SPARK Match Activity Program


SPARK is a fun match activity program that encourages matches to explore and complete activities under the following five categories:
S: Science & Technology
P: Partnerships & Community
A: Arts & Culture
R: Recreation & Physical Activity
K: Knowledge & Education
Below is a list of activities within each category for SPARK. Check out any of these places and record your experience in your SPARK notebook. Stop by the office to pick up a notebook and begin your SPARK adventure!
After completing a category and writing about the experience, show your case manager and receive a prize! Please contact Community-Based Match Support Specialist Natalie Caldwell at ncaldwell@bbbsia.org questions. The SPARK program is funded in part through Polk County Decategorization.
Please note, an * next to an activity means that it is also part of the Big Deals program and has a special discount.
Science & Technology
  • Science Center of Iowa
  • Botanical Center
  • Blank Park Zoo
  • Living History Farms
  • Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
  • Home Depot Kids Workshops- find weekly workshops here!
  • Reiman Gardens
  • Polk County Conservation- find activities here!
  • Iowa Arboretum
Kids Build Weekend Workshop
The North Central States Regional Council of Carpenters is hosting free "Kids Build" weekend workshops. Council staff and members will help children make their projects and learn new skills. Projects may include small bench, bookends, tool box, key holder, birdhouse, etc. Tools will be supplied and there are no fees to participate. These will be held at the Des Moines Training Center/Local 106 Union Hall (2160 E Douglas Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313).
Attend the Science Center of Iowa for Free!
-BBBSCI is now a member of the Science Center of Iowa! This is a great opportunity for you and your Little as you will be able to attend the Science Center for FREE. It also gives you discounted tickets to the IMAX (like $5 documentary tickets) as well as 10% off at the café and gift shop. If you would like to go to the Science Center, contact Natalie at ncaldwell@bbbsia.org or stop by the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ office to check out one of our 4 membership cards.
Visit the Botanical Center in Des Moines for Free!
-Contact Natalie at ncaldwell@bbbsia.org or stop by the Big Brothers Big Sisters' office to check out one of our 4 membership cards.
Visit the Blank Park Zoo for Free!
-Contact Natalie at ncaldwell@bbbsia.org or stop by the Big Brothers Big Sisters office to check out one of our 4 membership cards.
Partnerships & Community
  • Volunteer with your Little at a local Des Moines organization- find a list of volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch!
  • Write letters to soldiers over the holidays
  • Package Meals for Meals from the Heartland
  • Volunteer at the Food Bank of Iowa- find opportunities here!
  • Donate canned goods and other non-perishable items to your local food pantry
  • Visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  • Attend the Festival of Trees and Lights
  • Volunteer at the Iowa Rescue League or another animal shelter
  • Volunteer with your Little at an organizations you are both passionate about and give back to your community
  • Check out our list of Big Deals for a list of other community partners
Arts & Culture
  • Civic Music Association*
  • Des Moines Art Center
  • Visit the Pappajohn Sculpture Park
  • Des Moines Performing Arts*
  • Des Moines Playhouse*
  • Visit Historical Valley Junction
  • Glazed Expressions*
  • Kil'n Time Studio*
  • Des Moines Symphony
  • Living History Farms
  • State Historical Museum of Iowa
  • Explore and tour the Iowa State Capitol Building
  • Visit the Iowa Hall of Pride
  • Attend Jolly Holiday Lights
  • Visit Celebrate! Innovation Exhibition

Recreation & Physical Activity

  • Gray's Lake
  • Chuck E Cheese’s*
  • Blank Park Zoo
  • YMCA*
  • Climb Iowa
  • GlowGolf Mini Golf
  • Plaza Lanes Bowling Center*
  • Monkey Joe’s*
  • Skyzone*
  • Skate South/North/West
  • Attend an Iowa Energy Game
  • Attend an Iowa Wild Game
  • Attend an Iowa Barnstormer's Game
  • Attend a Des Moines Buccaneer's Game
  • The Old School Arcade (Located in Grimes)
  • Brenton Skating Plaza
  • MB2 Raceway*
  • Visit Ledges State Park
  • Visit the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad
  • Raccoon River Archery Facility
  • Visit Jester Park- find trails, activities and fun here!
  • Visit Jester Park's Equestrian Center
  • Visit Bass Pro Shop to experience the museum, art gallery, antique store, aquarium and entertainment center
  • Visit Seven Oaks Recreation in Boone
Knowledge & Education
  • Science Center of Iowa
  • Capitol Tours
  • State Historical Museum of Iowa
  • Salisbury House & Gardens
  • Tour Terrace Hill and the Governor's Mansion
  • College Campus Visits (DMACC, University of Iowa, Iowa State University, Grand View University, Drake University, Simpson College)
  • Take some kind of class with your Little (i.e. cooking, art, baking, etc.)
  • Tour and shadow professions your Little is interested in
  • Heritage Festivals