10 Unique Summer Programs For Kids in Brooklyn
Give your child a summer to remember with one of these amazing programs in the Brooklyn area.
The thing I love about living in Brooklyn is the vast array of talented people, artists, performers, athletes, and professionals -- and lucky for parents, many of them have dedicated their lives to educating and inspiring future generations. Whether your kid is a travel junkie, foodie, future rockstar, or beach bum, there is sure to be a program catering to their unique interests.
If you haven’t totally figured out your kid’s summer activities yet, don’t fret! You still have your pick of weeklong camp programs all throughout the summer, most of which have ongoing enrollment through the end of August. Read on to see our top 10 recommendations that will help give parents, babysitters, and nannies a rest this summer!
Address: 748 Union St., Brooklyn, NY 11215
Schedule: (July 10 - Sept. 1) Monday - Friday, 9:15 a.m - 5 p.m.
Founder Elise Long and her arts and movement organization, Spoke the Hub, was one of the first of its kind to pioneer the Park Slope arts scene back in the ‘70s. If your child loves dance, theater, and performance, definitely consider this neighborhood institution, run by passionate, experienced, and locally treasured neighborhood performance artists.
The Camp Gowanee summer program is open to kids in pre-K through 12 years old and provides immersive experiences in both onstage and behind-the-scenes theatrical skills. In addition to acting and performance classes, they also provide workshops for digital video production and portfolio creation.
Address: 87 19th St., Brooklyn, NY, 11232
Schedule: (June 26 - Aug. 30) Monday - Friday, 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
A perfect choice for crafters, this weeklong program offers both sewing and pottery instruction for kids ages 7-14. Founded by an FIT graduate, Brooklyn Sewcial offers small classes with two teacher for every eight students, so everyone gets individual attention and lots of focused instruction from the knowledgeable staff.
The curriculum starts with the basics, like pin cushions, and then works up to more complicated sewing skills and projects like clothing and handbags. Each week offers a different theme, including beach style, “Project Runway” fashion, and American Doll clothes.
Address: 327 Douglass St., Brooklyn, NY, 11217
Schedule: (July 10 - Aug. 25) Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
When I was a kid, my music education involved tedious lessons squeaking out “Hot Cross Buns” on the clarinet as my older siblings howled in agony. Needless to say, I never became the next Bennie Goodman. School of Rock, however, takes all the dorkiness and tedium out of music lessons and puts a modern, collaborative spin on music appreciation.
Whether your kid wants to learn keyboard, bass, guitar, drums, or vocals, they will be immersed in jam-out sessions with bandmates led by seasoned pros, learning both classic and modern rock hits. The five-day sessions run weekly throughout the summer, and kids ages 7-17 are welcome.
Address: 55 Cranberry St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Schedule: (July 5 - Sept. 1) Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Future Jamie Olivers and Anne Burrells in the making will eat up a week of culinary immersion at Food Art for Kids. This market-to-plate experience teaches everything from sourcing and selecting quality ingredients to rolling and stretching fresh pasta. Campers make two trips a week to a local farmers market and, based on the theme of the week, they learn how to make wholesome dishes from scratch.
While you must pack a lunch most of the week (some weeks are dessert-focused and kids usually want to take their creations home to show off), Fridays are the exception. Every week ends with a pizza party, which the kids make from scratch!
Address: 450 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11225
Schedule: (July 5 - Sept. 2) Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Prospect Park Zoo’s weeklong sessions will hands-down capture the hearts of animal lovers. The little veterinarians- and biologists-in-training will spend the week doing experiments, live animal encounters, interactive games, and meet-and-greets with zoo staff.
This might not be the most suitable program for hyperactive kids, though, as there’s a lot of walking and listening involved in the day-to-day. Groups can tend to be on the larger side (with 30+ participants), so be sure your little one doesn’t need individualized attention.
Address: 586 Fifth Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225 | 303 Third Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11215
Schedule: (July 5 - Sept. 1) Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. (extended hours available)
STEM education is getting a lot of attention these days, and the summer program at Brooklyn Robot Foundry is here to help your kids find the joy in mechanics, problem-solving, and even programming. Founder and former mechanical engineer Jenny Young said she started the Foundry in order to recreate the “suburban experience of tinkering around in the garage” -- something that heavily influenced her own interest in engineering, but which many city kids miss out on.
The program caters to first- through seventh-graders and emphasizes teamwork, finding creative solutions, and embracing failure. They also offer a couple girls-only weeks, pushing to counter the stereotype that STEM-focused activities are only fun for boys.
Address: 18 College Road, Monsey, NY, 10952
Schedule: (June 26 - Aug. 24) Monday - Friday, hours vary
While it may not be realistic for all families to send a wanderlusting kid abroad this summer, this program is designed to give budding nomads a chance to cut loose from the city and explore the more immediate day trip-accessible world beyond NYC. It may seem a little daunting to wake up to catch the 6:50 a.m. train from Penn Station to Suffern, but I say ‘tis the life of a true jetsetter, so might as well teach them early.
Experiences range from trips to Yankees games in the Bronx, to white water rafting on the Delaware River, and even overnight trips to theme parks in Pennsylvania. That said, this particular program is best suited for tweens and teenagers ages 11-14.
Address: Beach 69th St., Rockaway Beach, NY 11692
Schedule: (June 26 - Sept. 1) Monday - Friday, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Sometimes it doesn’t always feel like it, but Brooklyn is actually on an island -- so why not take advantage of that this summer? Sending your kid to surf camp will definitely score you cool-parent points.
The instructors at Locals Surf School in the Rockaways are eager to pass their knowledge on to the next generation and have a nuanced understanding of how to create a positive experience for kids specifically -- like foam-top boards, warmer wetsuits, and lighthearted silliness. Aside from the “hip factor,” surfing is an extremely athletic and beneficial activity for kids. They will learn potentially life-saving water safety skills, develop confidence in open water, and build endurance, balance, and strength. Kids ages 5 and up are welcome!
Address: 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225
Schedule: See website for specific times
If your little one enjoys digging in the dirt and picking wildflowers, the summer program options at the beautiful Brooklyn Botanical Garden should definitely be at the top of your list.
What makes the BBG’s programs particularly attractive are the many options they offer in terms of speciality, age ranges, and length. You can spend an hour in the afternoon learning the basics of gardening alongside your 3-year-old, or you can drop your tween off, sack lunch in hand, for a full day of field studies, gardening, and exploration.
Address: 51 N. First St., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Schedule: (July 6 - Aug 28) See website for specific class times
Do your kids enjoy launching themselves off towers of couch cushions, shimmying up door jambs, and hanging from the shower curtain rod? This might be the perfect summer camp for them. STREB offers six independent weeklong session throughout the summer that include activities including the flying trapeze, splash pool, circus arts, and trampoline.
Each week culminates in a Friday evening show where you can delightfully watch the spectacle of your little ones flying through the air with the greatest of ease. Kids ages 3-13 are welcome, and the kindly offer two one-time drop in sessions per student, so you can sample a couple of their programs before committing to an entire week.