Southeast Michigan is full of learning opportunities and experiences for the little ones. Take Detroit, for example. Kids who live in the city can sign up for many Detroit youth programs and various hands-on activities, including after-school groups and extracurriculars. Detroit students will have a hard time running out of fun things to do in Detroit – or fun places in Detroit to visit. Here, we list some of the D’s programs and offerings for kids. Plus, the activities and programs included have an educational bent. From music to fitness and theater to history, there are always awesome things to do in Detroit for kids. And hey: They might not even realize how much they’re learning!
Some of these Detroit activities are free, while others have costs. There are also certain participation requirements. Check ahead to make sure none of the details for the program in which you’re interested have changed.
- Address: 1401 Broadway St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-309-9622
- Cost: Fees vary; call for details
Have an active, sporty kid? This 100,000-square-foot facility is geared toward kids and the community, and features two indoor swimming pools. Plus, you’ll find a wellness center, gymnasium with squash and racquetball courts, group exercise studios, a climbing wall and more.
- Addresses: Diehl Club, 4242 Collingwood Ave.,
Detroit; NFL/YET Club at the Dauch Campus, 16500 Tireman St., Detroit;
Holden Club, 20100 Schoenherr Road, Detroit; Bloomer Club in Munger Pre-K-8 School, 5525 Martin St., Detroit; Fauver-Martin Club, 24 Ferris Ave., Highland Park
- Phone: 248-473-1400
- Cost: $50/year (individual membership fee). Scholarships available for youth in need.
This group’s after-school programs and activities are designed to help students achieve academically, embrace a healthy lifestyle and develop good character. Programs, which are offered for boys and girls ages 6-18 enrolled in grades 1-12, range from the arts, character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, and sports, fitness and recreation. Hours vary by location.
- Addresses: 8840 Second Ave., Detroit; programs at Blessed Sacrament Community Center, 150 Belmont St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-873-0064
- Cost: Free; $5/week for karate
Check out the Breakthrough Enrichment BTE youth development classes for kids 5-13, karate for kids 8-plus, as well as Cooking Matters, a health, nutrition and cooking class at the Peaches & Greens community kitchen. Days of the week and times of programs vary.
- Address: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-494-5800
- Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
- Cost: $8/ages 13-61, $5/ages 3-12, free/members and children under 3.
Celebrate African-American history through exhibits, programs and events. Has free children’s programming weekly including storytelling and STEM activities, plus free admission during Ford Free Second Sundays.
- Address: Detroit campuses: 201 E. Kirby St.; 485 W. Milwaukee St.
- Phone: 313-664-1530
- Cost: Vary
The popular Second Saturdays is a series of one-day workshops for kids and teens ages 8-15 focusing on a different art/design discipline each month.
- Address: 2111 Woodward Ave., Suite 506, Detroit
- Phone: 313-831-3050
- Cost: free/five-week fall and spring Saturday courses; application required, $25/application fee. Scholarships available.
It’s all about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) here, where there’s programming revolving around those subjects for youth (ages 5-18; grades pre-K-12). Programs are on Saturdays during the fall and spring and in camp-format over the summer. Here, kids can do hands-on activities in real laboratories – and even in university classrooms and professional environments. Core and advanced topics offered.
- Address: 3711 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-444-7821
- Cost: Call or visit the website for details; scholarships available
Choral music education experiences aim to enrich the lives of metro Detroit’s youth and communities. They’ve got seven different choirs in schools and neighborhoods and three audition ensembles. The program is community-wide, and an inclusive program for students grades 3-8.
- Address: 1211 Trumbull St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-967-4880
- Cost: $20/year for gas, if transportation help is needed
After-school program during the winter and spring 3:30-6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday for ages 11-18. Kids can also get involved with the Urban Arts Academy, which exposes students to silk-screening, graffiti art, graphic design, music/video production and robotics, and ranges from entrepreneurship strategies to creative self-expression. Summer programs offered 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday. The focus in that program is on life skills, community service projects, arts/crafts, recreation and field trips.
- Address: 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-833-1805
- Cost: free
The Detroit Historical Society welcomes visitors to experience exhibits detailing Detroit’s dynamic history. Signature exhibits include The Streets of Old Detroit, America’s Motor City, The Allesee Gallery of Culture, Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy, Doorway to Freedom – Detroit and the Underground Railroad and the Gallery of Innovation. Open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
- Address: 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-833-7900
- Cost: Admission: free/residents of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties; otherwise $8/adults, $4/ages 6-17. Most programs free with museum admission.
Aside from the fun and education the museum itself has to offer, the DIA features drop-in art-making activities every weekend, drawing in the galleries for all ages and Sunday family programs (puppet shows, artist demonstrations). Also offers self-guided tours kids can take their adults on, like “10 Things to Do with Kids.”
Address: 13030 W. Seven Mile Road, Detroit
Cost: Contact for price
Kids can master the art of karate with dedicated instructors. After-school program includes transportation provided from school, meals, homework help, Internet access and more. Little Dragons is for ages 3-5 and Beginners for 6-11. Both help develop a positive attitude, improved concentration, conflict resolution strategies and self-confidence.
