Summer Camp 2020: Des Moines Day Camp & Sleepaway Camp Guide

Summer Camp 2020: Des Moines Day Camp & Sleepaway Camp Guide

***With the fluidity of COVID-19 pandemic, summer camp officials are cautiously making plans to welcome campers in 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.

Summer is an exciting season, full of family fun and activity. With no school and kids in need of entertainment and adventure, it can also be a stressful time for parents. Many families take advantage of summer camps to add to their child’s engagement over the summer. Camps run the spectrum as far as activities, duration and location are concerned. To help you plan a summer that is both engaging and stress-free, we have rounded up a quick guide to finding the right day camp or sleepaway camp for your kiddos!

Take a look at some of the top summer day camps and sleepaway camps in the Des Moines area below, and check out our Summer Camp Guide for more awesome ideas.

Note: This is a working list, so check back often for new listings.  If you know of a day camp or sleepaway summer camp 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.

Summer Day Camps and Sleepaway Camps for Kids in Des Moines:

Summer Day Camps in Des Moines

Altoona Campus – Kids Club

Altoona Campus summer camp programs run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, with early drop-off available as early as 6:30 am and late pick up until 6:00 pm, Monday through Friday. They provide breakfast and lunch options as well as an afternoon snack. Programming changes yearly and there’s always something new and fun.  Kids Club was suspended in March.  A reopening date is to be determined.  

Ankeny Community Schools – Summer Adventures Camp

Ankeny Community Schools is gearing up for a fantastically fun and engaging summer with their Summer Adventures Camps. They have some fun themes in store and the day camp offers a safe, fun, high-quality, hands-on enrichment and summer of fun. The District will communicate a decision as to whether camp will be held as scheduled; postponed; or cancelled on/around May 22.

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa offers several day camp options in the Des Moines area. They have decided to CANCEL all camp programs at Hantesa, modify programs at Canwita (Ames), and provide virtual camp opportunities for Des Moines day camp programs. You can purchase their “Curbside Camp” now at

Clive Parks & Recreation – Fun, Sun and Splash Day Camps

Clive Parks and Recreation offers their Fun, Sun and Splash Day Camps from June 8 through August 21, 2020. This all-day weekly adventure starts and ends at the Special Events Building. Summer Program registration has been postponed to an as-yet-determined date. Please visit the website and Clive Parks and Recreation social media for updates and new registration dates.

Des Moines Christian School – Summer Child Care

Looking for some fun for your children this summer? Have them spend the summer with friends going on field trips and exploring all the fun Des Moines Christian School’s campus has to offer. For kids ages 2-12.

Des Moines Public Schools – Metro Kids

Metro Kids is a fee-based program that provides before and after care at elementary schools. Metro Kids also provides various programs during the summer from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM at nine schools in the district. Day campers go on field trips twice a week. Activities include swimming and excursions to popular local attractions. Because the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever changing situation, and taking many factors into consideration, including guidelines from the CDC, Metro Kids will not be open in June.

Engman Camp Shalom

Engman Camp Shalom is sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines and is a day camp where kids find fun and friendship, while also exploring their interests and discovering new experiences. Available for kids entering kindergarten through 7th grade. They will not be holding Engman Camp Shalom Weeks 1 & 2 (June 8-19) and they are creating special, ECS online experiences for campers to take part in beginning June 1. 

Johnston Community School District – Summer SAS

SAS Summer Camps are held at Summit Middle School from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm., offering daily breakfast, social and game time, field trips, and afternoon snacks. Students can sign up for one of two camps offered each week – an active camp or an enrichment camp. All camps offered throughout the summer will touch on a wide range of interests. 

Polk County Youth Services – Norwoodville Summer Day Camp

This summer day camp program is housed at the Norwoodville Community Center located at 3077 NE 46th Avenue in Des Moines and provides supervised recreational and educational activities for youth ages 6 through 13.  Fees are assessed on a sliding scale according to a family’s gross household income.  All fees charged cover morning and afternoon activities. Registration typically opens the beginning of May.

Prairie Life Fitness – Summer Camp 2020

Prairie Life Fitness Youth Programs is committed to providing an educational and fun filled summer to youngsters ages 3-12. They offer full day camps starting weekdays, June 8 through August 21, 2020. Each week a new theme will be the focus of learning and tons of fun. They incorporate arts and crafts activities, group games, snack, and swim time daily. Pick and choose or sign up for the whole summer! Summer Camp is offered to both members and non-members. 

Sapphire Gymnastics – Discovery Kids Club Summer Camp

A medley of summer fun is to be had at Sapphire Gymnastics, with a wide range of activities intended to keep kids active and engaged all summer long. Each week is a new theme with several activities planned each day. Field trips to local parks, pools and attractions are also included. Day Camp is from 7:00 am-5:30 pm Monday through Friday, for kids ages 5-14, June 8 to August 21, 2020.

Triad Gymnastics – Summer Kid Care

Triad offers full and half day summer kid care for kids ages 5-12 from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. Day campers go on three field trips each week including swimming every Wednesday. They also have gym time in their beautiful air-conditioned facility, age-appropriate themed activities and fun time on their huge inflatable Slip ’n Slide and other inflatables.

