New York City offers lots of free and low-cost summer enrichment programs for children from kindergarten through high school. Kids can learn to paint at the Brooklyn Museum, canoe on the Bronx River, or build solar-powered cars in a three-week camp called Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK). We're highlighting a number of other options with upcoming deadlines below, but be sure to browse through our full directory of nearly 200 free programs to find one that's right for you. Some programs we list are academically challenging and some are just for fun. Some take place in the city; others are on college campuses outside the city. Some are highly competitive while others accept all comers.
Be sure to double check all deadlines and application requirements directly with the programs, as changes may have occurred.
Tenth- and 11th-grade girls interested in computer science should apply for a seven-week summer program organized by Girls Who Code. Deadline: Feb. 16.
Aspiring actors should consider Stella Adler's Summer Shakespeare Program. Deadline: Feb. 22.
Boys and girls in 10th and 11th grade may apply to New York University's Applied Research Innovations in Science and Engineering (ARISE) program. The seven-week program allows students to take college-level workshops with a student mentor. Deadline: March 1.
For an insider's look at the criminal justice system, 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders who live or attend school in Manhattan may apply for a paid internship with the Manhattan District Attorney's office. Deadline: March 12.
The NYC Ladders for Leaders program provides high school students with paid internship opportunities at nonprofit organizations, corporations and government agencies, plus pre-employment training. Deadline: March 16.
Wave Hill, a public garden and cultural center in the Bronx, offers two paid summer programs for high school students, during which they take environmental science and mapping courses at Lehman College. Students in the Forest Project Summer Collaborative, work together to preserve the woodlands around Wave Hill. Deadline: March 16. Students in the Woodland Ecology Research mentorship perform field research with scientists. Deadline: April 1.
The Princeton University Summer Journalism program is an intensive 10-day seminar open to high school students from low-income backgrounds. It offers classes taught by reporters and editors from the New York Times, the Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and CNN, among other outlets. Deadline: March 23.
The New York Hall of Science in Queens offers several free and low-cost summer and after-school programs for children, as well as a paid educational program called the Science Career Ladder for young people between the ages of 14 and 25. Participants, called Explainers, work throughout the museum, explaining exhibits, performing demonstrations, and helping to lead the museum's camps and clubs. Applications for the summer hiring period open in March.