With social distancing still in place and with summer temps on the rise, it’s not easy keeping kiddos entertained. Good news is that online opportunities for fun, play and entertainment are virtually endless! We rounded up a list of virtual field trips, free online camps, animal encounters, story times and reading resources and other awesome activities that can still make summer cool.
If you’re looking for even more summer-time family fun in Des Moines, be sure to check out our Summer Fun Guide!
This is your guide to virtual summer adventures for Des Moines kids:
Local Virtual Resources
Summer is full of opportunities to play and learn. Summer might look a little different this year, but Camp PBS KIDS is here to fill your days with creativity, exploration and fun for the whole family. Explore ideas, tips and activities around different themes with your favorite PBS KIDS characters.
You can always count on public libraries to provide some of the best fun and free events during summer. There’s still time to sign up for a summer reading program, all of which are happening virtually. You can also visit a local library’s website or social media site to check out their virtual offerings, like story times.
The Des Moines Art Center has launched seven virtual tours of their permanent collections and special exhibitions allowing visitors to click through the extensive collections as if you were at the museum, walking through the galleries.
Explore the world of plants at home. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden has created several activities and games on their website to keep your family engaged with the world of plants between visits. Learn about cooking with medicinal herbs and spices from your own garden, watch a pollination video, complete a germination experiment at home and more.
Everyone is invited to come to “Talk of Iowa” Summer Camp. Every Tuesday at 10:00 am all summer long, they’ll feature ideas and projects that will be fun (and maybe even educational) for listeners of all ages. Visit their webpage to listen to past episodes at your convenience!
Polk County 4-H has prepared a summer packed with lots of FREE virtual fun! Zoom lessons are open to all, but geared primarily to K-5th grade youth. Activities will focus on STEM, fitness, health, art and more. Registration is required.
Join Reiman Gardens for a weekly virtual version of Plant Pals and Junior Master Gardeners. Learn about the gardening process and explore how plants grow. This program engages children in novel, “hands-on” learning experiences that promote a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment, and cultivate the mind. Perfect for youth K-3rd grades. Pre-Registration is required.
Explore science, even when you can’t visit SCI. Looking for science activities and programming to fill your days at home? Good news: the Science Center has virtual programs and educational resources for you. Explore combustion, try some kitchen chemistry experiments and how you can “Go Beyond with SCI.” These virtual learning resources take you outside of the walls of SCI and bring science to your homes.
Join Goldie the Goldfinch and explore the state together through new online activities to bring history alive from the comfort of your own home! Each week of summer, historians of all ages will focus on a state historic site, an Iowa history topic or a local museum.
Other Fun Virtual Resources
- Disney Parks Youtube Channel
- Marvel HQ
- Special Olympics’ School of Strength
- Julie’s Library
- Harry Potter at Home
- TIME for Kids
- Planet Arcade Games
- NASA at Home
- National Geographic Kids
- Google Arts and Culture
- Buckingham Palace Virtual Tour
- Henry Doorly Zoo Virtual Field Trips
- National Park Virtual Visits
Have you found some great virtual resources that your kids love? We’d love to hear about them!