FREE Things to Do with Your Kids Over Winter Break in Des Moines

FREE Things to Do with Your Kids Over Winter Break in Des Moines

Find FREE things to do for Winter Break 2018 here

Kids love getting out of school over Winter Break, but it can take a toll on us parents who might be running low on entertainment ideas or cash after all that holiday shopping. Don’t sweat it, we’re here to help! We’ve rounded up 20 FREE things you can do with your kids over winter break in Des Moines. 

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on December 26th

Go on a Winter Hike

Take a hike with a Polk County Conservation naturalist and discover the wonder of the forest in the winter in Fort Des Moines Park.

When: December 26, 2017 at 1:00 pm

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on December 27th

Christmas Break Learn To Bowl Classes

Kids can learn basic bowling fundamentals from certified coaches at Great Escape in Pleasant Hill.  Topics covered include: equipment and safety, approach and delivery and hand position and spot bowling.  Find the registration form on-line.

When: December 27, 2017 at 10:00 to 11:00 am

Winter Break Movie

Need to get out of the house? Head to the Indianola Public Library for a movie and craft! All ages. Children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

When: December 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

Matinee at the Museum

See the movie “Ice Age: The Meltdown”. Featuring the animation of Iowan Adam Van Wyk. Manny, Sid, and Diego discover that the ice age is coming to an end, and join everybody for a journey to higher ground. On the trip, they discover that Manny, in fact, is not the last of the woolly mammoths. While at the State Historical Museum you can also learn about Mammoth fossils from the museum collection and check out the “Mammoth: Witness to Change” exhibit.

When: December 27, 2017 at 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  (The movie will start at 1:30 pm.)

Tricky Tracks

Become an animal detective at the Altoona Public Library! You’ll learn how to identify different Iowa animals by the clues they leave behind. A representative from Polk County Conservation will help us learn about animals from Iowa.

When: December 27, 2017 at 1:00

Animal Tracks with Polk County Conservation

Kids and families! Do you love to learn about animals? Become an animal detective at the South Side Library during Winter Break! Polk County Conservation Naturalist Lewis Major will show families how to identify different Iowa animals by the clues they leave behind. All ages are welcome!

When:  December 27, 2017 at 3:00 pm

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on December 28th

Christmas Break Learn To Bowl Classes

Kids can learn basic bowling fundamentals from certified coaches at Great Escape in Pleasant Hill.  Topics covered include: equipment and safety, approach and delivery and hand position and spot bowling.  Find the registration form on-line.

When: December 28, 2017 at 10:00 to 11:00 am

Winter Break Movie

Need to get out of the house? Head to the Indianola Public Library for a movie and craft! All ages. Children 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

When: December 28, 2017 at 10:00 am

Matinee at the Museum

See the movie “Moana”. Co-directed by Sioux City native Ron Clements. In Ancient Polynesia, when a terrible curse incurred by the Demigod Maui reaches Moana’s island, she answers the Ocean’s call to seek out the Demigod to set things right. While at the State Historical Museum, craft and design your own  (Hei Hei) rooster out of Model Magic to take on your own adventures around the state.

When: December 28, 2017 at 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  (The movie will start at 1:30 pm.)

Winter Survival with Polk County Conservation

Not all animals hibernate to survive winter! Join the Forest Avenue Library to discover other methods animals use to survive harsh Iowa winters with a naturalist from Polk County Conservation.

When: December 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Teen Video Game Tournament: Smash, Dance, & Crash Edition

It’s a video game tournament extravaganza at the Johnston Public Library! They’ll be playing Smash Bros., Just Dance, and Mario Kart. Compete in one tournament or all three! There will be fabulous prizes for the winners and yummy snacks for everyone. For students in 6th grade and up. Please register beginning December 1.

When: December 28, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Olaf of Snow Party

Do you adore a little snowman who loves to give warm hugs? We do too! Enjoy an evening of having “Olaf of” fun at the Clive Public Library. Make a craft hat, sip on hot cocoa, explore winter traditions around the world and meet Olaf’s favorite princesses — Anna and Elsa of course! Registration required.

When: December 28, 2017 at 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

Snow Ball

Come dressed in your best and ready to move at the Urbandale Public Library. We’ll have a ball at this dance party. We’ll have a DJ, balloons, and bubbles, and the evening will end with an epic indoor ‘snowball’ fight! It’s the perfect chance to dance away the Winter Blues. The cold never bothered us anyway!  For kids ages 0 to11 and their families. Please register by family.

When: December 28, 2017 at 6:00 to 8:00 pm.

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on December 29th

Family Magic

Jonathan May presents comedy and magic for all ages at the Urbandale Public Library.

When: December 29, 2017 at 10:00 am.

Winter Birds

Winter is a great time to bird watch. You’ll learn how to identify some common Iowa birds and get to know much more about our fine feathered friends at the West Des Moines Public Library. Presented by Lewis Major of Polk County Conservation. For ages 4-12. Registration required.

When: December 29, 2017 at 11:00 am

Matinee at the Museum

See the movie: “Open Season”. Starring the voice of Iowa native Ashton Kutcher. Boog, a domesticated 900lb. Grizzly bear, finds himself stranded in the woods 3 days before Open Season. Forced to rely on Elliot, a fast-talking mule deer, the two form an unlikely friendship and must quickly rally other forest animals if they are to form a rag-tag army against the hunters. While at the State Historical Museum, view taxidermy artifacts from the museum collection.

When: December 29, 2017 at 1:00 to 3:00 pm.  (The movie will start at 1:30 pm.)

Winter Birds at the East Side Library

Winter is a great time to bird watch. An expert from Polk County Conservation will teach how to identify some common Iowa birds and get to know much more about our fine feathered friends. This is a family friendly event for all ages!

When: December 29, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Winter Birds

Winter is a great time to bird watch. You’ll learn how to identify some common Iowa birds and get to know much more about our fine feathered friends. This program is presented by Polk County Conservation at the Franklin Avenue Library.

When: December 29, 2017 at 3:00 pm

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on December 30th

Library Breakout!

You’re locked in the Urbandale Public Library – can you escape? Work with a team to find the clues, solve the puzzles, and break free before time runs out. Bring a group, or make new friends! Each team will have 45 minutes to complete the activity. For ages 12 – 17 ONLY, registration required.

When: December 30, 2017 at 1:00, 2:00 and 3:00 pm

FREE Things to do in Des Moines on January 2nd

Family Open Gym

Shoot a few hoops before you go back to school. Family Open Gym is at the Grimes Community Complex.  They have the basketballs for you or you can bring in your own. Kids 10 and under must be directly supervised by an adult

When: January 2, 2018 at 8:00 am to 5:00 pm

What will you be doing in Des Moines during Winter Break? Let us know in the comments!

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