Category Archives: camps

The Coolest Summer Camps in NYC

standard_6269099_origWhat if your daughter could enjoy her favorite activity for a week (or more) during the summer?

What if your son could go to camp and learn a brand new skill in a fun and unique part of NYC?

What if you knew that all summer long, your children would be exposed to a variety of activities, make new friends, and have a blast?

Well actually, you can! NYC has so many unique summer camps available to kids, from programs for curious explorers to drama-loving little actors and actresses. Most have a variety of weekly options available, so your child can attend a few camps throughout the summer, or, if you vacation for part of the summer you can ensure you’re only signing up for camp when you’re in town.

If you’re looking for something new, unique and fun for your kids this summer, check out a few of our awesome camps below—and visit Kidz Central Station for a full selection!

Kids Creative. Located on the Upper West Side, Kids Creative’s summer camp is the perfect way for kids to try their hands at acting and get creative. Throughout the two-week session, they’ll imagine, produce, and perform a musical play, which includes writing a script, creating music, and building sets and costumes. When they’re not creating their performing arts masterpiece, kids will get outside for water activities and field trips! You can sign up for any (or all!) of Kids Creative’s two-week sessions, and if you want more info, you can request a tour and see what it’s all about.

Citibabes. If you like Citibabes’ awesome kids’ classes throughout the year (located in Soho), you’ll love their summer camps! There’s something for everything here, including a My First Drop-off program twice a week to get little ones age 20 months to 2.5 years used to separation, while partaking in lots of fun activities. For age 2 to 4, CitiCamp incorporates fun weekly themes into everything from music to art to free play and CitiCamp Sr., a program for kids age 4 to 7, lets kids enjoy on and off-site activities, such as swim, soccer, tennis, and art.

Language Beansstandard_1505988_889682631041962_7143505922559729539_n. With a variety of great sessions in July and August Language Beans’ Mandarin Camp, located in the East Village, teaches new language skills while cultivating kids’ creativity and artistic minds. The camp incorporates a small group atmosphere and hands-on learning into themed sessions like “Let’s Camp in the Desert” and “Snow White in the City”. Kids age 2 to 7 will definitely have a blast here.

Evolution Enrichment Martial Arts. In a brand new facility with a prime downtown Lower East Side location, Evolution Enrichment Center’s Mixed Martial Arts Summer Program is a safe and fun fitness program that will teach your child the basics of Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Ninjutsu. There are three-day weekly sessions throughout July and August, so kids age 4 to 14 can choose the best days to fit their busy summer schedules.

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Physique Swimming
. In a brand new location at FiDi’s Pine Street School for Summer 2015, Physique Swimming, is a perennial favorite for kids and adults alike. The program incorporates both Physique’s specialty—with daily instructional swim sessions at the Seahorse Aquatics Center—and also allows kids to explore their interests in art, science, cooking, and outdoor sports. The camp serves kids age 4 to 11, and offers pick up and drop off transportation every day. Get a sneak peek of the camp for yourself at either of Physique’s summer camp open houses on 4/9 and 5/7!

Preparing Your Child for the Bus to Summer Camp

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With a child’s first summer camp experience comes many new things: independence from Mom and Dad, fun and exciting activities, lots of new friends, and the first time riding the bus! All of the camps on Kidz Central Station located outside of NYC offer round trip bus service from the city, making it easy for parents to send their kids to these beautiful, natural settings all summer long.

So how do you know if your child is ready to ride the bus to camp? Every child is different and ready at a different age. According to Paul Isserles, director of Buckley Day Camp, “Most of our campers start taking the bus at age three. Many camps, including ours, make the bus part of the camp experience, incorporating games, songs, and challenges into the bus trip. This way children are fully engaged from the time they’re picked up in the morning until the time they’re dropped off in the afternoon.”

If sending your child on the bus makes you just a tad nervous, consider these simple and easy ways to make your child—and you—feel more comfortable about the bus to camp.

Visit the bus stop location before the first day. Camp buses generally pick kids up outside of their apartments or at a designated spot a few blocks away, making it easy for parents to supervise pick up and drop off. Bus counselors are on each bus to play with and supervise the kids, so a child will never be riding without a responsible adult. Even if your child’s stop is right in front of your building, do a pick up and drop off trial run so your both know the drill. Discuss which streets and stores are nearby so your child will know he or she is in the right place.

Use the buddy system. When kids are in a new situation, they naturally feel more confident when they’re with someone they know. If you know of another child who will be riding the bus to camp each day with your little one, arrange a meeting beforehand so they will no longer be strangers on the first day of camp! Not only will your child have a familiar face on the bus each day, he or she may make a new good friend! If this is not an option, try to connect your child with an older camper on the bus who can help make the bus experience a little less daunting.

Discuss bus safety and rules. Go over all of the rules and safety precautions, so your child is aware of proper behavior on the bus. While some camps send these rules to parents in advance to share with kids, here are some important ones to discuss:

  • Stay seated while the bus is in motion
  • Listen to the bus counselors and bus driver at all times
  • If you have a question or problem, ask the bus counselor for help
  • Screaming and yelling is not permitted—it’s not appropriate bus behavior and can be distracting to the driver

Whatever you do, make the bus a fun, learning experience. Just like when you’re traveling on family vacations, make the commute to camp a fun one that your child is excited to learn about, explore, and enjoy!

