One of the best parts about Minnesota winters is the plethora of fun and fantastic winter sports from which to choose. You can ski, tube, build snow forts, have snowball fights, or even spend a leisurely afternoon making snow angels.
One of our favorite winter pastimes, though, would have to be ice skating. If you are looking for the best places to go ice skating in Minneapolis, look no further. We have also provided you with some helpful tips and tricks to teach your youngsters to skate.
At Twin Cities Kids Club, we know that any time spent with your kids can be quality time. Join the club today for deals and discounts on activities around town.
Let’s Learn to Skate!
Ice skating is tons of fun, but it is not the most natural sport to pick up, especially for the little ones. Without adequate forethought, ice skating can quickly transform from a dream afternoon to a real nightmare.
If you are taking your kids ice skating for the first time, you might want to follow our simple guidelines. They may mean the difference between a group of smiling, laughing faces and a bunch of grumpy kiddos.
1. What you wear matters
When it comes to a successful ice skating outing, you need to dress for success. One of the essential items you must be sure you and your family wear is the proper pair of socks. They need to be tall and the right thickness.
You don’t want socks that are too lightweight, so your kid’s toes don’t get cold. You also don’t want them to be too thick because there is a chance they will rub and cause blisters. Don’t try to layer socks. Two pairs of socks may cut off circulation.
You may consider staying away from jeans as they can be restrictive. Fleece-lined leggings or windbreakers are ideal.
2. Make sure your skates are the right fit
Your skates should fit snugly, like ski boots. They should not be loose-fitting, like your regular shoes. If your skates are roomy enough that your foot can move around, your balance will likely be off.
3. Take baby steps
Once you are on the ice, whether you like it or not, you are off and running. One of the best ways to learn a new skill is by simply doing. For small children, though, learning to ice skate by falling all over the ice is not ideal.
Luckily, your kids can practice skating techniques before they ever step on the ice. Bonus, it is actually kind of fun.
Tell your kid that the best way to learn to skate is to walk like a dinosaur. Have them lace up their skates and march in small steps. They will have fun and gain practical knowledge that will help them when they finally step out onto the ice.
4. Don’t be afraid to fall
If your kid is anything like our kids, falling is nothing new to them. Granted, landing on the ice is different than falling on grass or carpet, but a fall is a fall.
You should teach your kids that falling is part of skating, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a good idea to try to teach your kids how to fall on the ice.
- Teach your kids to fall backward, not forward
- Tell them not to fight the fall, don’t flail and fall slowly
- Train them to keep their hands and fingers off the ice once they do fall
Kids and patience do not often go hand in hand. When they are learning a new skill, they can become easily frustrated. It is essential to remind them that everyone falls. They should always pick themselves up and carry on.
If your kid falls several times and becomes angry and expresses a desire to give up, we have a recommendation. Pull out your phone and watch some videos of professional skaters falling.
They will see these practiced professionals fall down, but they will also see them get back up and keep going. Plus, you will both be entertained.
5. Take it slow
Don’t expect your kid to pick up the sport too quickly. Follow the ‘walk like a dinosaur’ method, and your kid will eventually work up to a glide. They should try to move on from a march to a glide.
Motivate them to work on making their feet quieter as they become more comfortable. The marching dinosaur steps are loud and short, while the gliding steps are more quiet and long.
6. Safety is key
When you are out having fun on the ice, it may be easy to forget that skating can be dangerous. If you take these few precautions, you’ll be fine.
- Never carry your child while skating
- Never walk on the ice in your regular shoes
- Consider wearing a helmet- don’t be a hero, set a good example and wear one yourself
You don’t want your afternoon of fun to end up in the emergency room. If it seems unsafe to you, use your best judgment and repeat to yourself, “safety first.”
7. Enroll your kids in a class
If skating is something your child shows a genuine interest in, consider signing them up for skating lessons. Many skating rinks offer classes, often for kids as young as three.
If you find a skating rink you and your kids really like, just ask the manager about kid’s classes.
8. Above all, don’t push your kids
The most important thing to remember is that, above all, you are supposed to be having fun. If skating is not something your child enjoys, don’t force them. It is possible that they are just not quite ready yet.
If you push them into anything before they are ready, they are unlikely ever to give that activity a genuine chance when they finally are.
Where should we skate?
Once you and your little ones are ready to skate, you have many options. The Twin Cities area is full of skating rinks. Here are just a few of them:
- Armatage Park
- Loring Park
- Lake Nokomis Park
- Powderhorn Park
- Northwest Como Park
- Webber Park
- Windom Northeast Park