Activities and Opportunities for Students

Below is a listing of low or no-cost programs, events and opportunities for middle school students around the city. They are neither endorsed nor recommended by ESMS, but rather listed for reference only. Suggestions and updates can be emailed to

Big Apple Games


The Big Apple Games is an extension of Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), a program that targets students from ages 8-18 including students with special needs.

The 2019 summer program will operate from Monday, July 8th through Thursday, August 8th. Students throughout the five boroughs of New York City have the opportunity to participate in any of our programs for free. Middle and High School students have the opportunity to hone their skills in several sports that are offered.

CLICK HERE for Registration

CLICK HERE for Locations and Schedules

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code Campus offers two-week summer coding courses for girls ages 10-18 in cities across the country.

Girls Who Code Campus has courses available for girls 10 to 18 at various locations in NYC. We offer full scholarships to families who qualify, and others can receive 50% off a second registration (two girls or two courses for one student). The 2-week summer courses are filling up fast!

These courses explore new technology concepts through a fun, creative, project-based curriculum. See dates and hands-on coding course descriptions here. Our curriculum is designed to encourage girls to bring their own ideas to life and build confidence learning new material.

Explore our 2019 courses or download the full Campus 2019 Course Catalog

Questions: Email with questions.

Manhattan Girls Chorus

The Manhattan Girls Chorus is a nurturing community of young women grades 5-12 from all ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds seeking an extraordinary music education and opportunities for performing excellence. It is free for every girl to ensure they all feel equal. In addition to helping each singer realize her full musical potential, we encourage mentoring relationships with women in the arts and other professions. Self-esteem, confidence and leadership skills are cultivated through a community of love, respect and support. Our hope for every young woman is for her to develop a lifelong passion for singing, serving others and bringing her inner beauty to the world.

Audition Dates for 2019 - 2020 are as follows:
Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 from 9:00am-7:00pm 

Sign up to audition HERE.

Video - 

Manhattan Youth Summer Program (Free)



Registration will open March 4th 2019 at 12pm 
4 Week Free 2019 Summer Program 

This program is open to current 6th through 8th grade students and runs from
July 8th 2019 to August 2nd 2019 (Mondays-Fridays 9am-3pm)

For more details:



Brown Scholars Program @ AMNH

Brown Scholars Program

Registration Deadline:
EXTENDED - March 25, 2019

American Museum of Natural History presents Brown Scholars - a FREE, multi-year intensive program for students in 8th-10th grades who identify as female. Programming focuses on the intersection of computer science and science, and is intended for students who have had limited access to prior coding classes/resources. The program begins with 120 hours of coursework (after school or on weekdays in July-August 10:00am-3:00pm).

Brown Scholars who successfully complete the 120 hours of coursework are eligible to apply for a 9-month paid internship in computational research within a scientific division at AMNH, held two afternoons a week from September-June. All Brown Scholars will also participate in a college and career colloquium: a series of field trips and workshops focused on the varied academic and professional opportunities in the world of computer science. Field trips and workshops will be held once a month on Friday afternoons, October-May.   

YMCA - Teens Take the City

 New York City's YMCA
Teens Take the City Program

Teens Take the City is a civic engagement program focused specifically on NYC government and fostering community organizing skills to build thoughtful, leaders of tomorrow.

By working alongside local political leaders, teens have the chance to see how political decisions are made, and learn how to become effective agents of change. Writing legal memoranda, resolutions, and press releases gives teens hands on experience, and exposure to how the democratic process impacts NYC communities.

Teens Take the City aims to educate participants about who runs their neighborhoods and how to become active participants in school and community life. Primary program activities include community mapping projects, educational workshops, and the preparation of a presentation showcasing students’ research and findings. Through these activities, oral and written communication skills are improved, leadership abilities strengthened, and solid resumes for college developed. The program provides opportunities for students to:

Understand the New York City legislative system
Read and debate current bills before the New York City Council
Meet and work alongside local politicians, professionals and managers of NYC agencies
Hold a legislative session in New York City Council Chambers
Pursue internship opportunities within City government
Make change in their community

Contact your local branch to learn more about Teens Take the City opportunities near you!

