I don’t remember how old I was when I wore my first pair of skates, but one thing I’ve always been grateful for is that my parents taught me to ice skate.
I’m certainly not a figure skater, and I’ve never played hockey. But whenever there was a frozen patch of ice, I’d get my skates out and be outside until dark. School trips often consisted of heading to the local arena for an afternoon of ice skating (let’s not forget roller skating as well!). I even remember getting into HUGE trouble for putting my skates on in my bedroom. That in itself wasn’t the issue, but we had hardwood floors. My dad was pissed!
When I first met my husband, he told me that he used to play hockey growing up. I still had the last pair of skates my parents bought me (yes, they continued to allow me to own a pair, even after the hardwood floor incident). I was thrilled that we had another activity to enjoy together.
When Tyler came into our lives, we appreciated ice-skating even more. Ice skating is a low-cost activity, it’s great physical activity and what better excuse to get hot chocolate than going ice-skating?
Tyler’s first pair of skates were the standard kid’s double-blade skates. They were not only adjustable, but they were also adorable. My husband and I took turns carrying him around the ice and playing in center ice, as he learned to balance and glide over the ice by himself.
We repeated the entire process with Caleb, using the same type of skates.
The only drawback that we’ve found is how fast kids outgrow them and need a larger pair. Shoes are one thing because usually, they’re ready for the garbage by the time kids outgrow them anyway. But with ice skates, they don’t often see a lot of damage. I should know, I still have that same pair of skates, and with the exception of a little bit of rust, they’re still in great condition!
To combat this expense, we’ve found a few sports consignment shops in the area. We can exchange for a bigger pair (and pay a little less than buying a brand new pair). There’s even a local outdoor rink that does rentals and free skate exchanges.
There is a small fee to pay for admission, and most arenas have a snack bar. We pay the family admission, but try to scope out free skating wherever possible.
As of this writing, Tim Horton’s offers free holiday skating times to four provinces in Canada. I think it’s just awesome to give kids of all ages something to do over the holidays when there isn’t much to do other than go to the mall.
Also, I love throwing something into the crockpot, going ice-skating, and coming home to a hot meal and hot chocolate. Recently, my husband and I spent our wedding anniversary at an outdoor rink and enjoyed a glass of wine next to a fireplace. It felt so luxurious to spend an afternoon that way.
If you’re looking for a worthwhile activity for your family, ice-skating is economical and fun. It’s a great way to burn some of those holiday calories and get active!