It’s a new year, and if you’re looking for new ways to keep the kids busy this month, we found dozens of family-friendly activity ideas. From ice skating to storytime to free movies and outdoor adventures, there are activities for everyone!
Let’s start out the year with some family fun!
Things to do in Des Moines in January 2022
Jan. 1-31 | Ice Skating, Brenton Skating Plaza
Ring in the new year and go ice skating downtown. Cost is $8 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. You can rent skates for $4.50 or bring your own. Online registration is recommended. Walk-up admission is available if under capacity.
Jan. 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, 27 | Toddler Time, Get Air
Little jumpers get special access to the trampolines on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Admission is $8.99 (free for a parent). It’s a great way to burn some winter energy!
Jan. 4, 10, 17, 24, 31 | Baby Time, Waukee Public Library
This 15-20 minutes storytime session is designed for infants ages 0-17 months. There will be songs, rhymes, and stories. The event is free, but registration is required as attendance is limited to 10 infants and their caregivers.
Jan. 5, 12, 19, 26 | Arts & Snacks, Johnston Public Library
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Plan an after-school art session at the library. Kids in grades K-5 can drop in for a variety of art activities on Wednesday afternoons. All supplies will be provided as well as light snacks and beverages.
Jan. 6 | Toddler Tales, Jester Park Nature Center
Let your imagination run wild with this nature-themed storytime! Hear a story followed by the naturalist’s choice of an activity such as an animal encounter, puppets, or a craft. This event is designed for ages 3 and up.
Jan. 7-23 | Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical, Des Moines Playhouse
Everyone’s favorite pigeon is live on stage in this production of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, written by Mo Willems. The show is geared for kids ages 5 and up and a great way to introduce children to the theater.
Jan. 7 and 14 | Homeschool Nature Lessons, Jester Park Nature Center
This program series will be delivered in a flexible format that is specially designed for homeschool students. Cost is free, but registration is required.
Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28 | Drop-in Playdates & Perks, Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library
Interested in making new friends for you and the kids? Drop in to the library to enjoy some coffee, the company of other adults, and playtime for your kiddos!
Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28 | Dome After Dark, Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
Experience the garden in a whole new way with Dome After Dark. You can stroll through the lush conservatory as it’s illuminated with unique lighting and luminarias. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from Trellis Café.
Jan. 7-8 | Cinch’s World’s Toughest Rodeo, Wells Fargo Arena
Bring your little wranglers downtown for a night of rodeo fun. The Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo will spotlight fan-favorite events: Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, and Bareback Riding.
Jan. 8 | Science To-Go Kits, South Side Library
Visit the South Side Library and pick up a Science Project To Go Bag. The bags contain a science activity to do at home that will let you explore different STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering, and math). These activities are recommended for ages six and up and should be completed with adult supervision.
Jan. 8 | Embrace Winter DSM, Union Park
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Compete in a scavenger hunt, ride the carousel, and try your hand at snow painting before warming up at neighborhood gem Captain Roy’s.
Jan. 9 | Fairytale Ball, The Tea Room
10a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m.
Join your favorite princesses for a royal entrance, dance performance, vocal showcase, and more. Pose for photos, get autographs and create memories with your little one. Make a pixie wish and create a craft. VIP guests will receive a rhinestone tiara from Rapunzel. Tickets are $25-$35.
Jan. 10 | Storytime with Ruby the Reading Red Panda, Blank Park Zoo
Join Ruby’s storytime in person at the Zoo. Listen to a story and meet a special live ambassador animal from the Zoo’s education department. The event is free for members or with paid Zoo admission. You can also join in virtually at 11:45 a.m. with EveryStep for a special bilingual storytime. They’ll read a story in a different language and then read it again in English. Check the link to view the log-in instructions.
Jan. 11 | Movement & Mindfulness Yoga, Jester Park Nature Center
Need a break, mom? How about doing yoga in nature, well inside the nature center that is. Controlling our breath and moving our bodies in focused ways can bring back a connection with the natural world. This class will offer ways to connect with breath, body, and the earth, regardless of experience with yoga. Cost is $15, registration required.
Jan. 13: Movie Matinee: Jungle Cruise, Waukee Public Library
Head to the library on the second Thursday of every month to watch a movie on the library’s big screen. This month they are screening Jungle Cruise. It is free and you are welcome to bring snacks of your own. No registration is required.
Jan. 15 | Embrace Winter DSM, Gray’s Lake
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Stretch your legs on the walking loop with fun stops along the way, like bird watching, games, and trivia before making your way to Confluence Brewing Company for a half-price beer!
Jan 16 | Create a Craft, Johnston Public Library
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Let’s get crafty! All supplies are provided, no registration is necessary for this drop-in craft time. Kits will be available for those wanting to take the craft home to complete.
Jan. 16 | Winter Hike Series with Wander Women, Brown’s Woods Park
Enjoy a guided hike through Brown’s Woods. The Winter Hike Series from Wander Women encourages Wanderers to get outside during the cold months, meet nature lovers in their area, and wander some of the metro’s most beautiful public areas.
Jan. 18-22 | “I have a dream” Scavenger Hunt, North Side Public Library
In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, search for pictures of historic figures from the Civil Rights Movement while you learn about who they were. Find all the pictures and take home a prize.
Jan. 22 |Embrace Winter DSM, Waveland Park
4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Hike or snowshoe to the Observatory for a star presentation and some cocoa. Enjoy warming up by the firepits and don’t forget to take home some Fat Joe’s Pizza.
Jan. 24-29 | Lego Challenge, North Side Public Library
Drop in to North Side library anytime during the month of January and complete a Lego Challenge. Completed projects will be on display at the library. Or come visit to see all the sculptures and be inspired to make your own at home.
Jan. 27 | Llama Llama Pajama Party, Kirkendall Public Library in Ankeny
Put on your PJs and head to the library to meet Llama Llama and pick up an activity to-go bag. Registration is required.
Jan. 28 | Kids Night Out, Blank Park Zoo
5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Parents, enjoy a kid-free evening while the kids enjoy the zoo! Let us be your sitter for the night and send the kids to Blank Park Zoo for an animal-tastic evening. Kids will experience the exhibits after hours, an ambassador animal program, crafts, stories, games, and more. Pizza dinner is included.
Jan. 30 | Winter Hike Series with Wander Women, Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
Enjoy a guided hike through Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge in Prairie City. The Winter Hike Series from Wander Women encourages Wanderers to get outside during the cold months, meet nature lovers in their area, and wander some of the metro’s most beautiful public areas.
Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your event to the list.
We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.