Family Fun Days ~ Outdoor Activities for Kids ~ Winter Ice Skating

Outdoor fun


Back when I was a child some of my best winter-time memories came from spending time ice skating as one of our family fun days. I am certain that my parents were interested in finding good and healthy outdoor activities for kids but it was equally fun for them.

My fraternal grandmother lived on Okauchee Lake in Wisconsin in the home in which my father was born.

Every summer we had a great time swimming in the lake but when the ice became thick enough in the winter, that is when a special kind of fun began.

First my parents would have to shovel and clear a space of snow on the frozen ice to create our ice skating rink. As we kids, my two younger brothers and I got old enough we would help them clear the ice.

This was such an exciting time for our entire family!



Source

Adjustable ice skates


Back in those days of the mid to late 1950s there were not ice skates such as are common today.


We were bundled up in our layers of clothes with snowsuits over the top and our pant legs were stuffed into the tops of our boots.


Onto the bottom of our boots would be clamped the ice skates.


All of this took some time to accomplish!


My Dad did most of the clearing of the ice and since he had grown up living on a lake and was naturally very athletic, he would be the first person on ice skates.


We kids would be helped with the proper fitting of the ice skates to the boots and then the fun would begin.


Good thing we had many layers of clothes on!


As I recall as we kids wobbled onto the ice we spent as much time on our rear ends as up on our skates...especially in the beginning of each winter ice skating season.

Snoopy & Friends - She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown!

Fun days


We were always so excited when we knew that we were going to get to go ice skating!


My mother was never a great ice skater like my dad was.


She used to tell me stories of their growing up near Washington Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and doing some ice skating on the frozen lake in the winter.


Her brother who had a paper route purchased his own good ice skates with his money and he exhibited an ease of skating that my mother and her sister did not share. My mother even remembered the longer tips on his racing skates.

One sister skated with her ankles bowed outward riding on the edges of the skates that way and the other sister (my mother or aunt) skated just the opposite way with the ankles bowed inward. They must have been quite a sight!

When my mother was still alive and talking by telephone to her sister, they had a good laugh about those days.


Needless-to-say, when it came to teaching the three of us kids how to ice skate, my dad took over!

81 Year Old Figure Skater!

Chimps on ice

Learning how to ice skate


I really don't know the specific teaching methods that my dad used in teaching us how to ice skate.

There are ice skating schools in existence for those interested in learning proper techniques.


My dad undoubtedly learned by trial and error with perhaps some older family members teaching him? I really don't know those particulars since his dad died when my father was only 7 years of age and I never saw my grandmother ice skate.

None-the-less he was an expert in my eyes!

Besides skating going forward he impressed us by doing fancy loops and also skating backwards which is something we kids never learned as our ice skating days ended in 1960 when our family moved to Texas.

I still remember the thrill of being let go and actually being able to not only stay up on those ice skates but actually learning how to propel ourselves forward.

Memories like those tend to stay with one just like successfully riding a two wheeled bicycle for the first time solo.

Oh yes...there were plenty of falls on the ice but much accompanying laughter also.

Had we stayed in Wisconsin longer, perhaps we would have learned to do a bit more on ice skates like my dad.

Today if I tried ( and which at my age I have no intent ) I would probably end up in intensive care! Haha!

Ice skating rinks


Ice skating rinks can now be found in many places outdoors seasonally. Rockefeller Center ice skating comes to mind and much Christmas ice skating is done during this time of year in New York.


Houston's Discovery Green has an outdoor rink for ice skating fun this time of year. Obviously the ice is created at some expense by the park department as our temperatures are not cold enough for the ice to form naturally.


Houston's Galleria which is an indoor mall has had an ice skating rink that was quite the attraction when it was new. It continues to be frequented all times of the year for kids and adults alike and visitors can look down upon the ice rink from the 2 upper levels of the mall with specialty stores and restaurants surrounding the ice rink.


Naturally there are many other ice rinks in other places.


People in colder climates can even have ice rinks in their backyards now-a-days with products that can be purchased to create those environments. Don't live on a lake? No problem!

Winter Wonderland by Doris Day

From a fellow hubber...

Did you ever ice skate?

See results without voting

Memories


Ice skating was definitely one of the fun things to do in Wisconsin where I grew up as a child.


But whether one lives in a cold climate or a warmer one where lakes and rivers do not normally freeze in the winter, with the prevalence of seasonal outdoor ice skating rinks as well as indoor ones, ice skating continues to be something in which to engage your kids and entire family for that matter in fun filled activities that will create memories of your own.


Besides having fun, it is great exercise!

Where I grew up as a child. Notice all the lakes?

A markerOconomowoc, Wisconsin -
Oconomowoc, WI 53066, USA
[get directions]

Place where I grew up as a child. Notice all the lakes?

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed! 58 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 10 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Susie,

It does look so carefree watching an experienced ice skater gliding across the ice. My last time on ice skates was prior to my becoming a teenager. I would probably kill myself if I tried now. My last time on roller skates for that matter was almost laughable. :))


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 10 months ago from Minnesota

I love to watch people who can ice skate well because they look so free as they glide. I never learned how to ice skate and can imagine what I missed.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 12 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

Am sure it won't be too long before those living in northern climes will be able to ice skate on rivers, ponds and lakes. Here in Houston people can ice skate year round in the indoor rinks inside Galleria and Memorial Mall. Seasonal outdoor ones are also provided. We don't have to wait for cold weather. Nice! Merry Christmas to you! :))


Au fait profile image

Au fait 12 months ago from North Texas

This is the sort of thing I like to read about in July or August. ;) Should be cold enough soon for people to be skating if it isn't already. My sister tells me every week how chilly it's getting in northern Wisconsin. Something fun to look forward to when the days are cold and dreary with thick clouds.

Sharing again. Merry Christmas again!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 17 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Lady E,

Many of us seem to remember our childhood days...at least the fun ones like the ice skating that I got to do prior to moving to Texas. Am sure you must have some cherished memories as well. :)


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