My child has always been frightened by ice, and as such, she has always declined our offers to get laced up and on the rink. We have never forced the issue, since we like our daughter to self-direct her own extracurricular activities - we never want to push her into something she doesn’t enjoy. But recently, after seeing one of her little friends in a fresh pair of figure skates, she expressed an interest in skating. My husband and I decided to introduce our daughter to the ice through a Family Skate at Karen Magnussen Community Recreation Centre, and we’ve concluded that this is a fantastic way to expose children to skating for the first time. Here’s why:
Skate aids help kids feel at ease
Skating aids are permitted in the rink during Family Skates (note: they are not permitted during regular Public Skates). The security of holding onto something that offers support and balance makes all the difference for a child who is new to the ice. And there are always plenty available, so no need to worry about a shortage. My child was instantly comforted by the availability of skating aids, and the safety factor made me feel better, too.
Exposure to other kids at different skating levels
I could see my little one’s wheels turning as she scoped out the other kids on the ice. Some were in her age group, and of those, a few were also using skate aids, while some were not. I think it was good for her to see that; some kids were at her level, others were a bit more advanced. So she was in good company with kids who were in the same boat, but there were also some more experienced skaters for her to look up to, showing her examples of where she could get to if she took some lessons and practiced skating.
More families - more camaraderie
When you are bringing your child to a new place for a brand new experience, it helps to see other families around. A public skate could be intimidating for a new skater, since some skaters zoom around the ice. It’s easier to learn and enjoy a family outing when the event is family driven. Many other families on the ice were brand new to skating, and knowing that others are in the same situation, just trying to have fun and learn at the same time is very encouraging.
Accessibility at your fingertips
From friendly staff to skate and helmet rentals, NVRC makes Family Skates a breeze, offering everything you need to enjoy a safe and fun-filled spin around the ice. Rates are very affordable, which makes Family Skates more accessible to families with a wide range of incomes. Inclusivity is important, and through affordable rates, more members of the community are able to take advantage of programs and services. Families can skate for $2.90 per person. As well, NVRC offers $2 skates on Tuesday at Harry Jerome Community Recreation Centre.
As for us? Well, our daughter is still nervous on the ice, but she has asked to return to it and give skating another try. And despite a couple of falls that were more embarrassing for her than painful, she had a great time, was grinning for nearly the entire duration if our skate, and began to learn a new skill. What more could we, as parents, ask for?
If you’re thinking about introducing your child to skating, or you’re just looking for a fun and inexpensive way to have some family fun, a Family Skate is a great option.
You can find schedule information for NVRC’s Public and Family Skates by visiting the skating schedules webpage. Happy skating!
P.S. NVRC also offers really great learn to skate programs so your kids can learn from the pros!
Stephanie is a professional writer and photographer residing in North Vancouver with her husband and five-year-old daughter. She grew up in Ontario, but considers British Columbia to be her true home. Having attended the journalism program at George Brown college in Toronto, Stephanie’s writing career has included music journalism works with the likes of Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Sound Magazine, and she has written blogs and content/copywriting for various fashion, beauty and lifestyle publications and brands around the world.
Stephanie owns The Imperative Image, an affordable photography service for professionals. As a wellness advocate and a proud North Shore resident, Stephanie is thrilled to contribute to the NVRC Active Living Blog.