Harlem Education Activities Fund (HEAF)

 High Expectations Middle School Enrichment

HEAF is a non-profit offering intensive academic enrichment courses, test preparation, and social and personal development activities for middle and high school students after school, on Saturdays and during the summer. The goal is to assist students from educationally and/or economically disadvantaged communities in developing education goals and intellectual & life skills.  

High Expectations is HEAF’s middle school program, integrating academic enrichment and experiential learning that begins the students’ preparation for acceptance into NYC’s top public high schools and introduces them to college preparation. By familiarizing students with the benefits of higher education as early as the sixth grade, HEAF focuses our participants’ long-term vision and gives them the tools, resources and social-emotional support necessary to thrive in middle school and gain acceptance to New York City’s most competitive high schools.

Summer Quest is a five-week summer enrichment program for middle school students that builds upon and extends skills, habits and attitudes cultivated during the school year. Mornings are devoted to English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics studies as well as preparation for the New York City Specialized High School Acceptance Test. Afternoons are devoted to a broad range of experiential electives. For HEAF’s rising 9th grade students, Summer Quest culminates in a week-long High School Boot Camp, the objective of which is to help students cope with challenges and pressures that are specific to first year high school students.

The Schomburg Center Junior Scholars Program

The Schomburg Center Junior Scholars Program

Each year, 100 youth ages 11–18 participate in the Schomburg Center's Junior Scholars program. This tuition-free Saturday program (10 AM to 3 PM) during the academic year promotes historical literacy through college-style lectures and presentations, group discussions and activities, and project-based learning. Students generate individual research, original writing, art portfolios, and collaborative multimedia arts projects from their intensive study of the Schomburg Center’s archives, exhibitions, and educational resources.

Through this program, the Schomburg's Junior Scholars increase their historical literacy, expand their knowledge of who they are as intellectual, social, cultural and artistic beings, embrace their legacy as African-American citizens, and learn about the cultures of their prolific and trailblazing ancestors.

The program typically begins in October and culminates in May with the annual Youth Summit.

More information and application deadlines can be found HERE.

Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academies

 Gilder Lehrman
Saturday Academy (Spring 2019)

@New-York Historical Society
Registration opens on January 8, 2019
- More info HERE
Classes are on Saturdays, February 23rd – April 14, 2019, 10 am – 1 pm

@Museum of the City of New York
Register by Monday, February 11, 2019 -  More info HERE
Spring 2019 courses meet on Saturdays March 2, 9, 23, 30, April 6 & 13

Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academies provide free elective courses for high school and middle school students on Saturday mornings. A winner of the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for outstanding after-school and out-of-school programs, Saturday Academies have helped more than ten thousand students gain a deeper knowledge of the humanities through American history, literature, and arts classes.

Students in Saturday Academies enhance their literacy (reading, reasoning, and writing) skills through the examination and evaluation of primary source documents; engage thought-provoking issues through class discussion, essay projects, and artistic expression; and strengthen their knowledge of the social sciences and humanities. Moreover, the program prepares students for Advanced Placement and SAT examinations as well as a lifetime of active learning and civic engagement.

All Saturday Academies are open to enrollment from all members of the community. For more information, email  For other locations, please refer to Gilder Lehrman Saturday Academy information page HERE.

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Discount Tickets for Students at Carnegie Hall

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Student Insiders have the benefit of purchasing $10 tickets online or over the phone. They are also eligible to purchase Hope and Robert F. Smith Chairman Student Seats (Parquet Level) at the Box Office.  With the pass, students are allowed to purchase up to 2 tickets per concert with the discount.

To complete your registration, please submit a photo of your valid student ID for verification, by email ( or in-person at the Carnegie Hall Box Office on 57th Street and Seventh Avenue. After submitting your ID, you will receive a confirmation email in 3 to 5 business days. The 2018–2019 Student Insider Pass is valid from confirmation through July 31, 2019.

Carnegie Hall also offers other student opportunities.    More information is HERE 



Our city’s children have big dreams. As they get older, and more curious, they want to do and explore more. Now, as they turn 10 years old, you can help them get their very own New York City government issued ID card to explore the city together.

