your teen will have a portfolio of creative portraits and still lifes that can be used in college applications. $190–$260/four sessions. Ages 3 and up.
DreamYard has free classes at more than 40 Bronx schools, including at its 1085 Washington Ave headquarters. Every week has courses on the digital arts, fashion, dance and music production, to name a few. All subjects are taught through a social-justice lens, meaning participants can explore their identities, vital social issues and how art can change the world. Ages 6–14.
This craft destination welcomes young learners to experiment with new art forms at its two locations, both of which offer similar eight-week workshop cycles. On a typical day, budding artists will have time for homework and a provided snack before 4pm, when classes begin. Supported by professional artisans, students can try their hand at weaving on a loom, printmaking and fabric dyeing, mixed-media techniques, fashion design (with instruction in sewing), and building soft-sculpture creations (stuffies!), which can be sewn by hand or on a machine. Ages 5–11.
Bring on the movie magic! Here, kids get to go behind the scenes and get in on the action. They’ll get to touch/work with professional movie-making equipment and collaborate with their groups (led by two instructors for every 12 kids) to make their very own 5–10-minute movie ($700). Grades 4–8.
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. The venue's kids and teens after-school programming includes general French courses, private lessons and themed French courses (like the Arts & Crafts Club) as well as Fall Day Camp for the youngest age group. Ages 1–17.
At this creative studio, artists of all ages get to try their hand at exciting projects. Offerings include Art Around the World, where those ages 3–5 get a taste of other cultures and tackle projects like Brazilian Carnivale masks, Toddler Art Adventures where little ones are familiarized with crayons, oil pastels, collage materials and more and drop-in studios where littles can let the creative juices run wild. Prices vary according to program. Ages 1.5 and up.
During Artshack’s after-school program Design Lab, tweens and teens can home in on a project of their own choosing—ceramics, printmaking, bookbinding, watercolors and other mediums— and experts with a serious aesthetic flair will help them to finish an awesome product. Artshack Brooklyn, Bed-Stuy (artshackbrooklyn.org). Ages 10-14.
Artist, toy designer and former School of Visual Arts instructor Karen Merbaum’s Creative Cats program teaches students (ages 4–6) about mosaics, clay, sculpture and printmaking, to name a few mediums. In Art Explorers I, older kids (ages 7–12) begin each class with a drawing lesson, then immerse themselves in weekly visual-arts projects. $272/8 classes, $352/11 classes, $35/ drop-in. Ages 4 and up.
Young people who want develop serious artistic abilities will find their heaven at Bronx River Art Center, which offers 10-week courses on painting, drawing, ceramics, digital photography and printmaking—all taught by seasoned artists. In this class (free, but only 15 spots are available), pros give teens a behind-the-scenes peek at what it’s like to have a career in the visual arts and design industries. In December and June, the students’ work is showcased for all to see in the center’s gallery. Teen Project Studio Program is free but requires an application for admission. Ages 9–18.
Let your kids sharpen their acting chops through theater games, improv, singalongs and storytelling at Atlantic Acting School. Little ones (ages 4–5) in the Performers class will bring a classic story to life through role playing and get their feet wet with the performing arts. Older kids (ages 9–11) with a few more years of experience can join Performance & Playwriting, a more intensive program in which they will write, direct and star in an original works. Whether your kids or teens are looking to hone in on musicals, comedy or even improv, Atlantic Acting School is a wonderful outlet for a variety of opportunities that will let their creativity run wild. Ages 4–18.
New in 2019: If you have an SNL castmate in the making, let your funny stand-up test out their comedic chops in this comprehensive workshop. In the writers’ room, kids will get the giggles as they devise an original, hilarious sketch. After practicing their monologues and short performances, they’ll put on a show for their family and friends. Looks like Kate McKinnon and Beck Bennett will have to make some room on the stage. Wed at 4pm; $560. Sept 18–Dec 18. Ages 9–11.
Owned by actor Mimi Stuart (who has spent her career in the theater), the Children’s Acting Academy offers original programs in which drama kings and queens can flex their improv muscles, practice monologues and fine-tune their speech and diction. Professional actors give students a taste of what it takes to make it: For example, Creative Drama focuses on mime, improvization and other theatrical mediums, and Acting sharpens skills pertaining to interviews, monologues and TV commercials. The fall trimester ($55/class) comprises 10 to 12 courses, the last of which is a showcase in which kids can show off their dramatic chops. Children's Acting Academy, Upper West Side (childrensactingacademy.com). Ages 4–14.
