Summertime fun for children isn’t limited to playing video games until school starts in the fall. There are many activities in Sacramento that will keep the kids both entertained and engaged, while teaching them a few new things along the way. These are a few of the best, geared toward different ages of children from tots to teens.
Aviation Summer Camp
Aerospace Museum of California
3200 Freedom Park Dr.
McClellan, CA 95652
(916) 643-3192

Teens interested in the world of aviation will truly appreciate this four-day camp. Only 12 students, aged 13 to 17, are allowed per session; the two summer sessions begin on July 11 or Aug. 1, 2016. Participants will learn about aircraft design, propulsion, aerodynamics, space exploration and physiology, use aircraft simulators, visit the U.S. Coast Guard station and even take a flight with a professional pilot. The camp takes place at the fascinating Aerospace Museum, which has a four-acre air park with 50 different aircrafts as well as a huge exhibit hall.

Ancient Art Rocks!
Maidu Museum & Historic Site
1970 Johnson Ranch Drive
Roseville, CA 95661
(916) 774-5934

Nisenan Maidu natives raised many generations of families on the site where the Maidu Museum is now situated. Ancient pictographs and petroglyphs are evidence that tribe members found ways to make beautiful artwork, using tools of their own design. Children aged 9 – 12 will actually make carving tools of stone and bone, brushes from plants and feathers and several rock-based paints. By the end of the five-day camp, participants with have created their own artwork using the tools of their own design. Preregistration is required, and the camp goes from July 25 – 29, 2016.

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Read To A Dog
Sacramento Public Library
2443 Marconi Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95821
(916) 264-2700

Designed for children ages 6 – 12, Read to a Dog is one of the Sacramento Public Library’s most beloved programs. Kids can pick out a library book, or bring one from home, and read it out loud to a patient, friendly dog. There are many benefits to the program: the child gets to practice their reading skills, gets comfortable reading aloud and has a positive experience with a loving animal. An adult volunteer accompanies the canine, and most of the dogs have also been trained for animal assisted therapy. Read to a Dog activities happen throughout the summer at multiple library locations. To find one close to home, visit the library website and search for “Read to a Dog” under events.

Driving Simulator
Safety Center/ Safetyville USA
3909 Bradshaw Road
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 438-3385

The Safety Center is a nonprofit dedicated to saving lives and reducing potential injuries, and offers a number of programs and activities for kids of all ages. The Driving Simulator is a way for teens to have a great time while learning how to be safe on the road. Best for kids who have some experience behind the wheel, the interactive simulator lets teens experience defensive driving, hazard response and other complex driving situations. To learn more or arrange for a class, call the center at (916) 438-3385.

Crocker Art Museum
216 O St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 808-7000

Crocker offers a number of fun and educational opportunities for children this summer. Each month on Sunday Playdays, kids ages 4 to 6 can prepare for school time by making an art project to take home. The types of materials used are inspired by a different work of art each month. Children aged 5 and older will enjoy a funny, playful tour of the gallery during a Kids & Company Gallery Adventure, which is perfect for the whole family. Sketch It is another monthly program, also open to kids 5 years old and up, in which children can get drawing lessons.

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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