- Address: 111 W. Willis St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-833-1600
- Cost: $45-$150/based on program and time of registration. Medicaid discounts available.
Open to girls and boys ages 4-19, these year-round recreational programs for soccer, volleyball, baseball, softball, T-ball and coach pitch, football, cheer, track and field, basketball and golf are a great way to get active in the city. Most programs last two to three months at various Detroit locations. The coaches are volunteers trained by Detroit PAL.
- Address: Main library: 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-481-1360
- Cost: free for Detroit residents and students enrolled at a Detroit school with a Detroit Public Library card.
Visit a branch near you and check online for various programs and activities. At the main library, find the HYPE program (Helping Young People Excel) at the Detroit Public Library Teen Center, a space just for teens with programs and services ranging from crafts and music to reading groups and games. The program is for teens ages 13-18, and hours are tailored to school hours during the school year. Library closed Sunday and Monday. Visit detroitpubliclibrary.org/hype for calendar.
- Addresses: 17321 Telegraph Road, Northwest Detroit; 13600 Virgil St., Northwest Detroit; 12121 Hemingway, Redford
- Phone: 313-255-0900, ext. 2109
- Cost: free
BrightStars offers free parent-child playgroups for children birth to age 5 (five days a week at three locations) plus family events, parent workshops, community resources and “BrightStars at Home” home visits in Northwest Detroit to families with children ages birth to 3.
- Address: 100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit
- Phone: 313-833-5583
- Cost: free
Experience displays detailing the relationship between Detroit and the river that shares its name. Signature exhibits include Built by the River, the Gothic Room, the Ship Model Showcase, the William Clay Ford Pilot House and the Miss Pepsi championship hydroplane. Open 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday and Fridays during the summer (June 5 through Labor Day weekend).
- Address: 6445 E. Vernor Highway, Detroit
- Contact: Email on website
- Cost: free; must have full participation in academic and community service programming.
In addition to boxing, DBG provides on-site tutoring and the chance to volunteer through neighborhood cleanups, soup kitchens and more. The program is only for Detroit students ages 8-18.
- Address: 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Suite 500, Detroit
- Phone: 800-482-6734
- Cost: $15/year
This local chapter facilitates the Girl Scout Leadership Experience – a premier development program for girls. Adult volunteers are mentors and role models. Open to grades K-12.
- Address: 1927 Rosa Parks Blvd., Suite 130, Detroit
- Phone: 313-496-4000
- Cost: free/program participation, students responsible for dance supplies
Since 2000, programs here have celebrated the beauty and humanity of African and world cultures through music, movement and folklore. Heritage Works’ mission is to promote youth and community development through traditions, arts and education.
- Address: Detroit Public Library Main Branch, 5201 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-577-4601
- Cost: free
This after-school teen performance poetry troupe is for high schoolers ages 14-19, and offers mentorship by adult poets with strong publication and performance credentials. Youth perform at venues, see their work in an anthology and compete to attend a national youth poetry slam.
- Address: 8129 Packard Ave., Warren; 13560 McNichols Road, Detroit; also
- Phone: 586-759-3895
- Cost: Contact for details
Provides learning through play groups for parents and caregivers with kids birth-5 years, and is designed to foster early literacy. Home visits for families with children birth-age 4. Plus, offers training for child care providers, assistance for Great Start to Quality child care providers and assists parents in selecting a Great Start to Quality child care site.
- Addresses: Ford Resource and Engagement Center (FREC) at the Mexicantown Mercado, 2826 Bagley St., Detroit; Center of Music and Performing Arts Southwest (COMPAS), 8701 W. Vernor Highway, Detroit
- Phone: 313-384-2902
- Cost: Tuition: $30/month for one weekly class; steep discounts for individuals/families who enroll in more than one class/week. Partial/full scholarships for those in need.
At FREC, find dance, yoga, karate, art, media arts, creative writing, music and drama classes for all ages in afternoons/evenings Mondays-Thursdays and 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. Living Arts also has three youth dance companies you can audition for if you want to rehearse and perform regularly.
At COMPAS, there are dance and tumbling classes for various ages. Most of Living Arts’ classes target specific ages – like toddlers, kids, teens and adults. Some require previous art experience; most are open to beginners.
- Address: 5020 John R St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-577-8400, option 5
- Cost: General admission: $14/adults, $11/kids 2-12 and seniors, free/members.
Find hands-on exhibits, the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre (Michigan’s only dome IMAX), live stage shows and activities, and a planetarium transporting kids to a virtual universe at this fun, dynamic hands-on museum. The museum touts offering programs that inspire children and their families to discover, explore and appreciate science, technology, engineering and math.
Summer hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday. School-year hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday-Tuesday.
- Address: 2251 Antietam Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-872-6910
- Cost: Contact for details
Year-round theater and vocal music training for artists ages 7-18. Core training programs take place at Mosaic’s home within the University Prep Science & Math Elementary School. General auditions for Mosaic run May and June.
