My husband and I grew up in Massachusetts. Walking to the nearest pond and skating was something we both did on a regular basis every winter. We’re both so excited to be living in a community with skating rinks all over the place! This wasn’t the case in the other southern cities we’ve lived, so neither of our kids had learned how to skate. Our 11 year old had been on skates once, the six year old not at all.
So we registered them for a four-week session at the Skating Academy at Plano Star Center and did our best to ignore their whines and complaints. The first lesson wasn’t pretty. We got to the rink later than we should have (the check-in line on the first night is LONG), struggled to get their skates on (getting a grumpy kid to cooperate on communicating if skates fit is challenging) and cringed as they stumbled and fought back tears of frustration.
I was not happy, and felt like a horrible parent for setting them up to fail.
Their first four weeks of lessons are now complete. We’ve taken them to public skate sessions twice and purchased them each a pair of used skates (yeah for Play it Again Sports)…and they both admit they like to skate! What a difference four weeks makes! So we just signed them up for another four-week session.
Our six year old (who had never even worn skates before) can now get across the ice without falling down. When we go to public skate he still clings to one of those walkers, but he’s happy. Our 11 year old (who had been ice skating once before) can now skate, reasonably well, and loves it. He thinks going fast and falling down on purpose is great fun. Scroll down for a video!
Based on our experience…here are some tips if you’re planning to sign up for lessons:
- Show up really early on the first night. Even if you registered online you still have to wait in line, get skates and put them on each child. Aim to get there 30 minutes before your lesson starts.
- If possible, have both parents go. It was so helpful to have two sets of hands as putting on skates can be difficult, and it’s a huge waste of valuable class time if they have to be tightened.
- Go to some public skate sessions so they can practice what they are learning.
- Sign up for the unlimited option (they can go to as many classes over 4 weeks as you can get to) if you have the time. They will pick it up a lot faster if you go a few times each week (you can even do two lessons in a row). This is less expensive than multiple 4-week sessions.
- If your child would like to Learn to Play Hockey they recommend you get the basics of Learn To Skate down first (which is good since hockey requires more equipment!).
Ice skating is a great winter activity. If you don’t know how to skate they offer lessons for ages 3 to adults, with multiple lessons going on at one time. While this is a bit chaotic, especially on the first night, it’s great if you have multiple people taking lessons. As kids learn the skills for each level they can move up to another level without you having to go multiple nights! You can sign up for any rink online, or do so in person on the first night of lessons. Lesson fees include skate rentals.
You can also sign your 4-8 year old up for FREE ice hockey lessons (skating experience not required) via the Little Rookies program.