Super Skaters: Ice skating tips for family trips to the ice rink
I have always loved ice skating around Christmas time. There are a few outdoor ice rinks that pop up at this time of year near to us and one of our favourite things to do is take the children ice skating the week of Christmas at the McArthur Glen Designer Outlet in York. They have everything Christmassy set up outside the shopping centre, taking over a chunk of the car park and full of fun things you can drop in and do, or pre-book.
They have a fun fair which I can honestly say is insanely expensive and better avoided if truth be told (unless you want to dig deep into the pockets), a Christmas treats van selling chocolate fountain delights, roasted chestnuts, candy floss, pulled turkey rolls and fudge sticks. NOM.
Next to the ice rink is a brilliant café and bar, it really is ideal and if you are making it a family trip or couple trip they cater to both at different times, if you’re there with the family you can even meet Santa by pre-booking a visit!
So, it’s all well and good telling you I love ice skating at Christmas time but I don’t want to give you any illusions that I’m any good at it! I’m SO not! None of us are, and we all have a good giggle staggering around the outside and getting our bums wet from falling over!
What are my tips though for actually enjoying ice skating with children, despite the lack of talent?
Book a quiet time7pm on a Friday night? Erm, no. Book a quiet time with the kids, a time when everyone knows it’s *mainly* going to be kids and not adults trying to show off like crazy loons. We usually go morning time over the weekend or if the kids have broken up morning time mid-week is even better. This year mine break up on 22nd so we will go on the Saturday before Xmas.
Don’t expect to be goodExpect to be about as graceful as a wildebeest in rollerskates. Ice skating for the first time isn’t going to be something that you rock at instantly, and more so, your kids won’t rock at it straight away either. Don’t get overconfident and feel free to stay at the sides. Try not to hold them up, they will no doubt pull you over or you will be so busy holding them that you will lose balance and pull them over (I did this to Toby and he still hasn’t forgiven me).
100% pay extra for the aid that children hold on toAt our local one, it is a penguin or snowman and they hold it whilst you go round with them. I think these things are usually an extra £2-3 but they are brilliant for building up confidence, and if you want to say you’re good now thanks, that’s cool. Just pop it to the side off the ice rink - they aren't that expensive either and it makes for a much better time on the ice.
Don’t push itAlthough this is one of my fave things to do at Christmas, both boys and Adam declared they didn’t like it after falling over twice. Adam took Toby off who said he didn’t like it anymore and Reuben stayed with me for another 10 mins. I think our whole time on the ice rink (which we paid for an hour on) was 25-30 mins. I fully expected that they wouldn’t want to do it the following year but guess what? They REALLY did. I genuinely think it’s because we didn’t push them – as soon as they were done, we were cool with it. Also, if you come off within the hour after say 10 mins and want to go back again after another 20, you can.
So there you have it – just have fun! It’s also worth noting that most ice rinks will have 2-3 people who are there and can help if you fall over, get upset etc, so don't be nervous heading to the rink!
Have you taken your kids ice skating? Let us know your tips in a comment below, or be sure to check out our other Christmas ideas and inspiration.