Holiday Break Camps for NYC Kids: Science, Nature, Chess and Other Enrichment Programs

NY Chess Kids, Writopia Lab, Construction Kids, The Fashion Class, Robofun, Winter Wildlife

Starting Friday, December 21 (or even earlier for private school students), New York City kids are in for a nice, long holiday break. Parents, not so much—especially if you need to work on many of the days the kids are off from school. Luckily, NYC has plenty of holiday camps to keep children entertained while you head to the office, to the grocery store or to the spa (hey, it could happen).

Although in past posts we've lumped different kinds of school break camps together, from arts to athletics to academics, this time around we're focusing specifically on enrichment programs, where kids can get hands-on experience in robotics, chess, fashion, foreign languages and even construction. Some of the camps sound so cool, we wish they took grown-ups. You can find even more December break camps and other seasonal fun in our Holiday Guide.

NYChess Kids Mini Camp – Murray Hill
PS 116, 210 East 33rd Street between Second and Third Avenues
Wednesday, December 26-Friday, December 28 9am-5pm; half-day morning and afternoon sessions available.
$85 per full day, $55 per half day
Ages 4 and up
Chess players of all levels, even beginners, are welcome at this mini-camp, where kids will hone their skills, attend lectures and, of course, play lots of games. Save $10 per full day if you enroll before Wednesday, December 12.

NYChess Kids Exclusive Workshop with Master Teachers – Chelsea
NYChess Kids Learning Center, 191 Seventh Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets
Session 1: Wednesday, December 26-Friday December 28; Session 2: Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4 9am-1:30pm
$100 per day, $270 per session
Ages 4 and up
For more advanced players, NYChess Kids is hosting half-day intensives at its recently opened learning center. During the three-day sessions, participants will play two supervised games of chess in small groups organized by age and ability, and also attend two lectures. Save $10 per full day if you enroll before Wednesday, December 12.

Writopia Lab: Camp Next Step – Upper West Side
155 West 81st Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues
Session 1: Wednesday, December 26-Friday, December 28; Session 2: Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4
10am-3pm
Ages 6-18
$560 per session; sliding-scale tuition available for those who qualify
Published pros help school-age kids hone their writing skills at this award-winning program. Ultimately, participants will submit their work to various contests, including the upcoming Scholastic Writing Awards.

Full Day LEGO Robotics Workshop – Upper West Side
RoboFun Studio, 2672 Broadway between 101st and 102nd Streets
Friday, December 21, Thursday, December 27, Friday, December 28, Monday, December 31 and Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4 9am-4pm
$160 per day
Ages 6-12
We're longtime fans of RoboFun's programs. Kids will improve their science and math skills while building moving LEGO robots. Lunch and snacks will be eaten at a local playground, weather permitting.

Winter Wildlife at Bronx Zoo – the Bronx
2300 Southern Boulevard
Thursday, December 27-Friday, December 28 10:30am-3pm
$140
Ages 5-12
Campers are grouped by age and learn all about cold climate critters like red pandas, brown bears and Siberian tigers. Kids will get plenty of face time with the animals and play a variety of winter games.

Winter Zoo Camp at Central Park Zoo – Upper East Side
Fifth Avenue and 64th Street inside Central Park
Thursday, December 27-Friday, December 28 10am-3pm
$175
Ages 6-10
More animal fun: Kids get an in-depth look at the zoo's residents during behind-the-scenes tours, and spend classroom time with live animals.

Winter Zoo Camp at Prospect Park Zoo – Prospect Park
450 Flatbush Avenue
Thursday, December 27-Friday, December 28 10am-3pm
$150
Ages 6-10
Young animal lovers explore the zoo and its residents via hands-on activities such as scavenger hunts, animal encounters and art projects.

Winter Mini Camp at Queens Zoo – Flushing
53-51 111th Street
Wednesday, December 26-Thursday, December 27 10am-3pm
$150
Ages 5-9
Naturalists enjoy behind-the-scenes tours and craft projects.

ConstructionKids Open Workshops – Brooklyn Navy Yard
Building 92, Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Avenue near 4th Street
Session 1: Wednesday, December 26-Friday, December 28; Session 2: Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4, 9am-4:30-pm
$150 for one day; $100 per day for two or more days
Ages 5-9
Young builders participate in hands-on projects using real hammers and nails, and other tools of the trade. Campers work on their own and also collaborate on group projects.

The Language Workshop for Children – Upper East Side
888 Lexington Avenue at 66th Street
Session 1: Monday, December 24 and Wednesday, December 26-Friday, December 28; Session 2: Monday, December 31 and Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4 9am-noon
$75 per day
Ages 3-7
Drop off the tots to learn French or Spanish in these mornings-only immersion workshops that include supervised play, games, baking, arts and crafts, and storytime.

The Fashion Class Holiday Break Mini Camp – Midtown West
21 West 39th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
Session 1: December 27-Friday, December 28 and Monday, December 31; Session 2: Wednesday, January 2-Friday, January 4 9am-5pm
$350
Ages 6-13
Budding fashionistas hone their illustration and sewing skills, go on fashion-themed field trips, meet professional designers and more. The sessions culminate in a show where the kids show off their designs.

Find more seasonal activities in our Holiday Fun Guide.

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