Des Moines Summer Bucket List | Over 125 Things to Do With Kids (+ Free Printable)

This guide is sponsored by Children’s Dental Center of Central Iowa.

Get ready for summer fun in Des Moines!

We’ve made it easy for you to have your best summer ever by compiling over 125 of our favorite ideas for every budget, interest, and age. (Please check each event/business website for the most up-to-date information.) 

Start planning your summer now! Simply scroll down and click on the category to jump to that list.

Print out our FREE summer planner below and you can fill in what you want to do to truly customize your summer! 

Thank you to Children’s Dental Center of Central Iowa, PLC, for partnering with us and making the production of this guide possible for Des Moines families! 

summer in des moines

Children’s Dental Center of Central Iowa isn’t just a dental office. It’s a place that children look forward to visiting – and a place where parents are just as comfortable as patients! That’s because they make sure healthy always comes with a big dose of happy. They’re proud to say they make going to the dentist fun!

Bookmark this page and start planning your best summer ever! 

Explore all Des Moines and Central Iowa has to offer this summer, and enjoy the customizable FREE printable below to hang on the fridge!

Des Moines Summer Festivals

Summer means festivals and they’re back in full force this summer! Grab your calendar, because there is something to celebrate all summer around Des Moines.

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We Love DSM

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Des Moines Summer Family Fun 

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Des Moines Summer Eats + Drinks

  • Check out one of Des Moines’ many tasty food trucks.
  • Head out to Bondurant and grab a to-go growler of Root Beer at Reclaimed Rails to share with the family
  • Go berry picking and then make a pie.
  • Help your kids in a grill off competition using these tips!
  • Pack a picnic and head to a local winery.
  • Get an ice cream cone at Snookies or visit one (or all) of our favorite spots for ice cream.
  • Buy fresh sweet corn from a stand and grill it with this easy recipe
  • ‘Tis the season for iced coffee. Check out our Coffee Shop Guide for the spots to get caffeinated. 
  • Pick up a to-go charcuterie board at The Cheese Shop for a fun date night.
  • Food tastes better outside. Enjoy dinner and drinks at one of our favorite patios.
  • What’s better than pizza night? Pizza on the Prairie! Enjoy brick oven pizza topped with farm-fresh veggies and local meats at the Wallace Centers of Iowa on Friday nights.
  • Make BLTs. The combination of a juicy homegrown tomato with crunchy lettuce and crispy bacon can’t be beat.

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Des Moines Summer Outside Adventures

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Des Moines Summer Kids Activities

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Beat the Heat

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Neighborhood Fun

  • Pick up items to help other families in need, fill a donation box
  • Make s’mores.
  • Hang a large sheet and rent a projector for a “drive-in” movie experience
  • Get creative and paint rocks to hide around your community.
  • Invite friends over and grill out.
  • Create a ninja warrior course in the backyard.
  • Start a little free library.
  • Have a lemonade or freeze pop stand.
  • Got the decluttering bug? Have a garage sale!
  • Plan a neighborhood block party or Fourth of July Parade around the block.

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Midwest Road Trips

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Printable Summer Bucket List

click below to download

Des Moines Moms Summer Bucket List

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Cheers to summer! What would you add to the list? 


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