With its vast array of parks, museums and cultural opportunities, New York City is never lacking opportunities for children to grow. This couldn’t be more true when it comes time to get those kids moving. Whether it’s specialized training or just plain exhausting playtime, New York’s best gyms with classes for kids go above and beyond to make each workout exciting with everything from dance to sailing.
11th Avenue at 23rd Street
New York, NY 10011
Price: $200 to $300 Elite Basketball Skills Academy four-week program/$12 per session Little Athletes Exploration Center for ages 6 months to 4 years/$155 for unlimited monthly access.
The ultimate sports complex in New York City, Chelsea Piers offers a wide variety of age-appropriate experiences. From the infant and toddler Little Athletes Exploration Center to advanced training in basketball and gymnastics, parents will find a program to fit almost any child’s interests. Soccer, gymnastics, dance and ice skating are all popular options, but rock climbing, golf, baseball, even sailing, are also available. Kids here love the Piers’ holiday camps, and CP Kids, an early childhood learning center for kids three months to five years incorporates academics, socialization and physical activity.
203 W. 90th St., 1D
New York, NY 10024
Price: $45 single classes/$15 open play/$695 to $2,600 course packages
Claiming to be the only NYC kid’s gym that incorporates child development theory and movement science into its youth fitness programs, expect a host of innovative activities for kids from infant to age 14. In addition to classes such as Beginning Tumbling for kids 3 to 5 years old and a multi-age sibling class, Elliot’s also offers ballet and hip-hop, hosts birthday parties, and features an innovative music/gym/arts program incorporating movement and the arts, along with Spanish-language basics. New parents may score a free introductory infant movement class for little ones 4 weeks to 6 months, incorporating music, color and sound.
575 Degraw St.
Brooklyn, NY 11217
Price: $22 day pass $22 for adults/$18 for kids/$40 per hour private belay, includes day pass and gear, reservation required
This Gowanus-area climbing gym was eagerly welcomed by both beginners and experts when it opened a few years ago. It’s not simply a single climbing wall in one corner of a gym, but a foothold-encrusted 22,000 square feet of bouldering and rock climbing options — even the ceiling is dotted with holds. Even more awesome: BKB offers classes and family climb times for kids 4 and older, and hosts its own competitive youth climbing team, BKBeasts. Summer adventure programs, birthday parties and annual memberships make this a top choice for active area families.
When it’s time to get the kids mingling with upper-crust tots, this fashionably sleek, gym-focused space and early enrichment program targets ages 0 through 11. If that little Olympian requires top-notch equipment — some of it is the same as that used at the USA Nationals — and award-winning coaches, this spotless, carefully designed 25,000-square-foot facility is perfect. Concerned moms will also find eco-friendly HEPA-filtered air, toxin-free paints and cleaning supplies, and Tae Kwon Do classes for kids that just don’t dig the balance beam.
2150 Broadway, Suite 7D
New York, NY 10023
Price: $40 single class/$660 22 weeks of classes
With classes on both the Upper East and Upper West Side, this kid-focused yoga center offers outreach programs to schools and religious institutions throughout the city, and outdoor classes in Central Park during the summer. It boasts age-appropriate sessions for both kids age one to teens and their parents. Trained instructors — each class is staffed by at least two — combine yoga-based fitness with an emphasis on positive thinking and building a positive self-image. Classes combine stories, music, games and pictures. Private lessons for up to three children are also available.
Long Island City Kids
5-02 50th Ave.
Queens, NY 11101
Price: $30 single class $30/$40 to $550 summer swimming camp through Aug 31
This inviting space in Long Island City offers movement, gymnastics, martial arts and theater infants to 10-year-old kids. Gently structured classes involve children of varying skill levels in fun and creative ways. Toddler and pre-K gymnastic classes incorporate learning and socialization tools to help prepare kids for kindergarten while stretching their bodies and minds. Creative dance for ages 3.5 to 5.5 incorporates props and storytelling techniques to take kids beyond basic dance moves. Long Island City Kids also offers pre-school, after school and in-home academic tutoring. It’s an easy two-block walk from the 7 train, East River Ferry and LIRR for families that don’t live in the ‘hood.
Related: NYC’s Best Indoor Playgrounds
Robert Haynes-Peterson is an editor and freelance writer living in New York. He is certified by the American Sommelier Association through its 24-week Vinification and Viticulture program, and the government of Mexico through its Master Mezcalier program (continuing). His work can be found at Examiner.com.