In our melting pot of a city, kids are exposed to lots of different languages, and the summer is a great time for children to try to pick up a new one. Whether your child yearns to master Chinese, French, German, Italian or Spanish, New York City is home to lots of language immersion summer camps. You won't find textbooks at these programs. Instead, kids experience the usual seasonal fun—swimming, sports, arts—in their non-native tongue. The instructors and counselors are all fluent and not only teach kids the language, they expose them to the culture, too. Here are seven language immersion summer day camps that will have your kids saying hola, bonjour or ciao in no time.
HudsonWay Immersion School Summer Camp – Upper West Side
175 Riverside Boulevard between 68th and 69th Streets?
Formerly known as Bilingual Buds, this Upper West Side school's summer program takes campers on a journey to a different region each week while learning the language from native Mandarin or Spanish speakers. Children not only learn the language, but also the culture of the the regions they explore. In 2014, the camp even sponsored a trip abroad to really bring Chinese language and culture home to some of its families.
Pusteblume International Preschool Camp – Chelsea
244 West 14th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
Campers pick either German or Spanish and learn the language through age-appropriate themes each summer. In 2015, students immersed themselves in their chosen language and learned all about it and circus culture, exploring themes like circus animals, circus art, circus foot and circus art and makeup.
La Petite Ecole – Upper West Side & Tribeca
159 West 82nd Street at Amsterdam Avenue
45 White Street between Broadway and Church Street
At LPE, campers learn French via sightseeing and art-related field trips throughout the city. Other activities include cooking, singing, outdoor and water play.
Bonjour NY French Summer Camp – Carroll Gardens & the Upper West Side
PS 58, 330 Smith Street at First Place
PS 84, 32 West 92nd Street between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West
Weeks are based around themes such as La Légende de Paris or Les Chevaliers de la Table Ronde at this full-day French immersion camp. Activities include lots of outdoor play, art, games, sports and local field trips.
Collina Italiana – Upper East Side
1556 Third Avenue at 87th Street
Kids learn Italian through a variety of programs like Giochiamo in Italiano (Italian language through play), Cinema Italiano and Piccolo Teatro (acting in Italian). Campers can attend two, three or five days per week.
LIU Brooklyn Children's Academy – Fort Greene
1 University Place between DeKalb and Flatbush Avenues
While younger kids learn Mandarin or Spanish through play, songs and stories, 7- to 12-year-olds receive a more traditional camp experience that doesn't include a foreign language. Since LIU has a great pool, all participants get lots of swim time.
Language Immersion Camp at ISB – Brooklyn Heights
477 Court Street at Nelson Street
With French and Spanish camps, the International School of Brooklyn caters to all levels of language learners, giving beginners a chance to learn a completely new language, while more advanced students get a chance to practice their skills with peers.
Find out about other awesome kids' programs in our NYC Summer Camp Guide.
This post originally published in March 2013.