With weekly courses geared toward tots and teens, Brooklyn Acting Lab aims to hone kids’ talent through training that prioritizes collaboration and ensemble- based playmaking. In the Storybook Theatre program, kindergartners engage in games and improv exercises based on that week’s picture book. The classes focus on language and movement in classical, contemporary, physical and experimental theater; then, participants perform their favorite scenes. Also on offer are Musical Theater Ensembles, Improv and Acting on Camera, and the new Magical Musicals. Pickup is available. Storybook Theatre (Sept 20–Dec 20): Fri 3:30–4:15pm; $390. Teen Acting Lab (Sept 16–Dec 16) Mon 6:30–8:30pm; $420. Ages 3–18.
In creative space Okabaloo’s recreational program FunArtFaktory, professional artists and counselors get your kids immersed in the visual arts, the performing arts, music, musical theater, creative movement, STEM exercises and Spanish, to name just a few ($445 per month). Okabaloo, Astoria (okabaloo.com). Ages 6–11.
Instrumentalists who want to get into the groove can get one-on- one lessons at this family-owned and -operated shop that boasts a roster of musicians who have worked with bands and performers you may know, including Ingrid Michaelson and members of Guns N’ Roses. Kids can have their pick of woodwinds, piano, guitar, brass, drums and other instruments. Both half-hour and hour sessions are available. Castellano House of Music, Eltingville (castellanoshouseofmusic.com). Ages 7 and up.
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.
Child’s Play NY tackles everything a performing arts program should ($385/semester and up). It invites students to immerse themselves in fantasy scenarios as they sing, dance, act and make use of props while bringing their characters to life on the stage. Kids are welcome to explore the venue’s opportunities—which are grouped according to age brackets—including Imagine That, a course where those ages 2–3 put wonky characters into unusual situations (think a wild animal on line at the grocery store in NYC) and the Middle School Ensemble, where students take on Greek myths and recreate popular Shakespearean histories. In certain courses, young performers will be putting on their own shows, so moms and dads will catch a glimpse of what their kiddos have been rehearsing. Ages 2–16.
Students of all ages are enriched through dance thanks to Mark Morris. Classes, which are held in Brooklyn’s Cultural District, run the gamut from jazz and hip-hop to world dance and ballet—any genre that might be of interest to your children. Moms and dads with teeny dancers (18 months and older) are invited to parent-child courses throughout the year. The venue also caters programs toward children with special needs. Plus there’s good news for those looking to take in a show: There are opportunities to watch your kids perform at the end of the programs. Ages 18 months–18 years.
If you’ve got an aspiring entertainer on your hands, the occasional school play probably isn’t enough of an outlet for his or her creative energy. Kids who dream of going into the performing arts will dig the immersive courses at Applause New York, which cover topics such as dance, musical theater, on-camera acting and more. Students can work on individual skills or collaborate as a team to create dance numbers, musical productions, complex characters and original films. If you're feeling inspired by your child's appreciation for the arts, sign up for a class. If you're feeling inspired, the venue also offers adult courses. Think of all of the creativity destined for your household! Ages 1 and up.
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 First Steps program (ages 2–5) while older kids (ages 6–18) can try other genres like jazz, theater dance, hip-hop and modern. 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 years.
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 so much 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. Parents will certainly pick up a thing or two by following along with their child’s projects. Grades 1 and up.
These days, kids aren’t just impressing their parents by mastering high-tech toys with little instruction, they’re building their own playthings—working parts and all! This electronics and robotics shop in Brooklyn invites kids to learn and create together. Courses (various prices) cover everything from basic engineering (circuitry, mechanics) to digital programming and 3D design. Be sure to check out all of the offerings in both Brooklyn locales! Ages 3–14.
If your kiddos love science, it’s time to ready the test beakers and grab those lab coats. Carmelo’s after-school program offers options for three age groups (pre–k, kindergarten–second grade and third–fifth grade) to explores cool concepts within the field, including biology, oceanography and more. Kids will fall in love with science and rise to the top of their class after they learn the ropes from this expert science whiz. Ages 3 and up.
Technically inclined kids dabble in robotics, video-game design and stop-motion animation with this venue's exciting offerings. Over the course of a session, students 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. Ages 3 and up.
This hub of science and exploration hosts hour-and-a-half classes and hands-on workshops that encourage a range of STEM learning. In the fall, the Brooklyn Rangers course takes kids outdoors to help them become environmental experts, identifying plants and leaves, tracking animals, and finding out what owls eat for breakfast, among other critical questions. The Super Sleuths class turns moppets into detectives by teaching them about forensic evidence and secret-message encryption. The organization offers after-school pickups from some local schools. Ages 5–12.
If the LEGO movies have taught us anything, it’s that those tiny bricks can be used to make anything you could possibly imagine. Bricks 4 Kidz lets you put that creativity to good use. At the venue, sprouts have the opportunity to become master builders by taking on a new project each week, constructing models that are unlike anything in toy stores. Other offerings include Video Game Design and Coding and Scouts programs that help youngsters earn their badges (a win-win for Brownies and Boy Scouts). Ages 5 and up.
