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Theater workshops on the grounds of the Shelter Island Historical Society. (Photo courtesy of Shelter Island Historical Society)

Seeing as you just got done with the kiddos being on winter break, summer camp seems like an awfully long way down the road (and one currently, blissfully not packed with tourists). But you know better: It’s time to seek and find the spots that will fill their vacation days with both joy and a well-curated jumble of brain and body-busying activities. In the Hamptons and Shelter Island, there are many camps that fill the standard bill, but there are also a multitude of more topic-directed organizations that will let your little ones explore everything from a focus on farming to a acumen for acting. Whatever you pick, now’s the time to explore and see what’s on the docket for fulfilling summer days.

Space is limited, so the earlier you register your youngster the better. Be sure to visit each camp’s website for prices.

Shelter Island Historical Society, 16 South Ferry Road, Shelter Island, NY 631-749-0025

Brooklyn Acting Lab Theater Camp

Ages: 6 to 12

Dates: July 22 to August 2

There’s always something great for the kids at the Shelter Island Historical Society, but this summer sign up your little aspiring thesbians for the two-week Brooklyn Acting Lab cam, where aspiring actors will learn the art from story creation and character development, to singings and dancing, to building an original show that’s performed at the end of the two-week session. The camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; fees are $800 per single child, or for siblings, $680 per pint-sized performer.

Sylvester Manor, 80 North Ferry Road, Shelter Island, 631-749-0626

Shelter Island grade school students at Sylvester Manor. (Photo courtesy of Sylvester Manor)

Summer Fig & Forest 

Ages: 8-10

Dates: July 1 to Aug. 23

What better place to learn or stretch budding culinary skills than on a working farm? In “Fig & Forest: A Culinary Endeavor into the Forest,” kids will approach the culinary arts through a kaleidoscope of methods – via art, music, storytelling and even dance. The week-long sessions culminate in a meal made to share and kiddos get to go home with their very own cookbook creation. Even better: local residents get a 10% discount on the $550/kid fee, and financial assistance is available to full-time residents. 

Forest Theatre camp

Ages: 7 to 14

Dates: Wing & Song camp (ages 11 to 14), July 1 to July 25; Dancing Moths camp (ages 7 to 10), July 29 to August 15

The great thing about participating in drama arts? It’s not necessarily about becoming the next great actor — it’s about teamwork, learning to communicate and getting valuable personal insight that goes far and beyond the state. This great summer day camp uses performance to both express oneself and to be part of the beautiful natural surroundings of Sylvester Manor, all culminating in a performance in the forest at the end of the session. Forest Theatre Camp is divided into two camps, one for bigger kids (“Wing & Song”), one for littles (“Dancing Moths”). For the bigger kids, the fee is $1,800 and younger kids are $795; both are afforded a 10% discount and further financial assistance for year-round residents. 

Parrish Art Museum, 279 Montauk Highway, Water Mill, NY 631-283-2118

Summer Arts Camp

Ages: 4 – 15

Dates: July 1 – Aug. 16

These weekly day camp sessions run the brunt of the summer, offering toddlers to teens the opportunity to create original works of art, learning techniques and experimenting with materials and even learning stop-motion animation in these week-long sessions that let kids stretch their inner artist. Sessions typically start around 9:30 a.m. to lunchtime or slightly later, depending on the course, and run from $700 to $1,300 (with discounts given to Parrish Art Museum members.

The Shine Studio, 977 Bridgehampton-Sag harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 212-414-5427

Shine Summer Camp

Ages: 4 – 11

Dates: June 24 — August 30

Now in it’s 10th year, Shine’s arts-focused weekday summer camp for kids under 12 offers a jam-packed day of performing arts, music, filmmaking, STEAM-focused activities and visits from local artists and artisans among the multitude of enriching, never boring things to do under the summer sun. With weekly visits to the South Fork Natural History Museum, and activities on the Shine Studio grounds in Bridgehampton, LongHouse Reserve and other East End spots, camp runs the full summer calendar, with weekly offerings in June (since not all schools release their students for summer at exactly the same time). Email [email protected] or call 212-414-5427 for more information and pricing.

Ross School, Bridgehampton and East Hampton, 631-907-5000

Sports Camp

Ages: 4-16

Dates: June 24-Aug. 16

The Ross School offers standard summer camp, but also has an option to encourage young athlete’s at their East Hampton campus (18 Goodfriend Dr.) for week-long programs for tennis, soccer and even basketball under the tutelage of an actual Knicks coach (hey, they’ve been doing pretty this year!). There’s also a multisport program with never-get-bored options like tug of war, capture the flag relay races and kickball. An outdoor tent is set for daily stretching and yoga, too. Programs typically run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (with an 8:15 drop-off, mind you) and start at $1,500/week with discounts given for sign-ups of three weeks or more.

Stony Hills Stables, 268 Town Lane, Amagansett, 631-267-3203

Stony Hill Horse Camp

Ages: 4-13

Dates: June 17 – August 30

At this 50 years old Amagansett horse school, all equestrian skill levels are welcome, with no prior experience required. After signing up, kids undergo a half-hour evaluation by on-site trainers who will place your child in the appropriate skill-level scenario. Campers must be at least 4 years old (they get to be in the Dapples Pony Camp!), and will learn the very basics from how to groom and maintain a horse, to beginner riding techniques, while more advanced riders can up the ante on their walk, trot and cantering skills. Serious riders will have the opporunithy to practice jumping, along with more fine-tuned horse care and management instruction. Morning session begin at 9 a.m. and there’s an extended day camp in the afternoon from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.. Fees start at $1,750, with $400 per day for extended camp services.

