Summer Camp 2020: Academic Enrichment Camps for Des Moines Kids

Summer Camp 2020: Academic Enrichment Camps for Des Moines Kids

***With the fluidity of COVID-19 pandemic, summer camp officials are cautiously making plans to welcome campers come June, while also admitting those plans could change at any time.

Some camps may either alter their programming, postpone start dates or cancel altogether. Please use caution and be sure to check out the camp’s cancellation policy before registering.

If you have a child who wants to spend the summer building robots, learning to code, or brush up on their math skills, you’re in luck. Des Moines has quite a few summer camps where kids can expand their academic knowledge. At these camps and classes children can not only have fun and make new friends, but also learn new skills to help them thrive during the next school year.

For additional info on summer programs across the Des Moines metro, be sure to check out our Summer Camp Guide.

Note: This is a working list, so check back often for new listings.  If you know of a summer camp or class that you would like to have included to this guide, please email the listing information to or leave a comment below.

dsm4kids does NOT host any summer camps. Please contact the specific venue or organization hosting the camp for additional information and to register.

Academic Enrichment Summer Camps in Des Moines:

Multiple Discipline Academic Camps in Des Moines

Camp Brainiac

Camp Brainiac is a summer day camp run exclusively by Iowa licensed teachers. Camp is specifically for elementary school-age kids 6-12! Camp Brainiac gives kids a break from the classroom but not from learning. Brainiac campers will spend their days immersed in fun experiential learning designed around a different theme each week. Registration is Mach 1 – May 31, 2020.


During the summer kids can go to college…DMACC Kids College, that is. DMACC campuses offer fun, summer youth camps. With classes like Career Discovery Camp, Web and Video Game Design, Robotics, Maker Camp, STEM Camps and more, there is something to tempt kids with a variety of interests they are already excited about. All in person camps have been canceled.  Check out their Virtual Camps

Iowa State University

Each year, Iowa State hosts a variety of Summer Academic Camps. This website gives parents, educators, and pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students a chance to learn about the youth programs available through Iowa State University. You can also find information and contacts for the academic program you’re interested in by visiting individual department websites. All in person camps have been canceled. 

Polk County 4-H

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. To register or learn more about the programs offered visit Polk County 4-H Virtual Summer Activities.

Tiger Lily STEM

Tiger Lily STEM Summer Camp provides girls in K-12 grades with fun-filled, real world exploration that opens their eyes to the world around them. STEM Camp is an exciting and hands-on learning opportunity for girls, but boys are welcome too, with a special emphasis on the STEM curriculum areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics). 

Engineering Camps in Des Moines

Bricks 4 Kidz

Bricks 4 Kidz camps are a fun way for kids ages 5-13+ to spend their summer. Using specialized LEGO® Technic pieces such as gears, axles, and electric motors, children work in pairs to construct a variety of Bricks 4 Kidz models, as well as build creations of their own during free-play periods. Experienced teachers help campers explore the world of engineering, architecture and animated movie-making. 

Iowa State Engineering Kids

ISEK Camps are a cool way to check out the latest technology, awesome engineering activities, and experience Iowa State’s campus, not to mention toy around with some amazing robotics. ISEK Camps are a great way to learn more about how engineers solve problems, get creative, and innovate cool solutions. They are cancelling their summer offerings for 2020 due to the current and potential threat of the COVID-19.

Summer Camp 2020: Academic Enrichment Camps for Des Moines Kids –

Entrepreneurial Camps in Des Moines

Business Horizons

Business Horizons is not your typical “summer camp.” Each summer, 75+ high school students (grades 9-12) from across the state come together on a college campus to take part in the five-day Business Horizons experience. The week is jam-packed with team-based activities and competitions with an entrepreneural twist – all designed to help campers develop their leadership skills, discover their strengths, prepare for college and your career, gain experience and so much more! 

JA BizTown Summer Camp

JA BizTown Summer Camp is an indoor, academic camp geared towards kids ages 10-13 that combines classroom-style teaching with hands-on activities. While the camp will focus on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and teamwork, kids will also have fun.  For those who have participated in JA BizTown as a student, the JA BizTown Summer Camp is an extended version of their school experience with additional camp activities mixed in. Registration opens mid-February.

Community Youth Concepts

Youth, ages 11-17 can participate in a “Summer of Service” with CYC’s Youth Volunteer Corps.  Summer camps are offered in June and July, Monday through Thursday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  They are also offering a FREE “Afternoon of Service” from 3:00 to 7:00 pm.  Scholarship and registration forms can be found on their website and service hours count toward Silver Cord.

Math Camps in Des Moines

Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center

This Center offers private tutoring, academic programs, small-group sessions, online tutoring and speech therapy to students of all ages. During the summer kids in early elementary can work on their math skills in a fun and interactive, yet structured way.


In the summer kids can lose two to three months’ worth of math skills.  Mathnasium Learning Centers offer customized math tutoring services helping kids in grades K-12 develop math skills through homework lessons and tutorials.  Classes are offered year-round. 

Science Camps in Des Moines

Camp Invention

Camp Invention is a national organization that offers a number of camps throughout the summer to kids entering first through sixth grade.  Camp Invention features collaborative learning opportunities led by local teachers in a safe environment. Programs are being offered in Adel, Ankeny, Johnston, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale and Waukee.  Pre-registration is required. This summer’s program has been reinvented to include both at-home and in-person options. Format will vary by location.

Science Center of Iowa

Find more to explore with SCI Summer Camps! From chemistry to astronomy and from invention to dissection, SCI Summer Camps provide week-long experiences for students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade. Summer camps will run June 8 through August 14, 2020.  You can register for classes: on-line, by phone, mail or in person. SCI Summer Camps will operate virtually for the first two weeks (June 8-12 and June 15-19) and plans to move to onsite operations starting June 22. To limit camp sizes, capacities have been reduced and remaining spaces are limited.

Technology Camps in Des Moines

Code Ninjas

Kids love technology, games, and having fun with friends. Parents want to give their kids the best and brightest future possible. Everyone wins at Code Ninjas. Kids learn to code through their engaging game-based curriculum that teaches teamwork, logic, math, and problem solving. They gain vital skills while having a blast. The offer fun and rewarding coding camps for kids ages 7-14.

Sylvan Learning Center

By combining super cool, kid-friendly technology, fun-filled games and hands-on projects (such as building a robot or programming a video game), Sylvan transforms learning into a truly memorable experience. Camps are available at Sylvan Learning Centers in Johnston and Des Moines during the summer, as well as during winter and spring breaks. Sylvan also partners with local organizations to deliver programs throughout the metro.

Tech Journey

Tech Journey, Inc. was formed to help students with limited resources pursue careers in technology. Tech Journey organizes unique summer technology camp experiences in the Des Moines area which connect youth to technology professionals and real-world technology application.  Watch their website for summer 2020 camp opportunities. 



What academic enrichment camps are you signing your kids up for this summer? We’d love to hear!

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