New York City public schools are closed Presidents Day week for midwinter break, and a lot of kids (like ours) are already counting down the days. You could take a mini-vacation, or do a day trip to a nearby ski resort, snow tubing spot or indoor water park. There's just one problem: While the kids get a break, many grown-ups still have to work.
Luckily, lots of NYC spots offer February break camps where kids can pursue all kinds of interests, from athletics to arts to academics. Some programs offer full coverage throughout the week; others are only a few hours a day in case you just want to get the kids out of the house for a bit. And while some of these camps are expensive, we've included lower-priced programs that sound like great deals. One is even free!
Spring Art Colony – Hudson Square
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street between Hudson and Washington Streets
The museum offers a pair of midwinter break programs at its fabulous space. Camps will also be held during the various private and public school spring breaks, too.
JCC Winter Camp: NYC Adventures – Upper West Side
334 Amsterdam Avenue at 76th Street
Ages 4 and up
Campers will spend four days exploring all the city has to offer with field trips to museums. Downtime will be spent at the JCC.
TADA! Musical Theater Camps – Chelsea
15 West 28th Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway
Aspiring Broadway hoofers work with theater pros to create a mini-musical, which is performed on the final day.
HiArt Crazie Mazie Holiday Art Camp – Chelsea
227 West 29th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues
Creative kids can enjoy all kinds of art experiences, including drawing manga and anime, painting, doing mixed media, making sculptures and visiting local galleries.
Guggenheim Midwinter Break Camp – Upper East Side
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue
Kids will explore the museum's works and then create their own sculptures, paintings, collages and digital media pieces.
Art House Astoria – Astoria
23-35 Broadway between 23rd and Crescent Streets
This nonprofit music and art conservatory offers kids a chance to get creative over break. Divided into two groups (ages 6-9 and 10-15), campers get to sing in the choir, write prose and poetry, do yoga and art, and even watch a short movie.
NYChess Kids Camp – Murray Hill & the Upper West Side
PS 116, 210 East 33rd Street between Second and Third Avenues
The Anderson School, 100 West 77th Street between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues
Ages 4 and up
Chess players of all levels, even beginners, are welcome at this camp. Kids will hone their skills, attend lectures and, of course, play lots of games. There will also be sports and snack breaks.
Winter Science Camp: Plant Pioneer – the Bronx
New York Botanical Garden, 2900 Southern Boulevard
This brand-new camp at the NYBG is a great deal and also sounds like a lot of fun. The week's focus is legendary botanist, scientist and inventor George Washington Carver. Kids will participate in plant experiments, hands-on activities, and do science games and crafts on the garden's beautiful grounds.
Midwinter Wildlife Mini Camp at the Queens Zoo – Corona
53-51 111th Street
Young animal lovers can spend two days behind the scenes at the zoo, enjoying face time with the residents, hearing cultural animal stories from across the world, making nature crafts and exploring how animals stay warm.
Robotics & Video Game Animation Camp – Upper West Side
RoboFun Studio, 2672 Broadway near 102nd Street
We're big fans of RoboFun's programs. Kids work on LEGO Robotics in the morning and video game designs in the afternoon using special computer software.
Camp Intrepid – Midtown West
Pier 86, Twelfth Avenue at 46th Street
February break means Kids Week at the Intrepid is back! Although this program is open to the public, campers get first dibs on all the fun. The theme for this year's camp is focused around flight and space exploration.
Global Cooking Camp – Chelsea
Taste Buds, 109 West 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues
Kids will take a trip around the world without leaving the city in this camp as they explore different spices from various regions of the globe.
Chelsea Piers Holiday Sports Camps – Chelsea
23rd Street and the Hudson River
The massive athletics complex offers a few different programs over midwinter break.
Junior Golf Camp
Participants enjoy individualized golf instruction in a group environment, and get to hit the driving range and the simulators.
Multi-Sport Camp and Gymnastics Camp
In the Multi-Sport Camp, kids play soccer, baseball, handball and basketball, as well as bowling, skating and rock climbing. In the Gymnastics Camp, children hone their skills on the facility's state-of-the-art equipment.
Toilet-trained preschoolers can opt for this half-day program, where they get to try a variety of activities including rock climbing, art, soccer and dance.
Asphalt Green – Upper East Side & Battery Park City
555 East 90th Street between York and East End Avenues
212 North End Avenue
These athletic centers groups kids by age (4-5, 6-7 and 8-12) and let them play all kinds of sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball, gymnastics and go swimming.
Super Soccer Stars – Manhattan and Brooklyn
Whether your young Pele is just starting out or wants to bend it like Beckham, soccer camp is a great way to keep the kids entertained while burning off all their energy. This popular program offers a number of different options at various locations, including the Upper East and West Sides, Brooklyn and Tribeca.
Ages 2 1/2-5
Young athletes learn basic soccer techniques and also enjoy arts and crafts and free play.
Kick It Camp
Older kids can develop their soccer skills and play friendly games.
Aviator Sports & Events Center Holiday Break Camps – Marine Park
Kids can have all kinds of athletic fun at this massive Brooklyn facility. Ice-skating, soccer, basketball and gymnastics are just some of what's on tap.
General Interest Camps
Parks Department Learn to Swim Camp – Citywide
Ages 6 to 13
Learn to Swim Camps are held at rec centers with indoor pools. The program runs two hours each day. There's a list of locations on the website and you must enroll in person.
ACT Holiday Camp – Morningside Heights
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
Ages 5 to 12
One of the least expensive camps in Manhattan, this program is a great deal (and it's actually where one of our staffers, Raven, sends her daughter). Kids enjoy arts and crafts, cooking, reading and playing right under the iconic Cathedral (or on the grounds, weather permitting).
Manhattan Youth – February Fun Vacation Camp – Tribeca
Housed in PS 89, but open to all kids, this general interest camp features sports, crafts, theater, swimming and other fun. Tuition includes breakfast, lunch and a snack.
For other great things to do over midwinter break, check out our Indoor Activity Guide and our Winter Fun Guide.
This post originally published in January 2012.