Things to do Over Winter Break 2019 in Des Moines: Camps, Classes, Events & Activities

Things to do Over Winter Break 2019 in Des Moines: Camps, Classes, Events & Activities

Just when the hectic-ness of the holidays are behind you, you’ll be staring down 16 days without school. So, what’s a parent to do?  A lot, actually!

Whether you want to head to a museum, take the kids to a movie, or kick off the New Year with a kid-friendly celebration, we’ve rounded up a ton of fun things for Des Moines families to do over winter break 2019.

Looking for even more activities? Check out our Event Calendar, Winter Fun Guide and sign up for our weekly newsletter!

Winter Break Camps & Classes in Des Moines

Fun, Snow & Sled Day Camp with Clive Parks & Recreation

Join Clive Parks and Recreation for this winter break day camp! Your child will be involved in daily adventures including field trips! Campers are dropped off at the Aquatic Center Special Events Building and will need to bring a sack lunch and water/drink bottle.

When: December 23, 26, 27 30, 31, January 2 and 3 2019 at 7:30 am to 5:30 pm

Cost: $50 per child per day

Ages:  8 to 12

Painting Classes with Painting with a Twist

A super creative way to spend winter break, Painting With a Twist is offering several kids’ painting workshops throughout winter break. Each session will feature a different wintery or kid themed painting project. 

When: December 26 – 29, 2019.  Class times vary each day.

Cost: $25-35

Ages: 5+, age requirements differ by class.

Winter Break Camp at Living History Farms

Sign up for one or both days of these history focused winter break day camps at Living History Farms in Urbandale.  Kids can choose from themes like Historic Holidays, Day in the Life of a Kid and more.  They also offer a family camp. All Camps run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day and the registration deadline is December 11, 2019.

When:  December 26 – 27, 2019. Times Vary.

Cost: $44.20/members and $52/non-members for one day. $17/members and $20 non-member for family camp.

Ages: Grades 2-6.  All ages can attend Family Camp.

Pinot Palette’s Holiday Kid’s Camp

Just when the kids are getting tired of their new toys and looking for something different to do let Pinot’s Palette take them off your hands! Send them in for painting and crafts! They will be offering a craft and snack in addition to the painting. Parents may paint their own canvas, stay and watch, or drop off. Choose from one or all of fout different dates! View the scheduled paintings and register online.

When: December 26, 27, 30 and 31, 2019.  1:00 to 3:30 pm

Cost: $35 per child per session.

Ages:  5+

Winter Break Day Camps at the Des Moines Playhouse

Have a budding thespian entertaining you daily? Sign ‘em up for a Winter Break Workshop at the Des Moines Playhouse.  Younger kids will participate in Creative Drama Classes and older kids will be able to showcase their talent in Acting and Performance classes.

When: Multiple Day workshops: December 26-27, 2019 and January 2-3, 2020.  9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

One-Day workshops: December 30, 2019 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Cost: Multiple Day Workshops: $95 Subscribers; $105 Non-Subscribers
One-Day Workshops: $50 Subscribers/ $45 Non-Subscribers

Ages: Grades 1-12

Winter Break Camps at Science Center of Iowa

Keep those brains active during winter break at the Science Center of Iowa Winter Camps. Kids will enjoy activities that encourage creative and analytical thinking with hands-on experiments. SCI offers winter break camp experiences ranging in topic from technology to nature.

When: December 26-27 30-31, 2019; AM camps run from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm; PM camps run from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Cost: Half Day Camp Non-Members $35; Members $30; Full Day Camp Non-Members $70 and Members $60 per day.

Ages: Pre-K – Grade 8

Winter Break Workshops at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

For kids who love to get their hands dirty and discover new things, attending a Winter Break Workshop at the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is the perfect choice. 2019 Family Workshops theme is “Totally Tropical”.  Choose from a Tropical Terrarium, Botanical Dyes or Banana Muffins class.  They will also be hosting several “drop-in” activities over Winter Break. 

When: December 27 – 29, 2019.  Classes are offered multiple days at various times.

Cost: Members – Adult/Child pair – $20, additional child – $15; Nonmembers – Adult/Child pair – $25, additional child – $20

Ages: All ages.  Parents attend with child.

MagiCamp hosted by Ankeny Parks and Recreation

Participants will learn to entertain and amaze friends, family and classmates in this two-day camp with professional magician Lee Cole. All magic materials are provided.

When: December 27 AND December 30, 2019 at 9:00 to 11:45 am

Cost: $45

Ages: 7-15

Lee Cole’s Magicamp hosted by West Des Moines Parks and Recreation

Magicamp is for anyone who likes to have fun. You’ll spend two days learning from professional magician Lee Cole on how to entertain and amaze your friends, family and classmates. You’ll learn tricks that can be done anywhere, at any time, and for the rest of your life. All magic materials are provided.

When: Friday and Monday December 27 & 30, 2019 at 1:00 to 3:45 pm

Cost: $45

Ages: 7 – 15

Kids Day Out with Warren County Conservation

Are your kids going stir crazy from being inside this winter break? Do you need to go run some errands after the holidays? Send your kiddos out to a fun filled winter day camp! Kids can expect a fun day exploring the outdoors, making a craft, and playing games. Lunch will be provided. Activities may vary slightly depending on the weather, but please send them dressed to spend some time outside! Please register by December 20th.

When: Monday, December 30, 2019 at 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Cost: $10

Ages: 6-12

2019 Hoop-Stars Winter Break Basketball Camp with Ankeny Parks and Recreation

Hoop-Stars Winter Break Basketball Camp is a two-day clinic for kids in 2nd-7th grade who want to keep their skills sharp during the winter break. These two clinics will incorporate skills and drills, along with team and individual competition. The instructors for this clinic will be Faith Baptist College players and coaches. 

