How to Get Connected as a Family with Young Kids

Explore why Greater Des Moines (DSM) is perfect for families with young children. From newborns and infants to elementary-aged children, families want play spaces, activities and events with ample opportunities to create, play and make memories. 

When you see what’s available to families across DSM, you’ll understand why the region has been ranked a best place to live in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report) and be ready to put down your family’s roots here. 

Connect with Parents in Des Moines

Meeting parents with kiddos of similar ages is easy in a community like DSM, where people are welcoming and friendly. Consider joining a local in-person MOPS group (that’s Moms of Preschoolers) or get engaged with your child’s school PTA. Places like Valley Community Center, the Des Moines Children’s Museum and your city’s local library are hotspots for young family outings (even during the weekdays!), where impromptu play can turn into planned playdates leading to lifelong friendships. 

Several free online forums serve as great resources to connect to fellow parents in the community including blogs like Des Moines Mom, Des Moines Parent and DSM4Kids, and Facebook Groups such as Moms Club DSM, Des Moines Moms Club and many more community-specific groups (Hello, Waukee!). 

Things to Do for Families in Des Moines

The cool thing about Des Moines’ kid-friendly amenities is that parents tend to love participating in the activities, too! That’s a win/win in our book. Here’s a look at some family-friendly things to do here: 

DSM Events for Young Families

Play Spaces for Young Kids Around Des Moines

Ages 0-5

Place Spaces for Bigger Kids Around Des Moines

Sports Kids Clubs Around Des Moines 

Des Moines Swimming Pools and Splash Pads

Swimming and splash pads are the perfect opportunity for you to get outside for some fun in the sun with children of all ages, and there are plenty of places in each DSM community to make waves. Many of the outdoor pools are operated by city municipalities, so check out the aquatic section on city websites for the options nearest you. (Pro tip: Find even more outdoor recreation opportunities, including water play, here.) 

Head to indoor pools like Adventureland Inn, with three large swimming pools and a swim-up bar, or Ramada Tropics Resort & Conference Center to enjoy the 18,000 square-foot pool and tiki bar at Buccaneer Bay Indoor Water Park. Keep your eyes peeled for more info on The Grand Experience, an indoor water park and family entertainment center currently being developed in West Des Moines!  

Greater Des Moines Child Care

Along with things to do, if your family includes young children, you’ve probably wondered about finding quality, accessible child care. In Iowa, investments are being made to recognize the need working parents have for child care programs and, in turn, finding ways to showcase employers that are family-friendly, thanks to Iowa’s Best Place for Working Parents Program from the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Employers with policies like paid-time off, nursing benefits, onsite child care, flexible hours and more are highlighted.  

For families with infants, toddlers and young school-aged children, finding child care can feel daunting. However, there are many local resources that can help you find exactly what you need nearby and within your DSM zip code. Organizations like Iowa Child Care Resource & Referral, which has an online referral system that allows you to search center and home options and by location, and social media groups for parents in specific DSM communities can also help ease the burden by connecting moms with each other to find help in a less traditional way.  

The YMCA of Greater Des Moines also offers a Learn & Play Center, early care for infants through preschool-aged children, before-and-after-school programming, summer day camps and sleepaway camps.  

Kids’ Healthcare Needs in Greater Des Moines

For children aged 6 weeks to 5 years, ChildServe’s child care program offers adaptability to support all ranges of children’s healthcare needs and onsite options for a variety of classes all in one space. The Heartland Area Education Agency also provides free services like Early Access and Early Childhood. Other healthcare facilities in DSM serving children include: 

And if you’re looking for even more in-depth information for families in DSM or education and child care resources, we’ve got you covered!   

Greater Des Moines (DSM) is full of ways to connect with like-minded parents to do all the family-friendly things you and your kiddos love to do. Find your community here and get connected! 

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