Here’s proof that STEM can be fun! Your little Einsteins can drop by one of Pixel Academy’s locations for “makerspace” activities (3-D printing, for instance). You can also sign them up for one of Pixel’s longer series , like “Video Production and YouTube” to build development and design expertise. Sessions include homework help and snacks, as well as optional pickup from various schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. After-school costs start at $600. Ages 7–14.
KoKo NYC is all about the intersection of science and the arts. This fall, founder and local artist Monika Wührer will teach the Simple Machines Lab (ages 7–9, $690) and the Extraordinary Machine Lab (ages 10–13, $690). Both courses explore simple machines (there are six: inclined plane, wedge, lever, wheel-andaxle, screw-and-pulley) and the creative power of invention, encouraging kids to tinker, experiment and repurpose found materials. Pickup from local Brooklyn schools is available for an additional cost. Ages 7–13.
Trained scientists, engineers, designers and other industry 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?” in various SciTech Kids classes. This fall’s offerings include “SciTech” explorers for those ages 3–5 where students can discover natural phenomena and “SciTech Investigators” for students ages 9–12 who are curious what is going on within the field. Ages 3–15.
Brooklyn Game Lab’s after-school programs engage gamers of all interests by offering a choice of four different labs. Participants will learn the methods and mechanics of modern board and card games—no video games! Kids can also try their hand at recently released innovative games like Photosynthesis and Hive. For the adventurous, Quest Lab (ages 9 and up) combines roleplaying games and live-action role play. Note that the venue has several different locations. Ages 6–14.
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.
Aviator Sports is a bona fide smorgasbord of pastimes for little ones: The 175,000-square-foot facility boasts ice skating, gymnastics, rock climbing, sports, dance, arts and crafts, and other fun activities— but only after they complete their homework, of course. (Aviator is a stickler for good study habits.) Free bus pickup is available from various schools in the area. Ages 5–11.
Founders Richard and Karen Steinmetz first tested their kitchen classes on their daughters in 2007, but now all young chefs can sharpen their skills while learning about creative cooking and everyday nutrition ($40/class). The entrée-and-dessert menu changes every week—past dishes have included scallops in a sauce of sage and brown butter (plus cookies) and grilled hanger steak with fried rice and veggies (plus cinnamon rolls). The classes are sensitive to food allergies and religious restrictions, and kids who enroll for at least eight weeks receive an apron embroidered with their name. Kidz R Cookin, Woodrow (kidzrcookin.com). Ages 5-19.
So much more than just a dance class, Lotus Creations combines all aspects of hip-hop to give fledgling rhymers a rich experience of its culture and history. Drop-in courses cover the rap-and-poetry intersection, break dancing, choreography, musical-theater performance and many other subjects. Each afternoon begins with a healthy snack to invigorate your young artist, as well as homework help before classes begin. Prices range from $25–$200. Ages 6–11.
The historic school focuses on the overall improvement of education for children and targets a variety of creative and intellectual pursuits to encourage discovery and growth. That means your kindergartner’s afternoon hours will be filled with activities like yoga and mindfulness, tap-dancing lessons, immersive sign language and many other cultural, fitness and creative courses. For less-structured play, two drop-in groups support kids’ after-school learning with outdoor fun, storytelling time and arts and crafts. Ages 4 and up.
Long considered an incubator for chess talent, these classes group kids according to their individual skill level, from rookie to young master. Students benefit from expert chess coaching, game analysis, friendly competitions and, for the more advanced students, tournament preparation. To keep the sessions lively, Chess NYC takes breaks for origami, ice cream and playground fun. Check the schedule for the empowering girls-only classes, taught by female teachers. Ages 4–18.
Dancers can master basic moves, while more advanced movers can opt for competitive classes that concentrate on conditioning and fine- tuningtechniques.Nomatterwhat style your kids prefer—tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary—professionals with a passion for the art form are on hand to guide them. Move Me Dance Studio, Great Kills (moveme dancenfitness.com). Ages 4 and up.
This after-school program takes place at a karate studio—and, yes, kids receive martial arts training three days a week—but TCK offers much more than that. One day a week is dedicated to gymnastics as well as arts and crafts, and Fridays are movie days, so there’s no chance your little ones will get bored. In the martial arts sessions, growing athletes learn the fundamentals while developing confidence, self- discipline and respect for others. Of course, homework always comes first every day. (Tykes are picked up from school—the fee is included in the program cost.) Fordham Manor (tckwarriors.com). Ages 3–14.