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 or NYC Classes Guide.
BEAM 6 (Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics) – NYC and upstate NY
Sixth graders; some openings for seventh graders
This FREE summer math program is aimed at low-income NYC kids. Sixth-graders who are fascinated by math spend five weeks with top instructors, solving problems and learning skills not generally covered in middle school, like logic or computer programming. Other activities include sports, field trips, and games. To be eligible, students must have completed sixth grade this year, live in New York City, and demonstrate financial eligibility, which generally means qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch, although family circumstances are taken into account. Students submit short answer responses, a teacher recommendation, and financial information. They also get to try out BEAM’s math problems in the Admissions Challenge. About 600 students apply for 200 spots. The program is completely free, including breakfast, lunch, field trips, and daily transportation to one of two campuses (Uptown or Downtown). The program runs July 9-August 10. BEAM also has a few open seats at BEAM 7, a residential math program for seventh graders who spend three weeks studying math on a college campus.
Launch Math + Science Centers Summer Camps – Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Tribeca
173 West 81st Street (between Amsterdam and Columbus Avenues)
30 West 68th Street (between Columbus Avenue and Central Park West)
112 East 75th Street (between Second and First Avenues)
124 Hudson Street (between Beach and North Moore Streets)
Ages 5–12 (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. To receive updates and information about qualifying exams, join the email list.
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, Brooklyn
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. A Sustainable Societies Academy program is also available for high school students interested in sustainability issues.
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 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 2018.