School holidays seem to pile up this time of the year. You've just gotten back into your routine following February break and it's already time to plan for NYC's spring break, which in 2016 runs from Monday, April 25 through Friday, April 29 for public school kids (and many preschools). Whether your kid wants to spend his or her break performing center stage or honing sports skills, or is obsessed with all things STEM—or all of the the above—New York City seemingly has a camp for every interest. In fact, we've rounded up 27 NYC camps across the five boroughs that are open for spring break and many other school holidays.
Looking for more spring activities? Check out our Spring NYC Guide. Or check out our Summer Camp Guide if you're planning for summer's much longer school break!
This is a sampling of the school holiday camps available around NYC. It's always worth checking with your local drop-in or membership-based play space or other neighborhood kid spot to see what's on offer.
Be sure to click through to the camps' official sites for more details, including hours and pricing.
Academic Enrichment Camps
Adventures in Science at AMNH – Upper West Side
79th Street at Central Park West
Children are introduced to a range of science topics at these American Museum of Natural History camps. Kids are divided into grade-level groups to explore topics such as ocean invertebrates, the anatomy of an explosion and creatures of the reef. Selections change with every break, so there's always something new to explore.
Backpacks + Binoculars – Downtown Brooklyn
NY City Explorers, 110 Schermerhorn Street at Boerum Place
The brainchild of NY City Explorers, this program brings kids to one iconic NYC destination each day. The spring break camp's theme is Ultimate Explorer Favorites. It takes campers on a playground tour, to the Intrepid, Bronx Zoo, New York Hall of Science and on a hike through the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge.
Brooklyn Robot Foundry — Tribeca & Gowanus
Tribeca, 72 Warren Street, Manhattan
Gowanus, 303 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
Springs spring eternal at this camp, where robot creations abound with the springy parts, such as a glow-in-the-dark robot with arms made of springs and an electronic Jack-in-the-Box.
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Campers at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum explore the site's permanent exhibits as well as design their own.
Camp Intrepid – Midtown West
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, West 46th Street and 12th Avenue
Head to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum to spend a week immersed in the new exhibit City At Sea, which looks at the history of the Intrepid as a wartime ship and the 3,000 crew members who called it home at any one time. Campers also learn about the behind-the-scenes effort put into creating the exhibit and take a stab at designing their own museum exhibit with this newfound knowledge.
Popular Brooklyn after-school spot ConstructionKids offers a different building project each day. Photo by Paul Takeuchi.
ConstructionKids — Brooklyn Navy Yard
Building 92, Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Avenue
This popular after-school program offers full-day camps on most public school holidays. The day ends at 4pm, but extended care is offered for an extra fee.
Launch — Upper West Side, Tribeca
173 West 81st Street at Amsterdam Avenue
27 N. Moore Street at Varick Street
Pre-K through third graders
Launch keeps its weeklong STEM-camp's class size small for school vacations (max of eight kids) while kids as young as four explore engineering, space, robotics and other topics through hands-on activities. It divides the camp into two age groups: pre-K through K and first through third grade. The youngest attend a shorter day, while the older ones run until 2pm.
NYChessKids Camp – Chelsea
191 Seventh Avenue at 21st Street
Ages 4 and older
Chess players of all levels, even beginners, are welcome at this program, where kids hone their skills, attend lectures and, of course, play lots of games. You don't need to be a master to enjoy it: My son has attended NYChess Kids camps several times; he's had a blast and improved his game to boot. The program recently added some variety to its offerings: Days now include art, Legos and music in addition to the namesake game, though kids can choose to spend their days focused on just one activity.
Pixel Academy — Financial District
Pine Street School, 25 Pine Street between William and Nassau
Learn the fundamentals of 3D design and print objects for future space travelers at this makerspace over spring break. Join Pixel Academy for the Future Engineers, Star Trek and NASA Replicator Challenge all week for some hands-on, 21st-century 3D digital learning and take home a futuristic print of your own. There are breaks for physical activities and lunch, which is included in tuition. Day ends at 2:30pm but extended care offered for an extra fee.
RoboFun – Upper West Side
2672 Broadway near 102nd Street
RoboFun is a favorite of Mommy Poppins' founder Anna's son. Students in kindergarten through sixth grades build working LEGO robots in the morning and work on video game design in the afternoon.
Taste Buds Kitchen — Chelsea
109 West 27th Street at Sixth Avenue
Little foodies can get their game on at Chefs Cook Off Camp. Taste Buds is offering two half day programs during break where kids can participate in culinary challenges like the ones they see on their favorite cooking shows. 4-8 year olds compete in the morning and older kids get the afternoon.
Spring Mini Camp at the Queens Zoo – Corona, Queens
53-51 111th Street at 53rd Avenue
Young animal lovers spend four days behind the scenes at the zoo as the residents get ready for spring. Campers enjoy face time with the animals, make crafts and explore the natural world.
Zoofari at the Staten Island Zoo – West Brighton
Students in pre-K through first grade spend a week behind the scenes at the Staten Island Zoo. Kids experience up-close animal encounters, go on special tours and take a spin on the carousel.