East End Arts, 141 East Main St., Riverhead, 631-369-2171

Music Camp

Ages: 5-14

Dates: July 10-Sept. 1

Kids ages 5 to 10 can go to “Camp Superstar,” a creative art and music camp. Programs cover art, theater, music and dance, plus a featured book of the week. Older kids ages 9 to 14 can enjoy a fine art camp, offered four times a summer. Activities include everything from printmaking and drawing to collage and sculpture. On the last day, each student will build an exhibit of their work. 

Music Camp

Ages: 10 – 14 

Dates: July 8 – Aug. 30

These week-long sessions offer full-on group rehearsals and performances (“Not Your Average Band Camp”), a focused spate of workshops for solo singers (“Star Power Vocal Camp”), and fun strumming and chord learning (“Ukulele Group Camp”), with each week building to a final group performance. These deeply immersive full days (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) have limited space and scholarships are available by request here.

The Green School, 287 Merchants Path, Sagaponack, 631-237-1148

Farm and Pony Camps 

Ages: 3 to 8

Dates: June 10-Aug. 30

On this five-acre farm, kids discover the world and learn about sustainability through nature, science and art, with fun weekly themes like Gardening, Super Heroes, Fables and Stories and Insects and Bugs, and Pond Frogs and Dragon Flies. There’s also dreamy pony camp, where horse-obsessed wee ones can learn how to groom, saddle, ride and care for their favorite four-legged fast-running creatures. Weekly fees start at $1,670. 

East End Surf Club, Ditch Plains Beach, Dirt Lot, Montauk

Learning the basics before hitting the water in Montauk with East End Surf Club. (Photo courtesy of Pat Fallon/East End Surf Club)

East End Surf Kid’s Club

Ages: 6 – 13

Dates: June 24 – Aug. 30

Pat Fallon and Mike Poli’s super intensive and super fun surf camp is a kid’s endless summer dream. Starting mornings at 8 a.m., kids will learn how to analyze surf conditions, board basics and eventual skills for shredding, plus boogie boarding, beach games and team-building activities, learning how to properly stretch and warm up before hitting the waves and, important to Fallon and Poli, building confidence in kids. Snacks, juice and water soft-top surf boards and boogie boards, board wax (and, if you need it, a wet suit) are provided. Click here to book or email [email protected] for more information.

Flying Point Surf School, 78 Main St., Suite 12, Sag Harbor, 631-725-8695

Surf Camp

Ages: 5-16

Dates: July 1-Aug. 30

Kids learns both hang-10 techniques and serious respect for the ocean at this beginner and intermediate-level 10-week summer camp. From 9 a.m. to noon, kids learn water safety and rescue, how to identify safe and unsafe water conditions, paddling, swimming and surf forecasting techniques and more. Lessons take place at the ocean in Sagaponack and soft-top surf boards are provided, as are snacks (yay!) and ample drinking water, but all surfing students must bring their own 3/2 full wetsuits.

Hamptons Community Outreach, 44 Union St., Sag Harbor, 631-488-8715

Hamptons Art Camp

Ages: 6-12

Dates: July 1-Aug. 9

Register for a week or up to six for this creative, multi-disciplined summer distraction. Pick up happens at the First Presbyterian Church (aka, the landmark Old Whaler’s Church at 48 Madison St.), where kids get whisked away into a world of mask-making, print-making, pottery, sculpture, sewing, bead work, drawing and painting and more (like kid fave, slime-making!). And projects done at Hamptons Art Camp often have a little extra give-back built into them, like making food for local pantries, greeting cards for nursing home residents and dog beds for shelter pups.

Bay Street Theater, 1 Bay St., Sag Harbor, 631-725-9500

Anchoring the arts at the top of the wharf, Bay Street Theater offers a multitude of programming. (Photo courtesy of Bay Street Theater)

Theater Camps

Ages: 4-18

Dates: July 8-Aug. 30

All the world may be a stage, but at Bay Street Theater, the whole organization is a learning experience for kids fascinated by both the stage and what goes on to create a performance. Weeklong camps are divided into a multitude of interests, from writing to performing, to musicals, dance, improv, singing, Shakespeare and even camera work. The weekday-centric camp starts at 9:30 a.m. and goes through 12:30 p.m., and fees start at $450.  

Hamptons iCamp, 60 Millstone Road, Bridgehampton, 631-466-5298


Ages: 3-13

Dates: June 12-Sept. 1

“I” stands for “innovators” at this Bridgehampton-based summer STEM-centric space, where kids can combine their creativity with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). Days are filled with fun and eye-opening science experiments, work with 3D printing and drones, coding and video game design, along with more summery activities like water and camp games. Groups are separated into age-appropriately grouping, where those 5 and up can rotate through all subjects of software technology, natural science, art and design and science experiments.

School of Rock, 212 Main St., Riverhead, 631-381-0121

Music Camp

Ages: 5 – 18

Dates: July 15 – Aug. 30

The recently opened Riverhead outpost of this popular plugged-in music school offers week-long rockin’ day camp starting July 15 and running through the end of August. With everything from your basic 101 which has kids checking out different instruments and rock genres through games and other activities to full-on focus of the Beatles, even a Guardians of the Galaxy mixed tape camp. Classes start at $250 and roll up to $465 for the weekday sessions (there’s currently a 20% off flashshale going on), and begin at 10 a.m.. (It’s rock and roll, baby; who gets up any earlier than that?)