Financial District

Awesome Specialty Summer Camps for NYC Kids

Here in New York City, finding a summer camp for your kiddo isn't the hard part. It's picking one from all of the awesome options that's tough!

If you're looking to narrow your search, specialty camps are the perfect way to fuel your kid's passion or even help them hone in on a new hobby. For science- and tech-lovers, there are a number of STEM/STEAM camps, teaching everything from artificial intelligence and 3-D printing, to marine biology and wood working. Aspiring athletes can get in on a game of soccer or gaga ball at a sports-centered camp, or try their hand at figure skating or parkour. There's even Chinese language instruction for budding linguists, performing arts camps for kids who love the spotlight, programs that take your tiny historian back in time, and even hands-on cooking camps for the littlest foodies.

With half-day and full-day options, and sessions ranging from one week to the entire summer, there's truly something for everyone. Take a look at some much-loved specialty camps below, and browse our New York City Camp Guide for even more options.

Robots, Rockets, and Explosions Wow Kids at NORY STEM Camps

Summer is a time when kids should be trying new things, asking crazy questions, and exploring wild possibilities, even if it sometimes means failing along the way. At least that’s what the two dads who founded NORY believe.

NORY is a summer camp for New York City’s youngest innovators. Kids ages 3-12 can sign up for STEM-focused programs with weekly themes that are totally worth geeking out over, like wood working, kitchen science, and chemical engineering and explosions. The 5 to 1 ratio of curious campers to inspiring instructors helps to keep kids totally engrossed in the hands-on curriculum. And it’s clearly doing the trick, because the popular camp is expanding to three main campuses in FiDi, Midtown East, and the Upper West Side this year.

The South Street Seaport Museum: Tall Ships and NYC Beginnings

Looking for something unique to do with your family on the weekend in Lower Manhattan?

Stop by the gem of a historic spot, the South Street Seaport Museum—a place every New Yorker should visit at least once. Housed in New York’s southern-most seaport, this spot tells the story of how New York’s harbor gave rise to the metropolis we know and love today. After a major restoration post-Hurricane Sandy, the museum is back in action and ready to educate and entertain family members of all ages through tours, activities, workshops, and special events.

Read about other great exhibits for NYC kids in our Museum Guide.

Summer Camps for Kids with Special Needs in the NYC area

It's tough to find the right summer camp for any kid. But if your child has special needs, like autism or ADHD, sensory-motor challenges, social anxiety, or learning differences, choosing a program can be especially nerve-racking: we want our kids to enjoy a traditional summer-camp experience, complete with swimming and lanyards and new friendships, while also receiving the kind of individual attention they need and with the option to avoid activities that might cause undue stress.

We've rounded up a number of camps favored by NYC families for their kids with disabilities or other challenges. Camps outside of New York City and on Staten Island provide bussing, so don't be discouraged by the seemingly far-flung locations: it can be especially therapeutic for kids to get out of the city for the summer.

While most of these camps cater exclusively to special-needs children, other traditional summer camps often offer inclusion programs for those with mild special needs (a few are mentioned below). Please consult our Summer Camp Guide for NYC Kids for a list of our favorite summer camps across the city to see if there are any that might work for your child.

20 Indoor Places Where NYC Kids Play for Free

We're staring down another long Northeast winter, and entertaining the kids during this long, chilly season isn't easy or cheap. Throw in a cramped New York City apartment and a shortage of vitamin D and of course, everyone is eyeing the exit. Luckily, in NYC some of the best things in life are FREE (really).

If your kids are bouncing off the walls and your wallet is screaming for a break after all the holidays, we've got you covered. Check out our list of 20 FREE indoor destinations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island for fun, games, or just a much-needed change of scenery.

For more great indoor places, check out our Indoor Family Fun Guide which is loaded with all-ages drop-in spots.

12 NYC Food Courts and Markets That Make Family Mealtime Easy

Food courts, in spite of their mall­-culture reputation, are enjoying a bit of a renaissance, and not just in suburbia. Right here in NYC, food halls are gaining major foodie clout with excellent vendors, artisan marketplaces, and appealing perks (and sweet treats) for families with kids. Actually a food court might just be the perfect eatery for families: there's a food option for everyone, minimal wait times, multiple bathrooms, and no one notices if your kid tantrums or drops half their meal on the floor.

Because we're always on the lookout for great kid-­friendly outings, especially during the colder months, we've rounded up, and sampled, 12 outstanding food halls that offer top-notch eats, spacious seating, and lots to do in the surrounding neighborhood, including Battery Park, Chelsea, the Theater District, and Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for even more family dining options in just about every neighborhood—and every finicky palate. 

Léman Manhattan Launches a New "Grown-Up and Me" Toddler Program

Léman Manhattan Preparatory School has been serving preschoolers in downtown Manhattan for the past twelve years, but parents of even littler learners will be happy to hear there's a brand new toddler program in town. Developed by the school's experienced early childhood educators, Léman Explorers is a “grown-up and me” class that aims to give children ages 16 months to 3 years old the skills and confidence they need for preschool and beyond.

Birthing Centers in NYC: Where to Find Them

Pregnant New Yorkers often seek out their OB or midwife based a few key factors, including where that doctor delivers babies. You might sort through hospital c-section rates, get recommendations from your local mom group, and check various doctor reviews and ratings before narrowing down your list. But if you're looking for birthing center, the choices in NYC are more limited, though a small handful of venues do exist in both Brooklyn and Manhattan.

Birthing centers provide a more home-like environment, where moms-to-be are given the encouragement to labor in their own way, free from medical intervention. There is often a tub available as water is known to ease labor pains, full-size beds, and more perks to make mom more comfortable. It can be a great option for those not ready for a home birth, nor interested in a traditional hospital childbirth. Just know that birthing centers don’t offer epidurals, so you'll need to come to terms with that idea early on.

We’ve rounded up the birthing centers currently serving New York City, including both freestanding and in-hospital centers.

Ice Cream Bucket List: 10 Over-the-Top Shops To Try This Summer

Ah, August in the city! You've probably got your routine down pat at this point: art exhibits, subway-accessible beaches, and Summer Streets are all regulars in your summer schedule. As are trips for cool treats. If your neighborhood ice cream shop is feeling a tad too familiar at this point in the summer, it's time to step it up—and step it out of your 'hood.

We’ve rounded up 10 over-the-top ice cream establishments that are a little more under the radar than say Black Tap, but are the perfect way for you and your kids to enjoy before summer's over. Get ready to be blown away (and say goodbye to Mister Softee, for now): There’s rolled ice cream, innovative soft serve, make-it-yourself ice cream, and cutting-edge ice cream sandwiches. Go forth and enjoy, and check out our NYC Restaurant Guide for more great family eats.

Indoor Swimming Pools in NYC That Offer Day Passes

There are plenty of FREE swimming pools in NYC for kids during the summer months, but if you're looking for year-round options, or less crowded waters, the options are a bit limited. We've rounded up the best bets, from private pools offering day passes, to off-the-beaten-path community spots. All are kid friendly and welcome families for swimming and other water fun.

Read on for where to get swimming in NYC now, and don't forget to check out how to score FREE swim lessons in the city, too.


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