- Address: 3408 Woodward Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-578-9716
- Cost: Costs vary, financial aid available; contact for details
Kids of all ages can enjoy high-quality, affordable music lessons at CMS-Detroit in Midtown. A variety of early childhood music classes are tailored for ages birth to 9. Plus, they offer MSU Spartan Jazz for middle and high school students who want to play in jazz combos or big band, plus a few vocalists are accepted. Programs are offered on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
- Address: 19800 Pembroke Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-537-5770
- Cost: Prices and age requirements vary by program
Organization puts students in touch with different programs, such as summer camps and leadership opportunities, in the northwest Detroit region.
- Address: 10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-626-2000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cost: Youth workshops $30/child, $45/child with parent
Offers a variety of learning experiences that nurture curiosity and self-expression, from half-day hand-building workshops and week-long summer camp sessions to a full semester of wheel-throwing classes. The Education Studio offers science, ceramic technology and math-based classes for those who plan to study and pursue careers in math, science, technology or engineering.
- Address: 5675 Larkins St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-285-9323 or 313-515-9388
- Cost: free
Has play groups for kids ages 0-5, family literacy events and a lending library of toys and books. Free child care during workshops. Classes are offered in Spanish, too.
- Address: 16800 Trinity St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-535-9200
- Cost: free
Kids are assessed in reading and math levels upon enrollment so coaches can create personalized education plans. After-school programs open to grades 1-5. Core focus on improving math, reading, comprehension and vocabulary, and an introduction to STEM studies.
- Address: 311 E. Grand River Ave., Detroit
- Phone: 313-965-8430
- Cost: Contact for details
The Carr Center Arts Academy consists of both academic year and summer programs, providing challenging educational and training experiences in the fine and performing arts across multiple disciplines: visual arts, dance, theater and jazz music. The academic year programs operate on Saturdays and serve as feeders for the more intense and larger summer program.
- Address: Schools throughout the city of Detroit
- Phone: 313-285-2234 or email@example.com
- Cost: One-time bus fee; free otherwise.
Our LAND (Learn. Admire. Nurture. Dream.) is a school-based, yearlong environmental education program offering in-class lessons and field trips to Rouge Park for Detroit fourth- through sixth-grade classes.
- Addresses: 19928 Livernois Ave., Detroit; Marygrove College, 8425 W. McNichols Road, Detroit
- Phone: 248-792-9438
- Cost: Apply online, contact for details
Here, students do more than just learn to golf. Students can check out two programs: One at Marygrove College focuses on life-skills training, education preparedness, college or post-secondary training, internships and career-based employment. Meets Monday/Wednesday for 30 weeks, ages 17-18. Application online. A second program, Access Detroit Future, is year-round life-skills training, including financial education and mentoring. This program is Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for teens 14-18.
- Address: 8300 Longworth St., Detroit
- Phone: 313-841-4447
- Cost: Must live in 48209 ZIP code. Costs vary based on program and/or household income.
After-school programs here are three hours per day, five days per week at multiple locations. They offer youth employment programs focusing on job skills and hands-on work experience for teens ages 14-18, Ninth Grade Counts! For eighth graders, Southwest Detroit Athletic League for kids ages 11-18, Youth Leadership opportunities, the Southwest Detroit College Access Network and English as a second language.
- Addresses: P.O. Box 6555, Detroit; various venues throughout school year
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Cost: Minimal costs; contact for details.
Advanced students who have experience playing string instruments can join and play with a group of kids and teens at various venues throughout the school year. During the summer, there’s a two-week summer camp at Wayne State University. For ages 8-18.
- Address: P.O. Box 35466, Detroit
- Phone: 313-443-5834
- Cost: Prices and registration fees vary
Have a sporty kid? This group offers cheerleading, football and basketball programs to kids ages 5-14.
- Address: 7375 Woodward Ave., Suite 2800, Detroit
- Phone: 313-309-1300
- Cost: Contact for details
Offers programs for tweens to young adults, including digital and cultural art, sports programs such as basketball and martial arts, and a beat-making program.
- Address: P.O. Box 06650, Detroit
- Phone: 313-831-1533
- Cost: free
Here, students ages 14-17 can get involved with the six-week Street Team program. Students must be from Highland Park, Hamtramck or Detroit. The program includes mentoring, job training, leadership development and more. The Bezalel Project is an after-school program that engages kids in arts and crafts – plus an entrepreneurial portion for middle schoolers.
- Address: Greenleaf Bodywork Wellness Education Center, 253 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale
- Phone: 313-879-5400
- Cost: $13/child, first class free
Educational fitness to improve flexibility, focus, concentration, attention and learning. Kids get to learn youth-level tai chi and playful, creative movement, which promotes calmness and confidence. Classes run 6:30 p.m. Mondays for grades 1-8, and 3 p.m. Saturdays for grades 1-3 only. Kindergarteners with good listening skills are invited to try Saturday classes.
This guide was originally published in May 2015.