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What to Do After School

Programs that work out your child’s body and mind—whether she’s a prodigy or just playing around.

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Hockey
For Budding Pros
Hockey is serious business at Chelsea Piers’ Sky Rink. Kids as young as 5 can play on traveling teams, coached by former Olympians, that practice four times a week ($3,000 from October to March; $1,000 to $1,500 for non-traveling teams that meet only on weekends; 212-336-6100 or chelseapiers.com).

For Amateurs
The volunteer-driven Ice Hockey in Harlem program is completely free of charge, but no less rigorous for that—there’s a weekly hockey-theory class that sneaks in other subjects like geography and social studies. Season runs from October through April (212-722-0044 or icehockeyinharlem.org).


Tennis
For Budding Pros
Those who yearn to kick up the same dirt as Serena and Venus go to the USTA National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Promising 4-year-olds practice once a week in the Tennis for Tots program; at the high-performance tournament-training level, there are classes several times a week and match play on Fridays and weekends ($150 and $315 for nine weeks; 718-760-6200 or ntc.usta.com).

For Amateurs
Free tennis lessons, as well as racquets and balls, are provided by the New York Junior Tennis League, an after-school program designed for beginner and intermediate levels with locations in all Þve boroughs (718-786-7110 or nyjtl.org).


Gymnastics
For Budding Pros
Chelsea Piers is the only place in the city sanctioned for competition by USA Gymnastics, with twenty coaches led by 1976 Olympic bronze medalist Peter Kormann. The 23,000-square-foot gymnastic training center in the Field House has more than 100 pieces of high-end equipment (from $430 for seventeen weeks; 212-336-6500 or chelseapiers.com).

For Amateurs
There’s no pressure to do anything more than have fun at the 14th Street Y’s tumbling classes, which emphasize balance, flexibility, and coordination ($310 for after-school-program members for fifteen classes; 212-780-0800 or 14streety.org).


Chess
For Budding Pros
The elite Marshall Chess Club, a private organization housed in its own Victorian townhouse on West 10th Street, has a membership composed of 40 percent kids—including half of last year’s world-championship U.S. junior team ($160 for membership; 212-477-3716 or marshallchess-club.org).

For Amateurs
Thompson Street between West 3rd Street and Washington Square Park is a chess lover’s paradise that’s stuffed with stores. At places like the Chess Shop, the oldest store on the block, unkempt masters work out private-school preppies for just a dollar an hour (230 Thompson St., nr. W. 3rd St.; 212-475-9580).


The Arts
For Budding Pros
Kids in the comprehensive Hi Art! program listen to full-length foreign-language operas, visit current art exhibitions, learn classical dance, and make their own works of art. It all culminates with a trip to the opera, usually at Lincoln Center ($350 to $660 per semester for a weekly class; 212-362-8190 or hiartkids.com).

For Amateurs
High Five is the do-it-yourself program for kids low on cash but high on cultural interests. While everyone else pays upwards of $100 for a coveted ticket to a hot show or opening, High Five kids have their pick of almost any cultural event for a mere $5 (212-445-8587 or high5tix.org).


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