Des Moines Arts Festival: 2016 Ultimate Children’s Guide

The Des Moines Arts Festival starts this week! This is one Central Iowa event, that we try and visit every Summer. It’s FREE to attend and there is so much that is offered for everyone!

2016 Ultimate Children's Guide

Date: June 24th – 26th

Friday, June 24th: 11 am – 10 pm

Saturday, June 25th: 11 am – 10 pm

Sunday, June 26th: 11 am – 5 pm

Where: Western Gateway Park

Festival Map

Complete ScheduleAWESOME feature! If you want to save an event so you remember when and where it is happening, you can click “Add to my calendar” and it will add to your mobile calendar!

Below is a list of children’s activities being offered by local businesses and organizations, located in the Creative Family Zone. Some are free and some may ask for a small fee or donation.

  • Homemade Dog Toy: Make a homemade fleece toy for your favorite dog!
  • Flower Planting: Learn how to help living things grow and thrive by planting your own flowers in a decorated flower pot.
  • Homemade Cat Toy: Make a cat toy for the shelter cats at the ARL!
  • Headband: Color and decorate a Cassowary Casque to attach to a headband to wear!
  • Glittery Henna: Get a body glitter Henna inspired temporary tattoo.
  • Popsicle Stick People: Create popsicle stick people to represent your family!
  • Animal Puppets: Make some animal puppets from paper plates!
  • Coupon Book: Create an entrepreneurial coupon book or business and get your photo taken using the Downtown Chamber’s giant scissors in a mock ribbon cutting ceremony.
  • Christmas in June: Make your very own Christmas ornament.
  • Marble Making: Join them for a marble painting activity!
  • Design a Meal: Craft a MyPlate meal by designing and creating your own food.
  • Butterflies: Create and decorate a butterfly made of pipe cleaners, tissue paper and clothes pins.
  • Bubble Painting: Spin the wheel, face painting, and bubble painting!
  • Hunger Tree: Create your own hunger tree to start combatting and finding a solution to hunger.
  • Memory Book: Create and decorate a book of memories to honor a loved one.
  • Obstacle Course: Dance, color or complete a small obstacle course.
  • Canvas Painting: Help paint a canvas focused on a daily question on “life,” “love” or “legacy” or decorate your own heart with “what fills your heart.”
  • Red Carpet Walk: Act like the inner Hollywood star that you are and walk on a red carpet and watch a festival show reel.
  • Colorful Art: Create scratch off ornaments or some colorful spin art.
  • Button Making: Color a picture of a farm animal and have it made into a button to wear.
  • Origami Heart: Choose your favorite rainbow color and learn how to make an origami heart.
  • Thumbprint Art: Help with a collaborative painting using your thumbprint.
  • Get Your Dance On: Guests of all ages have the chance to watch and learn Latin Dance with Salsa Des Moines.
  • Box Kite: Create a box kite with a paper bag and colorful ribbons!
  • But Let’s First Take a Selfie: Take a selfie with a famous piece of art!

Check out, even more fun here!

Other activities & events your kiddos will love …

  • Stop by the Arts Festival Shop and purchase a t-shirt or backpack, then walk next door to decorate it yourself!
  • Live music! There is a lot open green space! Find a place to relax and enjoy one of the many artists lined -up to perform. The kids will love to dance and run!
  • Don’t miss Debbie Doo Wop on Friday, June 24th at 11:15 am – 12 pm!
  • Let the children run through and explore the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park!

Some tips to make your life a bit easier with kids …

  • Bring cash! Some food vendors and shops may accept cards, but not all. There are 4 different ATM locations.
  • If you are bringing a stroller, throw a large blanket and/or foldable chair for sitting & listening to the live music.
  • Bring water bottles & snacks! There are food vendors, but you may want to eat one big meal.
  • Check out the schedule and add the events you would like to see to you mobile calendar, so you have it on hand!





Erin Huiatt

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

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