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Last-Minute Guide to Finding a Summer Camp for Your Kids

Kids at Pier, Park & Playground Association baseball games have a blast, a coordinator said.
Kids at Pier, Park & Playground Association baseball games have a blast, a coordinator said.
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Pier, Park & Playground Association

MANHATTAN — The city's school kids may be hitting the books now, but time's running out to plan their summer camp activities when classes end for the year.

It's not too late to choose from one of dozens of day camps and other activities across the five boroughs which still have room for latecomers looking to escape the summertime blues.

From book camp for library buffs to ice skating camp for kids with Olympic-level dreams, DNAinfo.com New York checked out activities for kids available for all schedules and all interests.

Here are some of the top choices:

Day Camp in Park Slope: Kim's Kids Summer Camp is open to kids age 4-and-a-half to 11 and runs from July 2 through August 10. The "traveling day camp" will have kids hiking, swimming, exploring ponds and going on field trips from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

Future Michelle Kwans and Johnny Weirs can hone their axels, lutzes and split jumps this summer at World Ice Arena in Flushing, Queens.
Future Michelle Kwans and Johnny Weirs can hone their axels, lutzes and split jumps this summer at World Ice Arena in Flushing, Queens.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

Families can send their kids to the camp three, four or five days per week. The prices range from $795 for three days a week for three weeks to $2,055 for five days a week for six weeks.

Sandra Catania, one of the owners of the 32-year-old camp, said parents like its flexible schedule and its high supervisor-to-camper ratio. Families also like that the camp exposes kids to nature right in the confines of the city.

"We are a nature-oriented camp," Catania said. "We have the kids in nature every day."

Book Camp on the Upper West Side: Bookworms aged 9 to 12 can head to the Upper West Side this summer for Thalia Book Club Camp at Symphony Space. Campers in three one-week sessions July 23 through Aug. 10 will meet children's book authors and go on book-related field trips in the city, according to Symphony Space's website.

Among the authors who have previously spoken to campers include "The Phantom Tollbooth" author Norton Juster and "Ella Enchanted" author Gail Carson Levine.

Past field trips have included visits to the Bronx Museum of Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the studios of "The Colbert Report."

The camp will be held weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and costs $650 per week.

Day Camp in The Bronx: Southeast Bronx Neighborhood Centers Incorporated has a summer full of activities planned for kids in The Bronx.

Activities for the summer program for kids aged 5 to 12 includes trips to parks, gym time, relay races and trips to museums and plays, coordinator Michelle Beverhoudt said.

"We have fun. We're in the sun and the sprinklers when it's too hot outside," she said.

The program, which aims to be educational as well as fun, runs from July 9 through Aug. 24 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs $425 total.

Baseball Camp in Greenwich Village: Greenwich Village Little League, which plays on Pier 40, will have games for kids aged 9 to 16 for six weeks starting July 4 and a Summer Ball program for kids in the same age range that starts Memorial Day weekend.

"It's a recreational, all-inclusive league," GVLL president Daniel Miller said. "There are very good players and kids who are still learning."

The programs, which have a "no yelling" policy for coaches, cost $75 for families that live near Pier 40 and $100 for others, and scholarships are available.

"There's nothing better than an evening baseball game when it's 70 degrees out," Miller said.

Softball and Baseball Camp in Greenwich Village: The Pier, Park & Playground Association, which also plays on the West Village's Pier 40, has a co-ed summer day camp for children aged 6 to 13. A separate all-girls program for girls age 8 to 14 is also available.

The flexibility of day camp options at P3, as the camp is known, are a highlight for families planning to leave the city on vacation, program organizer Tobi Bergman said.

"Everything is by the week," Bergman said. "If someone is going away for half the summer and coming back, it's perfect."

The games are non-competitive and coaches do all the pitching, so they can adjust the difficulty level for every kid.

P3 summer camp spaces for July 9 through Aug. 31 tend to fill up three to five weeks before they begin and start at $250 per week.

Ice Skating in Flushing, Queens: Kids who dream of one day becoming Michelle Kwan and Johnny Weir can hone their axels, lutzes and split jumps this summer at World Ice Arena in Flushing, Queens.

A program that will run July 9 through Aug. 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. is suitable for beginners and more advanced skaters alike, skating school director Lauren Hunt said.

"Skaters will have all summer to practice their jumps," she said.

The camp is focused on ice skating, but has games, arts and crafts and outdoor time too.

Prices range from $75 per half day to $3,300 for the full camp, and rates are lower for families who register by May 1.

Day Camp in Staten Island: Staten Island residents can check out the Staten Island Day Camp at the College of Staten Island. The camp, which has operated since 1979, prides itself on "building self-esteem in children through positive social, educational, physical and creative experience," its website said.

Programs for kids age 5 to 13 include swimming, arts and crafts and drama.

Prices range from $1,700 for three weeks to $2,750 for eight weeks

Gymnastics Camp on the Upper East Side: Kids who want to practice their flips and cartwheels can talk their parents into signing them up for Fantastic Gymnastic Summer Camp at the 92nd Street Y on the Upper East Side.

The camp comprised of four two-week-long summer sessions starting June 28 and ending Aug. 17 will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

Activities include gymnastics, dance, swimming, sports and field trips to the Bronx Zoo and Prospect Park.

Rates run from $2,392 for two sessions to $4,292 for all four sessions.

French Camp on the Upper East Side: The Lycée Français de New York on the Upper East Side will "teach campers to be citizens of the world," according to its website.

The program for kids age almost 3 to 11 will be conducted in French and English and offer activities in sports, arts, music and cooking. Field trips to Chelsea Piers, plays and Yankee Stadium are also in the works.

The program runs from late June to late July from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families can sign up for a single week or the entire session. Prices range from $1,300 for one week to $3,300 for all five weeks.  

Urban Adventure Camp in Chelsea: Families with kids ages 12 to 16 can sign up for Urban Adventure Camp at Chelsea Piers. The program will include kayaking, rock climbing and sailing, with weekly excursions into the city.

The camp runs from June 18 through Aug. 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rates run from $750 per week to $595 per week, depending on for how many weeks a family signs up. Rates are lower if families sign up before June 11, according to Chelsea Piers' website.

Other camps on Pier 60 include preschool ice skating, preschool gymnastics, bowling and hockey.

Summer Employment Citywide: Parents who want to get their older children off the couch and into the real world can urge them to sign up for the city's Summer Youth Employment Program.

The city program that had more than 30,000 participants last year gives youths aged 14 to 24 jobs and educational opportunities, working for summer camps, stores, government agencies and nonprofits.

The program is designed to help kids get accustomed to the world of work, according to the Department of Youth & Community Development's website. It pays youth the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Participants can work a maximum of 25 hours per week.

The deadline for applying to the program is May 18.