Asphalt Green – Upper East Side and Battery Park City
Upper East Side, 555 East 90th Street, between York and East End Avenues
Battery Park City, 212 North End Avenue, between Murray and Warren Streets
This popular pair of athletic complexes groups kids by age (4-5, 6-7 and 8-12) and lets them play all kinds of sports, including soccer, baseball, basketball and gymnastics. Campers also spend time swimming.
Aviator Sports & Events Center Holiday Break Camps – Marine Park, Brooklyn
Floyd Bennett Field, 3159 Flatbush Avenue
Kids can have all kinds of athletic fun at this massive Brooklyn facility. Ice skating, rock climbing, soccer, basketball, gymnastics, arts and crafts and film screenings are just some of what's on tap. Lunch and a light snack are provided.
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Try out gymnastics at Chelsea Piers’ camp where kids work to master age-appropriate skills.
Chelsea Piers Holiday Sports Camps – Chelsea
23rd Street and Hudson River Park
The massive athletic complex offers a variety of specialized sports camps throughout the year, though its April break is limited to its popular gymnastics camp, where children hone their skills on the facility's state-of-the-art equipment. There's also a half-day program for the preschool set and early and late care options for older siblings.
Kids of Summer Sports – Upper West Side
Riverside Park, Fields at West 103rd Street; indoor location at the PS 75, 95th Street at West End Avenue
In the morning campers test out their baseball skills, while afternoons bring dodgeball, soccer and basketball drills. In the event of bad weather, the camp moves to nearby PS 75.
Learn-to-Swim Vacation Camps – Citywide
Visit the website for a complete schedule.
Although this isn't a full-day option, the NYC Parks Department's free weeklong swimming program is a great way to keep kids active at no cost during the break. Lessons run two hours each day and there's a list of locations on the website. Contact your local recreation center of choice to enroll.
The Baseball Center NYC — Upper West Side
202 West 74th Street
Little sluggers can hit this popular baseball venue whenever public schools are closed. Campers hone their skills performing drills and swinging in the batting cages. Half-day options are available and full-day pickup is at 3pm.
At Brooklyn Arts Exchange, it's truly a variety show with kids trying out activities like dance, circus skills and tumbling.
Performing and Visual Arts Camps
Brooklyn Arts Exchange School Breaks Art Programs – Park Slope
421 Fifth Avenue, near Eighth Street
Each day, campers explore a different theme—from spring has sprung, to time travelers and urban safari—through visual and performing arts workshops led by BAX educators. Register for a single day or the whole week.
The Children's Museum of the Arts Spring Art Colony camp goes beyond at-home crafting, letting kids create, present and keep cool interactive art projects.
Spring Art Colony – Hudson Square
Children’s Museum of the Arts, 103 Charlton Street, between Hudson and Washington Streets
The museum offers two spring break programs at its state-of-the-art space. The first focuses on an interactive art installation created and presented in the media lab. The second allows kids to make a book, cover to cover, and present it to the group at week's end or keep it private for its future role as a secret journal.
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 that is performed for an audience of families on the final day.
The Fashion Class campers experience fashion life from creating the illustration to walking the runway.
The Fashion Class — Midtown West
21 West 39th Street
Kids get a crash course in sewing and designing and even walk the runway at this fashionista camp. A field trip to the Museum of FIT is on tap. Projects change daily, making it great for returning campers.
ACT Holiday Camp – Morningside Heights
Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue at 112th Street
Kids enjoy arts and crafts, cooking, reading and playing under the iconic cathedral (or on the grounds, weather permitting). Field trips to the Central Park or Bronx zoos, a hike, crafts and sports are on tap.
Bronx House – the Bronx
990 Pelham Parkway South at Hone Avenue
Kids enjoy a mixture of trips to popular museums as well as plenty of on-site swimming, sports and arts and crafts.
Greenwich House – Greenwich Village
27 Barrow Street, near Seventh Avenue South
A community institution, Greenwich House's camp features artistic activities, field trips, games and sports.
Get a jump on the summer swimming season by splashing around at Manhattan Youth school holiday camp.
Manhattan Youth: School Holiday Camp – Tribeca
PS 89, 201 Warren Street and 120 Warren Street, between North End Avenue and Greenwich Street
Though campers split their time between PS 89 and the Downtown Community Center, this camp is open to all kids and offers sports, crafts, theater, swimming and other fun.
Mini Camp at the Kings Bay Y – Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
Kings Bay Y at Windsor Terrace, 1224 Prospect Avenue at Vanderbilt Street
Kids at this local Y camp create art and films, work on greening projects, play music and sports, cook, swim and go on local field trips.
Riverdale YM-YWHA – Riverdale, the Bronx
5625 Arlington Avenue, near Netherland Avenue
This Y camp offers themed activities, specialty classes and swimming, keeping your kids entertained with physical fun, plus Lego Robotics, arts and crafts and field trips.
Top image: Gymnasts ages 3 years old and up get a workout during the gymnastics camp at Chelsea Piers’ Field House. All photos in this article provided courtesy the respective venues.