When: December 30-31, 2019

Cost: $45

Ages: Grades 2-4 at 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Grades 5-7 at 1:00 to 4:00 pm.

Winter Safari Camp at Blank Park Zoo

Camp these is Water Wonders. Escape from the chilly winter weather, think warm thoughts, and join the Zoo to learn about animals that live in the water. Children enrolled in camp will need to either bring a sack lunch or purchase a zoo lunch.

When: December 30-31, 2019.  9:00 am to 4:00 pm

Cost: $74 members; $104 non-members

Ages:  5-6 & 7-9

Winter Break Camp at Climb Iowa

Climb Iowa camps engage kids in activities designed for learning climbing basics, promoting fitness and movement, and cultivating an environment of teamwork and respect. Climbers will participate in both climbing and non-climbing activities.

When: December 30-31, 2019.  9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Cost: $150 Non-Members; $135 Members

Ages:  8-13

Babysitting Basics with Ankeny Parks and Recreation

Learn the basics of babysitting with the Ankeny Parks & Recreation Department. Becoming a better sitter, changing diapers, basic first aid and fire prevention are just a few of the objectives of this program. A pizza lunch and snack are included.

When: Monday, December 31, 2019 at 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Cost: $45

Ages: Grades 5-6

Red Cross Babysitting Training hosted by Waukee Parks and Recreation

Attend the American Red Cross Babysitting Certification class and gain life experience by practicing lifesaving babysitting skills on manikins and with other participants. This is a great class for girls and boys getting ready to start babysitting on their own or for those who will be in charge of younger siblings for short periods of time. 

When: Friday, January 3, 2019 at 8:00 am to 4:00 pm

Cost: $80

Ages: 11+Things to do Over Winter Break 2019 in Des Moines: Camps, Classes, Events & Activities –

Winter Break Events & Activities in Des Moines

Iowa Wild Hockey Games

The Wild will be on the ice at the Well over the long holiday break. 

When:  Friday, December 20 at 7:00 pm vs Grand Rapids Griffins
Saturday, December 21 at 7:00 pm vs Grand Rapids Griffins
Saturday, December 28 at 6:00 pm vs Chicago Wolves
Tuesday, December 11 at 2:00 pm vs Texas Stars
Friday, January 3 at 7:00 pm vs Rockford Icehogs

Cost: Single Game Tickets start at $10.00.

Ages: All

Iowa Christmas Nationals

Youth in 8th Grade and under will compete for the golden Santa at the Iowa Christmas classic wrestling tournament at the Iowa State Fairgrounds. 

When:  Saturday, December 22, 2019 at 9:00 am to 6:00 pm

Cost:  $20, Children 5 and under free.

Ages: All

Ice Skating at Brenton Skating Plaza

Bundle up and take a spin around Des Moines’ coolest ice rink.  They will have extended holiday hours throughout winter break. Be sure to check their calendar, in case of inclement weather. 

When: December 23, 2019-January 5, 2020
Holiday Hours 12:00 noon to 10:00 pm
Christmas Eve 12:00 to 4:00 pm
Christmas Day 4:00 to 9:00 pm
New Year’s Eve 12:00 to 11:59 pm
New Year’s Day 4:00 to 9:00 pm

Cost: $10.00 for Adults; $6.50 for Children (age 6-12) and Seniors (60+); $5.00 for Skate Rental; $5.00 for Skate Aids. Children five and under are always FREE admission with skate rental.

Ages: All

Swimming at Urbandale Public Pool

The indoor Urbandale Pool will host special hours over the winter break. (They are closed Christmas and New Year’s Day).

When: December 23, 26, 27 and 30 at 1:00 to 4:00 pm
January 2-3 at 1:00 to 4:00 pm

Cost: 3 years of age & older: $5; 2 years of age & under: FREE with paid adult.

Ages: All

Swimming at Johnston Summit Pool

The indoor pool at Johnston’s Summit Middle School will host open swim during the holiday break.

When: December 26-31, 2019 at 1:00 to 3:00 pm

Cost: Adult Cost: $3; Youth Cost: $2

Ages: All

Iowa Wolves Basketball Games

The Iowa Energy will see lots of play at Wells Fargo Arena over Winter Break. 

When: December 27, 2019 at 7:00 pm vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers
December 29, 2019 at 4:00 pm vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers
January 1, 2020 at 1:00 pm vs. Northern Arizona Suns
January 4, 2020 at 7:00 pm vs. Memphis Hustle
January 6, 2020 at 7:00 pm vs. Memphis Hustle

Cost: Single Game Tickets start at $10.00

Ages: All

Des Moines Buccaneers Hockey Games

The Bucs will take the ice at Buccaneer Arena in Urbandale over winter break. 

When: December 27, 2019 at 7:05 pm vs. Waterloo Black Hawks
January 3, 2020 at 7:05 pm vs Tri-City Storm
January 4, 2020 at 6:05 pm vs Tri-City Storm

Cost: Single Game Tickets start at $9.00

Ages: All

Winter Break Nerf War at Skateland

Let the battle begin! Grab your Nerf gun and family for the ultimate indoor Nerf War at Skateland. They will provide all the equipment needed such as shooters, nerfs, fanny packs, vest, and eyewear. You can bring your own shooters with no more than six nerfs capability and may not be electric.

When: December 28, 2019 at 10:00 to 11:00 am

Cost: $10 per person

Ages: No requirements.


In addition Des Moines area Bowling AlleysSkating RinksMovie Theaters and Indoor Play Centers will also be open throughout winter break.



How will you survive Winter Break 2019 with your kids in Des Moines? If you know about a camp, class, activity or event that’s not on our list, let us know and we’ll add it!

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