Do you have a tip to share?  We would love to hear them.  And be sure to check out all our wonderful camp providers at Kidz Central Station!

Start Kids Eating Vegetables Early!

Start Kids Eating Vegetables Early!

A 2013 Health Data report presents some startling numbers about how the US stacks up against 33 other countries for life expectancy rates.  While the US has the highest health spending, our average life expectancy is 1.5 years lower than the average of 78.7 years and we have the highest rate of obesity with 36.5% of our population falling in that category. More shocking, in 1978 only 15% of the population was obese, so in just 35 years that number has more than doubled!

The best way to fight this trend is through proper nutritional education for both parents and children. The sooner this process is started, the easier it is to get children, and the nation, back on track. It is a much simpler task to start kids off with a healthy diet than it is to retroactively cut out high-sugar products, such as soda, or highly processed foods. The authors of a recent study titled, “Learning to Eat Vegetables in Early Life: The Role of Timing, Age and Individual Eating Traits,” found that if children are introduced to new vegetables before they reach age two, they are more likely to accept them in their regular diet than if tried later in life. The general idea is to to start early and introduce vegetables often. Even if your child is fussy or does not like veggies repeated exposure may do the trick.

So on the road to fighting nation-wide obesity and giving your children healthy eating habits, introducing your children to the right foods is a great place to start. A fun way to do this is to cook with your children and teach them to cook themselves. And Kidz Central Station can help too. We have tons of class providers in NYC that offer healthy cooking classes and introduce cooking to  kids at a young age. Some of our favorites are below:

 Kidz Central Station partners that offer great healthy cooking camps or classes:

Creative Kitchen

Shine Summer Camp

The Art Farm in the City

Freshmade NYC

 Sources:

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113159565/infant-exposure-to-vegetables-should-be-early-and-often-060114/

http://www.oecd.org/unitedstates/Briefing-Note-USA-2013.pdf

http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0097609

 

Tips for Choosing a Summer Day Camp

Tips for Choosing a Summer Day Camp

I have always loved summer camp. From my days at large outdoor day camps in the rolling hills of Western New York to my summers at overnight camp in the Finger Lakes, my childhood was filled with memories of boondoggle, popsicle stick boats, field days, color wars, and hours of outdoor exploration. I believe camp should be an experience available to all children and with so many options choosing the right one for your family can be daunting.

Here are Shine’s top tips for choosing a summer day camp:

1.  Target practice.

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There is a big difference between a summer camp with a general, “classic experience” with lots of activities and one with a particular focus. Older children can target in on their interests easier than younger ones. Try to find out what he/she really loves and really wants to be doing over the summer and then look for a camp that specializes in that. Just because your sporty girl is on the field all year doesn’t mean she wants to go to sports camp. Ask. And for younger campers, look for camps that offer the classic, wide range of activities including arts and crafts, music, outdoor nature and science, and sports. Exposing younger campers to a variety of activities will keep them interested and engaged and help you and them figure out what it is they love most about summer camp.

2.  Location, location, location.

If you have a younger child going to day camp, you may not be ready to put them on a bus. That means someone has to drop-off and pick-up. But since summer is already about juggling schedules, you may want to chose a camp that’s close to home or work to make it all a little easier. And having a friend or two with whom to carpool makes it even more so.

3.  Big pond, little fish.

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Every child is different and not everyone thrives in a very large group. Your child may prefer an intimate, focused camp of 20-30 as opposed to other kids who love the hustle and bustle of a much larger camp of hundreds. To help distinguish, look for phrases like “limited class size,” “boutique,” or “exclusive.” Also, make sure you know what the student to teacher ratio is as an overwhelmed staffer can lead to a negative experience for campers. Smaller ratios mean a more personal touch.

4. Is It Nice?

Check out the facilities. Are they clean? Are things in good condition? Is the equipment falling apart? And always ask about the provisions they have if there is an emergency. Summer camp safety is so important and a facility that has a solid plan offers a lot of relief to worried parents.

5. But are THEY nice?

Shine Summer Camp 6A good staff is key to making a summer camp experience great. Many camps hire teenagers to wrangle the kids. At times, these counselors seem like children themselves. Ask if the staff has experience working with children. We prefer to look for camps that employ educators or certified teachers, teaching artists, or at the very least college students with a focus on education and/or children. A happy, enthusiastic, and high-energy staff will ensure your children will feel the same.

6. It costs what?

The price of camps can vary greatly so decide on your budget before you start shopping. Many camps offer a shortened week option so perhaps if you love a particular camp you can send your child 2 or 3 days instead of the full week. If finances are an issue there is nothing wrong with asking about a reduced tuition alternative, scholarship, or even see if your school has discounts for specific summer camps.

7. Do the due.

Shine Summer Camp 3Due diligence is crucial when choosing a summer camp. Call the camp, ask questions, speak to the director and ask about the daily schedule and what campers can expect. Go check it out if you can, see how it runs, and if kids are happy. You can figure out a lot just by how someone is on the phone, how clear the website is, or what other parents (and kids) have to say.

