A Guide to Educational Summer Day Camps
By Meghan Gearino, Kat Harrison and Elizabeth Raymond We doubt that anyone thinks of New York City as a summer camp mecca-but by most standards, it really is. Consider all the children's activity centers and enrichment [programs](http://www.newyorkfamily.com/newyork/print-article-985-print.html) that the city is blessed with-some go on hiatus and some slow down in the summertime, offering the same programming but less of it, but many others take what they do best and build wonderful day camps around their core offerings.
Keep your kiddo's mind fresh this August with the academic day camp offered by Drake Bennett Summer Schools. Divided into two sessions and housed at The Epiphany School, 1st-6th graders can brush up with lessons in literacy, math and science, while chess and drama pepper the afternoon hours. Or join Mathnasium for their Summer Re-Boot Camp. Specifically for 2nd-8th graders, this half-day camp is filled with math-centric games and activities.
Set your kid on the fast track to becoming bilingual. Collina Italiana is offering Italian Summer in the City Camp, which includes Italian-infused music, theater, movies, cartoons and museum outings. Children as young as 3 can start learning "bonjour" and "merci" at the French Institute Alliance Française, where culture and language will be taught through stories and workshops. The Language Workshop for Children is a great tool to get your child speaking like a native. Offering summer camps in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese, immersion activities include costume days, arts and crafts, baking and birthday celebrations.
Future video game creators will love the options in Summer Media Camp through the Museum of the Moving Image, where campers get to flex their software muscles learning animation, live action video and more. Or send your wannabe MTV VJ to New York Film Academy's one-week Music Video Camp, designed for kids with little or no knowledge (but a passion) for the industry. And let's not forget about summer camp at Take Two Film Academy, which will show your budding director the ins and outs of production, acting and editing. Each student gets to keep an online and DVD copy of their final product to show off to friends and family!
Wonder about wildlife? Kids ages 8-12 can get friendly with hyenas and lions at the Bronx Zoo's Animal Kingdom Camp, where they will observe creatures up close and learn how to best protect an animal's habitat. Taking full advantage of Prospect Park, the Park Explorers' Camp Explorers program is ideal for the elementary school set. Be prepared to get a little dirty as this camp takes a hands-on approach to Mother Nature-think sprinklers, hill rolling and a host of field trips. And regardless of where you live, an awesome camp adventure awaits with NYC Parks Experience Summer Camp. With locations in every borough, this über-affordable camp provides structured hiking, swimming and sports.
Inquisitive young minds will love the American Museum of Natural History's Fossils and DNA Camp, where they can explore the evolutionary timeline. If your elementary school-aged child is more into constructing and electronic, the range of camp choices at Launch Math will give him or her the chance to build rockets and robots or design video games. Budding scientists can use the city as their laboratory with the SciTech Kids Summer Camp. In Central Park, campers build solar ovens, learn about gravity thanks to the thrills of Victorian Gardens and make a few insect friends. Visit newyorkfamily.com for even more day camp options.
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