For some kids, math and science skills don't get much of a workout during the summer, unless it's counting underwater breaths in the swimming pool or adding up sports scores. For other kids, the end of school is met with sighs rather than cheers, and they would happily spend their days doing algebra or designing a robot. We've rounded up summer camps and programs that will hopefully not only send your kid back to school in September with sharper skills but also give them a new appreciation for math in the world around us.
Find more options in our Summer Camp Guide and Directory.
Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics (BEAM) – New York City and upstate NY
Bard College: 30 Campus Road, Annandale-on-Hudson
Other locations TBD
Ages seventh and eighth grades (rising)
At this FREE summer sleepaway camp, 40 rising eighth-grade students who are fascinated by math and want to challenge themselves spend three weeks living on a rural college campus, solving problems and learning skills not generally covered in most middle schools, like number theory, combinatorics, astrophysics, and computer programming. Other activities include sports, dance, baking, and field trips. The camp is aimed at low-income kids who might not otherwise have access to advanced math opportunities. Free bussing to and from the camp is also provided. BEAM6 will also welcome rising seventh graders to a city-based day camp; details to be released.
Launch Math + Science Centers Summer Camps – Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Tribeca
173 West 81st Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues)
805 Columbus Avenue (between 99th and 100th Streets)
30 West 68th Street (between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West)
351 East 74th Street (between Second and First Avenues)
124 Hudson Street (between Beach and North Moore Streets)
Ages 4–13 (ages vary by location)
Children at Launch's STEM-based one-week camps tackle projects that couch math and science skills in a fun, project-based curriculum: kids make robots, experiment with chemistry (a.k.a. "potions"), design video games, learn coding and animation, and explore aerospace engineering and rocket science. The daily schedule alternates between low- and high-energy outdoor and indoor STEM activities and other projects; the littlest campers also have daily breaks for play and snacks.
New York Math Circle — West Village
251 Mercer Street
Ages ninth through twelfth grades
This is a three-week program for high school students interested in exploring math and developing their skills beyond the typical school curriculum. NYMC emphasizes solving and inventing problems in number theory, algebra, geometry, and more. Students are placed in one of three levels based on ability. There is also a weekend program for middle-school students; details are yet to be released. Note that qualifying exams are held in early March.
Drake Bennett Multisensory – Park Slope
1320 Eighth Avenue (between 13th and 14th Streets)
Ages first through sixth grades
Drake Bennett offers a full-day summer program for elementary-school students whose reading, writing, geography, science, and/or math skills are below grade level. The camp is designed with academics in the morning and more camp-like activities in the afternoon (drama, art, dance, sports). Seven daily classes are interspersed with three hours of rest and recreational time. In the Orton-based multisensor approach, teachers use tactile materials, games, and color-coding to help students grasp concepts.
The Horace Mann Summer School Academic Program — the Bronx
231 West 246th Street
Ages eighth through twelfth grades
Held at the Riverdale private school, this program offers a variety of summer classes for credit with an emphasis on math and science: algebra I and II, trigonometry, geometry, and pre-calculus, as well as computer science, chemistry, and physics (other offerings are ceramics and US history). The schedule is fast-paced: one day is the equivalent of an entire week of regular classes or a week plus a lab period. However, there are breaks in the day, mid-morning and mid-afternoon homework sessions, and a staff of dedicated teachers to help each student get the most out of the program.
Poly Prep Summer Academics – Park Slope & Dyker Heights
50 Prospect Park West (between First and Second Streets)
9216 Seventh Avenue
Ages second through twelfth grades
This Brooklyn private school offers several morning academic programs for elementary and high school students to help them get ahead in reading, writing, and math with a 1:5 teacher-student ratio and individualized curricula. The program is offered as part of Poly Prep's Summer Experience; campers enrolled in summer academics miss a portion of the camp day. Other programs include Sustainable Societies Academics for high school students interested in sustainability issues, and SAT/PSAT prep for tenth through twelfth graders.
Winston Prep Summer Enrichment Program – Chelsea
126 West 17th Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
Ages fourth through twelfth grades
Winston Prep, a school for kids with learning differences, hosts this summer program for students who need individualized instruction in academics; about half the kids are enrolled at Winston. Parents can create a program tailor-made to their child's needs, combing a group academic program and a "focus program" that provides one-on-one instruction. Classes include language, math, science, and history as well as after-school activities including acting, basketball, computing, music, photography, friendship skills, and sightseeing. The curriculum instills good habits in study skills, test prep, and time management, and classes are taught by reading specialists, special-education teachers, and speech and language pathologists.
For individual math tutoring sessions throughout the summer, check out Mathnasium, which has centers around the city.
Top image: Math concepts aren't boring at Launch Math and Science Centers. Photo courtesy the camp.
This article was first published in May 2012, but updated in 2017.