8. Don’t forget to smell the flowers.

We can’t forget that summer is about downtime too. Children can be overscheduled all school year long and summer is an opportunity for them to wind down and rest. You may want a few weeks unscheduled so you can take a family vacation, or a staycation and let them catch up on summer reading and playing with friends. Again, look for camps that offer flexible schedules. A camp that allows just 2 or 3 days a week provides the best of both worlds: scheduled activities and free time.

9. Camp is fun.

Shine Summer Camp 4

Having a summer off from the rigors of school to focus on a passion, run around in nature, or spend time with friends outside of the normal “routine” can be one of the most rewarding experiences of childhood. My camp summers still provide inspiration all these years later. Camp should be fun. Nothing but. And by following these simple tips you can ensure your children have the best summer ever.

By Aaron Goldschmidt, Founder & Director, shine

Aaron Goldschmidt is the founder & director of shine, a NYC based business specializing in pop-up classes, parties, events, workshops, and camps for children ages 6 month to 12 years. After 14 years as a summer camp director for The 14th Street Y in the East Village and Citibabes in SoHo, he is starting his own camp in the Hamptons this summer. Click here for more information.

Book a Spring Break Camp!

Ahhh Spring Break is almost here – that means warmer weather, getting outside, and……the kids are off! Yikes! What to do now? Don’t panic, we have lots of available options for Spring Break camps through KidzCentralStation.com – here are a few of our favorites:

1. LIC Kids – Olympic Camp 

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This year LIC Kids will be offering “Olympics Camp” with sporting/athletic events , competitions and activities themed to different countries all over the world. Your children will compete in their own Olympic Games in Gymnastics, Swimming and Diving, Soccer, and Basketball.  Not only will their athleticism be stimulated but their imaginations will soar as they are immersed in the different cultures of the world through art, music, dance, and theatre! How fun does swimming, twirling on Olympic rings and jumping on the trampoline sound? Ages 4 -12. Book Olympic Camp now!

2. Fashion Class – Fashion Camp

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Is your child into fashion? Why not let them get creative and learn to make their own clothes and accessories! Fashion Class Fashion Camp includes sewing and/or creating fancy accessories like jewelry, handbags, and mini top hats!  Students get to create 2-3 garments during the week. They also can draw and design clothing in Fashion Illustration. There will also be field trips to Mood Fabrics, the FIT museum, a fashion showroom and even guest speakers who work in fashion! Book Fashion Camp Now!

3. Drama Llama – Broadway Boot Camp

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This boot camp focuses on different aspects of performing and all things Broadway. Children will focus on fun exercises and basic principles for acting, followed by an hour and a half with a current Broadway performer that will teach the students a piece from the current show they are associated with. On the final day of camp, students will perform a showcase for family and friends. Ages 6-12. Book Broadway Boot Camp Now!

4. Art Farm In The City – Animals, Cooking and Art, Oh, My!

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Is your child a little explorer? Loves animals? Art Farm will host a spring break camp that has ladybugs, baby chicks, caterpillars to butterflies and more! All children will have up close and personal experiences with our animals in the petting zoo and be a part of live animal science classes. They also get the chance to cook in the kitchen, create art masterpieces, and sign along to the guitar. Ages 3-8. Book Art Farm In The City Camp Now!

Ride the Bus to Summer Camp!

At KidzCentralStation.com, we are ready to welcome spring with big open arms! We are ready to be outside and enjoy all the wonderful activities that spring brings to New York City! Along with Spring comes Summer Camp registration, and we have lots of options for all ages! Camps give city kids the chance to explore new territory outside of our busy city streets. There are many wonderful summer camps for your child available within driving distance of the city, and you can find them right through our website.

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Ride The Bus to Summer Camp!

One thing to consider when choosing a camp is riding the bus. If that has you as a parent a bit nervous, consider these simple and easy ways to make your child, and yourself, feel comfortable and ready.

(Note: buses from the camps generally pick the kids up outside their apartments or a few blocks away and have bus counselors to play with and supervise kids on the bus.)

#1 Check out the location of the bus several times before the big day. Even if it’s right in front of your building, make a fun game of it so your child knows where the bus will pick them up and drop them off at the end of the day.  Make note of any streets and surrounding stores so your child knows they are in the right place.

#2 Use the buddy system.  Perfect for riding the bus to a strange place, kids naturally feel more confident when they are with their own peers. If this is not an option, try to arrange your child being connected with an older camper on the bus that can help your younger child understand what to do.

#3 Talk with your child about bus safety and rules, communicating with the bus driver and bus counselor, and overall respectful communication and behavior on the bus. Use creative activities to prepare your child for the trip. Just like when you are traveling for Spring Break or summer vacations, make the commute a fun one that your child is excited to learn about, explore, and have fun. The bus counselors will also help with making your child feel safe and have fun on the bus.

Do you have a tip to share?  We would love to hear them.  And be sure to check out all our wonderful camp providers at kidzcentralstation.com