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 Ice Skating for Kids
Detailed information on cost, clothing, equipment and lessons

AGE GROUP BOYS AND GIRLS STARTING AT AGE 4

What is Ice Skating?

Ice Skating is a popular winter sport, or pastime that uses a specialized shoe, usually with a single blade, to glide over an ice-covered surface.  As a competitive sport it includes figure skating, speed skating, ice dancing and ice hockey is done on an ice rink or a frozen body of water. 

Ice skating is an exhilarating, relatively inexpensive activity that provides an excellent source of exercise and entertainment for the entire family.  Learning to ice skate is actually quite easy and a great deal of fun.  It however does requires a little determination, and a lot of practice.

When to start Ice Skating?

Kids do like to start ice skating at a young age because  it is a unique activity that looks fun.  It is a sport that can be pursued anywhere that you live and it can be enjoyed from a young age to adulthood.

Your child must be mature enough to be able to attentively listen to his/her instructor and follow their directions. In addition, it is recommended that you wait until your child has better flexibility, muscle strength, balance, coordination, and endurance.  A good readiness test is to have your child walk in skates on the floor.   If this goes well then your child is physically ready to try this sport.

Toddlers of two and three years old can be exposed to skating, usually with double-bladed skates for better balance.  However, age four is the best age to start formal group lessons. If your child is eager and can meet the basic criteria before he is 4 years old, you may consider private lessons. They are more flexible with the length of lesson and can adapt to the age of the child.

Ice skating starts with learning how to balance on the ice skates and learning to move from point A to point B. Once this is accomplished advanced skaters can move on to figure skating, ice dancing, ice hockey, synchronized or speed skating.

There are five types of skating that are recognized for formal competition. These include:

  • Singles/Figure-Skating -  Short or long choreographed programs where skaters are judged on appearance, showmanship and ability.
  • Pairs Skating -  Mixed genders pairs  perform choreographed programs that include lifts and throws.
  • Ice Dancing - The interpretation of dance and theatre on the ice.
  • Synchronized Skating  -Teams of multiple skaters perform a synchronized routine.
  • Speed Skating - Involves sprinting in a circle for a set distance and the fastest skater, or the last skater still standing, wins.
  • Ice Hockey - A extremely fast-paced game played between two teams on an ice rink with the object of scoring on your opponent by getting a hard rubber puck into the goal.
  Ice skating classes teach the fundamentals of this sport. Whether your child is interested in skating recreationally or pursuing competitive/figure skating, skate school is the first step. Each level is designed to meet your child's age, ability and goals.  As skaters progress, they will spend significantly more time on the ice.

COST

Ice skating is usually associated with being a Winter sport but there are now many indoor ice rinks that are open year-round for your skating pleasure.  

It is possible to learn to ice skate without formal instruction, but new skaters should take ice skating lessons when possible. Like any other sport training, lessons will teach your child the correct ice skating techniques.  In addition, they will have an expert observe their movements to make sure they are skating correctly.  They will most likely learn to ice skate much quicker and it will be easier on you.  Lastly, they will avoid forming bad habits that could hinder them in the future.

Cost of Lessons...

The types of lessons available and the cost will vary based on location, so it is imperative that you check the ice rinks near you for specific details. The type of lessons available: Private which is one participant to one instructor; Semi-private which is 2-5 participants to one instructor;  Group lessons which are a large number of participants to one instructor.

Private lessons could run about $40 - $45 per lesson while semi-private will run around $25 - $30 per lesson.  Group lessons for beginning skaters is relatively reasonable.  The cost is approximately $10 - $20 per lesson and this will normally include the cost of rental skates. 

If you are not a total beginner, and/or would like to learn how to perform various figure skating moves, private ice skating lessons may work best for you. With private lessons, you will get the one-on-one attention that can help you rapidly improve your ice skating skills.  In addition private lesson times are more flexible.  

With semi-private ice skating lessons you will have more individual instruction time then with group lessons. The additional attention will help your child to learn skating techniques quicker.

If your child is a beginner, you should consider starting by taking group ice skating lessons to determine if they enjoy the sport.  Rinks that offer group lessons often offer discounts or include in the lesson price skate rental, future lessons, and public skate sessions.  Public skate time is important for practice.   However you must consider that with group ice skating lessons you child will receive very little individual skating instructions and schedules are not flexible since lesson times are set by the ice rink.

Most rinks will do all types of lessons in a 5 - 8 week sessions with each lesson lasting approximately 30 minutes.  Discounts are normally offered if you sign up for multiple sessions.   Each skater taking private lessons is responsible for paying the rink for the ice time the lesson will take place on. This cost, as well as the cost of skate rental if needed, are not included in the cost for private lessons. The cost of ice time at each ice arena will range from $5 to $15.  The skater will pay the instructor/coach directly, since they are not employees of the ice arena, for the private lesson.

Competitive skating can be very expensive, when you add up costs for coaching, gear, rink time, competitive events, and travel.

What is open skate time?

Open skate time is designated times throughout the day and evening, usually a 1 1/2 time slot, that the skating rinks are open to the public. The fee for open skate is around $7 and Rental skates cost a few dollars per session.

What is the Time Commitment for Ice Skating?

For beginning skaters time commitment is minimal.  It will include weekly lessons  and some practice time. As skaters progress, they will spend significantly more time on the ice. Serious skaters practice or take lessons at least four to five days a week, plus train off the ice. Competitive skaters also travel for testing and competitions. Top figure skaters may turn to home schooling or online learning to balance skating and school commitments.

 

EQUIPMENT

Whether skating indoors or outdoors it is important that your child dress for warmth by layering your clothing.  Most indoor arenas are kept between 50-60 degrees, so jackets are recommended.  Outside ice skating rinks can be any temperature so if it is really cold your child may need tights or thermal underwear to help stay warm.

Clothing should be close-fitting and comfortable, if it is too big or loose it can get tangled up in the ice skates and cause accidents.  Sweatpants or warm-up pants are ideal. Jeans are not recommended because they stay wet for too long and will be uncomfortable. Waterproof snow suits are great for young children.

It is especially important to have waterproof mittens or gloves and a hat to keep ears warm. Hands will feel much better when your child falls if he/she is wearing gloves. Feet will feel best if your child wears one pair of lightweight, warm seamless socks.   A beginner, renting rink skates, may want to use a thicker sock to help pad the foot since the skates are not of the highest quality and many are greatly worn.

Helmets are recommended for children 6 and under and all beginning skaters.  Skates can be rented at all ice rinks.

As your child advances as a skater and gets more involved with other sports additional equipment will be required.  For instance figure skaters will need costumes for performances and competitions, and ice hockey players will need hockey gear.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Skates should be sharpened after about four to six hours of ice time.

It takes time to break in skates and feel comfortable in them.