Kids exercising in Times Square in New York City

Kids do jumping jacks in Times Square (photo credit: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Kids everywhere need time each week to work out their bodies – and New York City kids need it even more with the general lack of yards and practice fields at our schools. Turns out, New York is home to some of the most amazing free sports opportunities in the country. Check them out.

New York Junior Tennis League

(credit: NYJTL)
58-12 Queens Boulevard, Suite 1
Woodside, NY, 11377
(718) 786-7110

This group uses tennis as a tool to change lives. They have a variety of great educational programs in schools and communities throughout all five boroughs. One of their most popular programs is their Community Tennis Program that teaches children (ages 6 to 18) how to play tennis by providing free training and support. Your child just might be the next tennis superstar…

Shape Up New York

(credit: Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)
Multiple Locations

Shape Up New York is a wonderful fitness program for the entire family and it’s hard to believe that the offerings are free! Simply go to the website to choose from a variety of active classes. There is something for everyone – from preschoolers to seniors and all five boroughs are covered. A recent search turned up a free “Intensati” workout class that “fuses high energy aerobics, martial arts, dance, yoga, and strength conditioning”. Impressive!

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

(credit: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)

Swim Programs
Multiple Locations
Citywide Aquatics: (718) 760-6969

Swimming is one of the most useful athletic undertakings and  NYC residents can take advantage of free water-based programs in every borough. Free classes range from aquatics exercise to competitive swim team programs. There is something for all ages and experience level – from beginners to expert swimmers.

CityParks Kids

(credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Multiple Locations
(718) 760-6999

The City Parks Foundation is known for many of its cultural offerings, and also offers some of the best free sports programs around. The CityParks Golf program provides free golf lessons for kids ages 6 to 17 and the recently-opened CityParks Junior Golf Center, a 6-hole golf course, provides further free instruction. Other sports highlights include a tennis program, which provides free tennis lessons to kids ages 5 to 16, and a summer track and field program. There really is no excuse for kids to be couch potatoes with such excellent free opportunities!

Carolyn Pravda is a blogger with Mama Threads.