After school is when the adventure begins in New York City. From theater to tennis and beyond, there's an afterschool program to ignite every kid's passion. Golf? There's an afterschool program for that. Chess and Chinese? Yes and yes. These ten programs each take different paths to develop your child's mind and body, all while livening up their afternoon with big city thrills.
1. New York Junior Tennis League. Who says city kids can't be outdoorsy and athletic? NYJTL's Community Tennis Program gives kids the opportunity to chase tennis balls on courts throughout New York City's five boroughs. Children ages 6 through 18 participate in tennis classes and coaching, match play and tournaments. There is also an adaptive tennis program serving special needs. Check the NYJTL website for the Community Tennis Program site nearest you, usually a local park or school. Times vary by location.
2. American Museum of Natural History. Excite your child's curiosity in the wonders of the natural world. The Museum of Natural History brings the sciences to life, with afterschool courses in anthropology, astrophysics, earth science, genetics, biodiversity and more. Explore a topic like backyard astronomy or astrobiology in the "Exploratory" series. Or dive into current scientific research in the "Research" series, led by the museum's scientists. Classes run six weeks, meeting once or twice a week at the museum (located on the Upper West Side) from 4:30 to 6:30 pm.
3. MoMA. There's no better way to learn about art than to get up to your elbows in making it yourself. That's what MoMA's afterschool programs let teens do, from dumpster diving for found art materials to sculpting wood. "In the Making" brings creation and appreciation together in one class. And "CLICK@MoMA" lets teens explore digital media as an art form. All classes are free and open to teens age 13 through 19. The spring and fall programs meet after school from 4 to 6:30 pm, and the Summer sessions include 10-1 pm and 2-5 pm options. Classes take place at MoMA, on the Upper East Side.
4. The Frick Collection. The Frick Collection comes alive with afterschool and summer programs for high school students. During the school year, high school juniors and seniors can sign up to explore a different work of art each week through the "Alive at The Frick" program. Summers bring "Cool Classes for Hot Nights," a series of weekday evening classes for high school students on topics related to the collection's art. Learn what a horticulturalist has to say about the Frick's rococo masterpiece, Fragonard's Progress of Love, or glean insight into the textual sources of paintings from Yale literary scholar Lee Patterson. Classes begin at 6 om at the Frick, on the Upper East Side.
5. The Ailey School, Junior Division. Whether you're just learning the steps or already dancing your way into the pre-professional track, The Ailey School has a program for you. The Junior Division features various dance training classes and performance opportunities for ages 3 through 17. Children ages 3 to 6 can discover a lifelong love of dance in First Steps. Boys have a unique opportunity to release energy and create kinetic art in the Ailey Athletic Boys Dance program. And experienced dancers develop their potential in the Pre-Professional programs. Programs take place year-round at the Joan Weill Center for Dance, located in New York City's Theater District.
6. Kate Tempesta's Urban Golf Academy. Golf in Gotham City? Of course. Kate Tempesta's Urban Golf Academy introduces children as young as 4 to the game of golf. The program runs year-round on outdoor and indoor greens across Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Hamptons. Along with golf skills and etiquette, kids develop fine motor coordination and self-regulation -- and, of course, have fun. Fore!
7. NYChessKids, Chess School of America. NYChessKids presents After School Chess Programs, based at a variety of schools across Manhattan. Chess play and instruction brings fun, camaraderie and so much more; students gain strategic thinking, concentration, problem solving and calculation skills -- not to mention etiquette and social intelligence. Class times vary by school, but are generally 1.5 to 2 hours long, between the hours of 3 and 5pm.
8. Planet Han: Mandarin Chinese for all Kids. Planet Han immerses children ages 0 to 12 in Mandarin Chinese. Located in Manhattan's Upper West Side, Planet Han helps kids build fluency in a global language using the MAT (Model.Action.Talk.) method. Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken language in the world and the third most common language in the U.S. Learning to speak Chinese gives kids an advantage in our diverse global community.
9. TADA! Youth Theater. Musical theater is on the playbill at TADA! Youth Theater, which produces original musicals performed by kids ages 8 to 18. The year-round program includes musical theater classes at the West 28th Street theater, as well as musical theater and playwriting residencies at schools across NYC. Kids develop their creativity and talent, learn teamwork and communication, gain confidence and make lasting friendships.
10. The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers. New York City's premier fitness center hosts several afterschool programs for children and young teens. CP-After-3 offers childcare and an engaging sports and arts curriculum for the K-3 set. Located in the Field House on Chelsea Piers, CP-After-3 leads kids ages 5 to 9 in sports classes, table games, art projects, computing projects and homework assistance. Meanwhile, children ages 5 to 14 can practice their swing at The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers Afterschool Program, a 7-week course that brings students and golf teaching professionals together for an hour of instruction per week.
There's a world of fun and educational activities for students in the big city, if you know where to look. These ten programs are just some of the adventures available to your children after school. For more tips on raising and teaching your kids in New York City, check out the 50 best NYC parenting blogs on OnlineSchools.com.