IDNYC is now accepting applications for New Yorkers 10 and up. With free one-year memberships at museums, plus discounts on movie tickets and amusement parks, the whole family can do more, together. Even better: Your child’s IDNYC card works as a city-wide library card

We’re also adding new benefit partners for you and your family to get the most out of your city this fall!

NYC Culture Pass

Explore New York City’s museums and attractions with Culture Pass. If you have a library card, you can get free admission to dozens of cultural institutions. Save money and discover more about your city!   Reserve your pass HERE!

The Met - Free Admission


 Free Admission at The Met with your Teen Pass

Check your backpack at the door, and travel around the world and across time at the Met! All you need for unlimited free admission is this Teen Pass and a valid middle or high school ID. Use this pass and keep it in your wallet for access to some of the world’s greatest art, anytime the mood strikes you.  Get your Teen Pass  HERE !


Wednesday Atelier at The Frick


Wednesday Atelier at The Frick

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Artists of all skill levels are welcome to sketch in the tranquil, historic galleries of the Frick among the Old Masters.
Free online registration includes museum admission and after-hours access to selected galleries; participants are welcome to arrive anytime after 5:30 p.m. 

Registration is available HERE.

Art History Club at The Frick


Middle School Art History Club

Old Masters, New Eyes!

One Saturday a Month
11:00am at The Frick Collection
Classes are free for East Side Middle School students
but registration is required HERE.

American Museum of Natural History


Programs @ AMNH

The American Museum of Natural History offers a variety of experiences and opportunities for teens. From internships and research opportunities to courses workshops and special events, there are offerings to suit a range of interests.

More Information is HERE.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Programs @ The Met

The Met is the place to be for Middle School Students.

Check out classes, workshops, and special events designed especially for teens to develop their skills, and connect with art, ideas, and other young people.

Program times and topics vary.

More Information is HERE.

The Whitney Museum of American Art


Programs at The Whitney Museum

Programs at The Whitney give New York City students the opportunity to discuss art critically, think creatively, and make art with contemporary artists, educators, and their peers.

Find the latest offerings HERE.

(check events for details - some are limited to HS Students)


Cooper Hewitt, A Smithsonian Design Museum

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Cooper Hewitt Programs

Cooper Hewitt's mission is to educate, inspire and empower people through design.

They offer an array of programs and opportunities geared towards tweens and teens.

More Information is HERE.

Museum of Arts and Design



Special Events and Programs @ MAD

With the understanding that a great deal of learning occurs informally outside of school, MAD offers free admission to students with a school ID.
MAD also offers a number of programs just for teens including teen nights, artist and teen workshops, peer-to-peer tours, and work-study opportunities.

More Information is HERE.

Children's Museum of The Arts

Young Artist Kollective – YAK


CMA’s Young Artist Kollective (YAK), is a free program that provides emerging young artists in 6th-9th grade with exclusive studio space and materials, artistic and technical guidance, opportunities to meet with guest artists, monthly art parties, and a chance to learn about professional opportunities across the art world.

In YAK Open Studio Hours, members get to pick a collaborative group topic, choosing from a list of available art mediums including screen printing, animation, fashion design, sound recording, and more. For those with their own project in mind, our teaching artists are here to provide professional materials, equipment, and mentorship.

More Information is HERE.

Children's Museum of The Arts



GirlStories is a free after school program for girls ages 12-15 that empowers them to become makers and individuals, and encourages them to bring their unique perspectives into fields that are lacking a female voice. The program will focus on the experience of being: an artist, a girl, and a woman, and will reflect upon the personal and universal situations women fac

In practice, students will explore various forms of art making to develop an artistic identity and personal voice to share their unique experiences. GirlStories will expose the participants to the work of other women artists in disciplines that include: filmmaking, performance art, writing, illustration, and sculpture. The program will include visits from guest artists and hands-on experience with techniques, processes, equipment and technologies used in making art.

More information HERE.



New offerings will be listed as they become available

Should you like to see a non/not-for-profit institution listed, email