Des Moines Arts Festival: Ultimate Kid’s Guide

Des Moines Arts Festival: Ultimate Kid’s Guide

Kid’s Guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival 2021

One of our favorite central Iowa festivals is the Des Moines Arts Festival. It is free to attend and there is a ton offered for all ages. Here is a kid’s guide to the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer in Western Gateway Park.


Friday, June 25; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 26; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 27; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The schedule + interactive activities

You can find the complete schedule online. You can find everything from live music, special events and more.

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

  • BOOM ART! an Interactive Mural Project suspended 30 feet high from the all-new MidAmerican Energy all-electric bucket truck.
  • SPIN ART – Join Prairie Meadows and the Altoona Lions Club to create your newest masterpiece from everyone’s favorite art pastime.
  • FLEECE PET TOY – Design your own fleece pet toy for your furry friend or one of theirs.
  • SKETCH – Who’s an influential person of color in your life? Share it with the world!
  • SEED BALLS – Create seed balls from organic clay.
  • ROCK PAINTING – Paint an uplifting message on a rock.
  • JEWELRY MAKING – Create a jewelry masterpiece from everyday items like washers, tape, clips, ribbon, and buttons.
  • T-SHIRT DESIGN – Design a t-shirt that focuses on raising awareness of dyslexia.
  • CULTURAL CRAFTS – European cultural crafts from Croatia, England, Russia, Ukraine, & Germany.
  • THANK YOU – Create a thank you card to give to someone who has made an impact on you using markers, crayons, and stamps.
  • PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS – Create percussion makers from recycled materials.
  • MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE – Decorate a sticker to show how you “Make the World a Better Place”.
  • UPCYCLE T-SHIRTS – Turn upcycling t-shirts into braided bracelets and keychains.
  • MASK MAKING – Cloth mask decoration and participation in Vision of Hope Mural.
  • CULTIVATING COMPASSION – Create a costume or a prop to use as a mover for cultivating compassion.
  • CONFETTI – Create earth-friendly confetti.
  • CREATE A HUG – Create a “hug” to mail to a friend or family member!
  • MASK MAKING – Create a mask, and become someone else – an evil witch, a beautiful princess, a firebreathing dragon!
  • PAPER HOUSE – Make your own paper house!
  • DIA DE LOS MUERTOS – Create a traditional Dia de Los Muertos altar.
  • MANTRA BUTTON – Create a personalized Mantra Button.
  • FINGER PAINTING – Finger Paint Art!
  • PAINT POTS – Paint pots with paint markers to let your creativity soar.
  • And much more! 

Events of Interest 

Other activities + events your kiddos will love

  • Live music! There is a lot of 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.
  • Let the children run through and explore the John & Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.
  • Eat food. The Des Moines Arts Festival is a great place to enjoy delicious, local food.

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 different ATM locations available. 
  • If you are bringing a stroller, throw a large blanket and/or foldable chair for sitting & listening to live music.
  • Bring water bottles & snacks! There are food vendors, but you may want to eat one big meal.
  • Bring a swimsuit and an extra change of clothes. There is a fun area to play and get wet. A great place to cool off in the heat of the Summer.

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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