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 email@example.com 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 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.
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.
Camp Fire Heart of Iowa offers several day camp options in the Des Moines area. Camps are offered to kids in grades 1-10 from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, June 1 through August 14, 2020. Options include Discovery Day Camp, Riverview Day Camp, Equestrian Day Camp, Riverview Day Camp, Hantesa Day Camp, Hantesa Outrageous Day Camp, Des Moines Outrageous Day Camp and Pioneer Columbus Community Day Camp.
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. Your child will be involved in daily activities of games, arts and crafts, sports, field trips, guest speakers, and movies, with afternoons at the Clive Aquatic Center.
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.
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.
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. Located in Waukee, programming is offered June 8 through August 21, 2020 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Available for kids entering kindergarten through 7th grade.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Sleepaway Camps near Des Moines
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!