Throughout the school year, children of all ages keep their eyes on the prize – the all-important summer break. But after a few days off, kids can become bored and restless. Luckily, Sacramento has numerous options for keeping the kiddos entertained, active and engaged without spending a fortune. These activities come with the best price tag of all: Zero dollars.
Summer Concerts
Cesar Chavez Plaza

910 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-5200
www.godowntownsac.com

Pull the kids away from their iPods and headphones and let them experience music in the real world with free outdoor summer concerts. The highly popular concert series draws more than 5,000 people to Chavez Plaza each Friday evening from May through July 24. Local artists, musicians and DJs from different musical genres keep things hopping from 5 p.m. through 9 p.m., and people of every age are welcome. The line-up for the July 10, 2015 concert includes performances by Vintage Vandals, El Conductor and Justin Farren. Sunmonks, Dusty Brown and Xochitl are slated for July 17, and the final concert of the series on July 24 will include J-RAS, Arden Park Roots, Charleee, and Shaun Slaughter. There are other free entertainment events in the area, including the Fair Oaks Concerts in the Park series and Moonlight Madness films and concerts at Village Green Park amphitheater.

Play In The Park
Howe Community Park

2201 Cottage Way
Sacramento, CA 95825
(916) 927-3802
www.fecrecpark.com

Public parks are a great resource for parents, with a wide variety of no-cost activities for kids from toddlers to teens. And there are plenty of parks from which to choose, as there are more than 220 public parks and parkways just within the roughly 100 square mile area of the City of Sacramento.

Howe Community Park has a dog park in case Fido wants to come along, and a Tot Lot playground that is perfect for children five years old and younger. There are open play areas, a creek and locations for softball, tennis, volleyball and soccer for the older kids and adults. There is even a pond with a fishing pier.

Bring a picnic or food to barbeque and head to Maidu Park, which has a number of safe, fun areas for kids to play. There is a wooden maze, swings and a playground built to look like a town in the old West. Cowgirls and cowboys alike love the town’s miniature train station, hotel, restaurant and jail.

Arcade Creek Park Reserve has more than 10 acres of fun for the family, with numerous kinds of playground equipment, covered picnic areas and fitness stations. Kids love to explore the garden and nature area, and there are cool things to check out at the bridged creek, even if there is not much water flowing.

Related: Ask A Sacramento Expert: After-School Activity Ideas

Splash Around
Swanston Park

2350 Northrop Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95825
www.morpd.com

Most public parks have had to stop offering water-play areas due to the drought, but the cool, splashy play areas in these two parks have been allowed to stay open for the summer. Swanston Park has a free splash park that is open to the public, with numerous water features and play areas. Check the park’s website for open times and dates. Seely Park has swings, play forts, a sand pit, toddler area and bike trail, and the free water splash area is very popular during the sizzling days of summer.

Find A Good Beach Read
Sacramento Public Library

828 I St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 264-2700
www.saclibrary.org

The Sacramento public library system has 28 branches, each one packed with opportunities for fun. In addition to the free use of books, computers, reading programs, games and e-books, there are special activities that include music, dance, art, animals, juggling, toys, Zumba, chess, singalongs, puppet shows, anime, gaming, magic and story time for kids of all ages.

Take In Some Art
Second Saturday Art Walk

www.2ndsaturdaysacramento.com

Bring the family to this free multi-location outdoor event, which includes live music, games, dancing, vendors, art and much more. Children will be dazzled by the sights and sounds of this exciting community event.

Related: Best Batting Cages In The Sacramento Area

Valerie Heimerich is a freelance writer out of Sacramento. She typically covers business, employment, animal rescue, volunteerism and nonprofits. Her work can also be found at Examiner.com.