Urbandale Community School District – Adventuretime

Through their Adventuretime Program, Urbandale Community School District offers summer programming for preschool through fifth-grade students. Day campers will have the opportunity to participate in crafts, games, literacy and math activities, science enrichment activities, team building, field trips, guest speakers, and weekly celebrations. Registration typically opens the end of March.

Waukee Community School District – Summer Beyond the Bell

Waukee Community Schools provide summer programming through Beyond the Bell. This summer day camp keeps children active, encourages them to be creative, develop great friendships and have fun. Each week will have a theme with corresponding crafts, activities and field trips.  Registration opens Monday March 2, 2020 and will run through Tuesday, March 31.  

West Des Moines Public Schools – Summer Day Camp

Summer Day Camp is offered during the summer months for children who have completed grades K-6. Kids West Summer Day Camp offers many field trips during the week to help instill children with a curiosity about their world.  Registration typically opens in March.

YMCA – Day Camps

Day Camps are offered through several of the Y’s branches and at multiple locations throughout central Iowa. The Ankeny Family YMCA, Indianola YMCA, John R. Grubb Community YMCA, South Suburban YMCA, Walnut Creek Family YMCA, Waukee Family YMCA and Wellmark YMCA offer various camps. Some branches also have off-site locations which allows them to hold multiple camps simultaneously. Enrollment has been suspended to an undetermined later date.  Summer Camp 2020: Des Moines Day Camp & Sleepaway Camp Guide –

Sleepaway Camps near Des Moines

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa

Camp Fire Heart of Iowa offers a wide variety of programs throughout central Iowa fitting the needs of overnight campers. Whether you like creek stomping, bugs, or sports, they’ve got a summer of fun waiting for you! Programs are offered for kids in 1st – 12th grades.  All programs at Camp Hantesa have been CANCELED. 

Catholic Youth Camp

At CYC, campers leave behind the distractions of daily life and trade technology for a week on Lake Panorama.  Catholic Youth Camp is a traditional sleep away summer camp and that means tons of fun activities.  Campers will also be immersed in sacraments, scripture, prayer and enjoy daily mass.  Three to five-day camps are offered to kids entering 3rd-12th grades. The Summer 2020 season has been cancelled. 

Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside

Children and adults with and without disabilities enjoy all Easter Seals Iowa Camp Sunnyside has to offer including canoeing, an animal farm, horseback riding, archery, nature trails, the Variety Club Rec Center, an accessible indoor pool and the Meredith Tree House. At night campers sleep in new, air-conditioned lodges. Sessions are held at Camp Sunnyside for campers age four and older. Week-long and day camps are offered during the summer. Traditional camp season has been canceled. 

Iowa Conference – United Methodist Church Camps & Retreats

Iowa United Methodist Camps offer many different activities at each of their sites at Lake Okoboji, Pictured Rocks, and Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Centers. You’ll have the best week ever with their caring staff to guide you. Every camper can find something that they’ll enjoy, including adults who wish they could come to camp, too! All summer programs at Lake Okoboji and Wesley Woods United Methodist Camps for 2020 have been canceled.

Lakeview Camp

Lakeview is a Christian camp located in Pella. They offer summer camps for all ages including day camps, overnight camps and grandparent/grandchild camps. Campers are divided by the grade they will be entering into the following fall. Elementary Camps, Middle School Camps and High School camps all enjoy appropriate activities for each group. All camps for summer 2020 have been canceled. 

Riverside Lutheran Bible Camp

Located in Story City, Riverside offers a wide range of summer programs from half week sessions for their youngest campers, to full week programs for campers entering 3rd grade all the way through high school. Riverside also has a beginner and intermediate ranch camp program as well as an adventure camp focused on growing in faith. Onsite summer camp at Riverside has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wesley Woods

Wesley Woods is a United Methodist Church camp and retreat center located just outside of Indianola. They offer both summer day camps and overnight summer camp opportunities for kids of all abilities.  Overnight stays can be as short as one night, half-week and a full week for kids ages 5 to 18. All summer programs at Wesley Woods United Methodist Camps for 2020 have been canceled.

Willowbrook Bible Camp

Willowbrook Bible Camp offers summer camp for kids ages 8 to 18. Your child’s week at Willowbrook will be filled with various sports activities, lots of great singing, lazy afternoons, and cozy campfires. Willowbrook is a Bible camp, so they make the study of the Bible a major emphasis during camp. 


Traditional overnight camp is the mainstay of Y Camp’s summer camp program. It is a great opportunity for kids to experience the many programs and activities that Y Camp offers. Campers are part of a cabin of similarly aged peers, with whom they deliberate and decide on what their week will entail. The Y offers a wide variety of overnight camps and activities for kids ages 7 to 16. The Des Moines Y Camp has suspended all overnight and day camp programs in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are offering Family Camp. Each family taking part in the six-day, five-night Family Connection program will occupy its own cabin with restroom. Families will receive individualized schedules for the week offering a wide variety of camp activities.

Additional Places to Find Day Camps & Overnight Camps in Des Moines

Be sure to check out your school’s before or after school care program and community education offerings, as well as, with local parks and recreation departments.  Also, many youth organizations such as 4-H, Boys Scouts, Girl Scouts and Boys & Girls Club offer day camps or overnight camp opportunities.  If your child already participates in one of these programs, be sure to check out what summer camps and classes that they offer.



What’s your favorite summer day camp or sleepaway camp for Des Moines kids?  Let us know!

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