If you have a child who's interested in science and math, you may already be familiar with the incredible STEM programs available to kids around New York City. The great thing about many of these programs is they encourage creativity and experimentation—two pillars of childhood fun, and great motivators that support learning outside a school environment. Read on for awesome exploration-based STEM programs for New York City kids focusing on science, math, technology, and creativity.
At Brooklyn Robot Foundry, kids make circuits, lamps, toy cars, gadgets...and, oh yeah, robots!
Brooklyn Robot Foundry — Locations in Tribeca, the Upper East Side, Park Slope, and Downtown Brooklyn
Don't be fooled by the name: This funky and fun-loving Brooklyn-based STEM learning program goes way beyond "just" robots (and way beyond Brooklyn, with its Tribeca and Upper East Side outposts), and offers all kinds of projects to get kids excited about mechanics and technology. Students create things like light-up friendship necklaces, solar towers, or even a robot with a light-up nose. Classes start as young as 18 months with its "Tiny Builders" workshops, and it offers adult classes, too. Its creative look at mechanics and art, as well as an engaging staff, have made it a parent (and kid) favorite for six years running.
iD Tech – Multiple locations in Manhattan and Queens
This long-standing NYC favorite offers STEM workshops and courses in coding, robotics, game design, and more for kids 7 and up. Experienced tech professionals lead summer and after-school classes for kids who love tech, in a hands-on, collaborative, and focused environment.
Kidville — Multiple Locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx
Kidville offers tons of different enrichment programs, including music, art, and dance, and like a lot of its classes, its STEM offerings begin at age 2. The focus of projects is curiosity: From solar systems to magnets to simple machines, there are tons of juicy topics for kids to dig into. Activities are hands-on, and allow kids to create and build based on each subject. And thanks to the rapid growth of the Kidville franchise, there's a good chance you live relatively close by.
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An excitement for learning is the goal at Launch Math and Science Centers.
Launch Math and Science Centers — Multiple Manhattan Locations
Launch Math and Science Center's philosophy is a motivation to learn is the greatest tool for success. Its programs are based on the idea that if we can get children excited about learning, they will excel. From toddler to tween, there's a program for every stage of childhood, covering topics like archeology, coding, machines, and even the science of sports. What's more, its methods get results, including a 70% increase in math fluency (plus, an immeasurable increase in fun when it comes to mathematics and science!).
NY Kids Club — Multiple Locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens
NY Kids Club also offers a long list of engaging STEM classes for kids as young as 1. The great thing about NY Kids Club is it has locations all over the city, so no matter where you live, you won't have to travel far to get your hands dirty with some awesome engineering and science projects. One of its classes explores architecture and engineering and the ways functionality and design work together. These topics are all approached with young kids in mind, so the material is hands-on, easy to understand, and engaging.
Pixel Academy — Brooklyn Heights and Tribeca
At Pixel Academy, the motto is to "learn by doing." By combining creativity and imagination with technology, classes allow kids to explore, interact, and tackle STEM projects in a fun, focused environment. Kids are encouraged to work together, with instructors emphasizing the importance of collaboration and social interaction in STEM activities. It definitely doesn't feel like school, but children will learn about topics like geometry (through 3D modeling), spelling (through coding), and storytelling (through game design).
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At Robofun, kids are involved in every stage of their project.
Robofun — Upper West Side
For even more robot interaction and STEM-based projects, Robofun is an excellent, educational option. Here, kids of all ages take the lead on every phase of their project from research through completion. Starting with Pre-K kids working with Duplo blocks, kids work their way up to advanced concepts like stop-motion animation, coding, and circuits.
Tiny Scientist — Park Slope, Brooklyn
Programs at the Tiny Scientist introduce kids to the wonders of math, science...and hissing cockroaches. Mr. Bigs and his family of Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches calmly observe from their terrarium while students from Pre-K through 5th grade get down to the business of experimenting! The class offerings at "TiSci" link science with the world around us and allow kids to see real-world applications of scientific concepts. Some classes bring kids outside with magnifying glasses, and turn nearby Prospect Park into their own personal classroom. Kids can examine the ways marshmallows teach us about centrifugal force, or how smashing eggs on the ground teaches us about gravity. Learning and mess-making go hand-in-hand at this gem of a STEM lab.
Photos courtesy of the venues.
This post is updated annually.