NYC Opens Applications For FREE Summer STEAM Programs

Choose from a wide range of STEAM programs during the STEAM Matters summer programs. Photo courtesy of the NYC DOE
Choose from a wide range of STEAM programs during the STEAM Matters summer programs. Photo courtesy of the NYC DOE

New York City has opened applications for its Summer STEM Matters NYC program, which includes FREE STEAM summer camps for elementary school students and hands-on internships and classes for high schoolers. Don't delay: Applications for all programs are due Tuesday, April 19, 2022. The popular annual summer day camps are available to NYC kids entering kindergarten through ninth grade in September. Students entering grades 10-12 can apply for STEM courses and internships.

The programs occur at more than a dozen popular NYC institutions known for STEAM programming, including popular family-friendly spots like the Bronx Zoo, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, the Queens Botanical Garden, and more museums, gardens, zoos, and maker spaces. Public, charter, and home school students in NYC may all apply.

Read on for all the details on the STEM Matters NYC program. Find more summer camps in New York City, including our picks for free and affordable summer camps, in our Summer Camp Guide and Camp Directory, where you can search for summer camps by type, age, and neighborhood.

The STEM Matters summer camps run between Tuesday, July 5, and Friday, August 19 in one-week intervals, while high school courses run for two weeks. Read on for full details on each program.

Students in the one-week STEAM Matters camps are placed at institutions all over the city, including the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo, Staten Island Zoo, UrbanGlass, Wave Hill, and more.

The NYC Department of Education describes activities, dates, and appropriate grade levels for each camp, which enroll children entering kindergarten through grade nine, on its STEAM Matters page. Little learners can explore programs like Animal Olympics at the Staten Island Zoo, tweens can become SEAvengers at the New York Aquarium in Brooklyn, and incoming high schoolers can choose from Gravity Camp, Zoo Keepers in Training, or Caring for Creatures. Most of the camps begin at 9am and end at 3pm.

RELATED: FREE and Cheap Summer Camps in NYC for Kids


Interact with the animals at various zoo-hosted camps! Photo by Julie Larsen Maher for WCS

Students are selected by lottery, and thousands of applications are expected for a small number of seats. Make sure your camper is with you when you're ready to apply; they must answer a couple of questions about why they're interested in a particular camp. Applicants are allotted only one week of camp to ensure more kids have the opportunity to attend.

Transportation is not provided, but MetroCards are available for students. Campers must bring their lunch and snacks. Daily health screenings are required for all campers, too.

Apply online by Tuesday, April 19, 2022. There is no fee to apply, and it took us about 20 minutes to complete our application. Questions should be directed to STEMMattersNYC@schools.nyc.gov.

In addition to the one-week camps, high school students entering grades 10-12 are eligible for two-week courses and internships. These programs utilize the same application but are not lottery-based. Instead, a committee reviews individual applications, grades, and an interview may be required of finalists.

Courses include two-week programs at the Urban Farm in Battery Park, community rowing club Rocking the Boat in the Bronx, UrbanGlass in Downtown Brooklyn, and Futureworks MakerSpace in the Brooklyn Army Terminal. Internships are available at the Genovesi Environmental Study Center and NYC Center for Aerospace and Applied Mathematics. Genovesi internships run on select dates all summer long, while the NYCCAAM internship is a two-week program.

Need more summer enrichment options? Check out these other NYC STEM summer camps or peruse these other FREE or inexpensive NYC summer camps.

This story is updated annually.

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