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

Updated on September 19, 2017
Peggy W profile image

I spent my early childhood in Wisconsin & later 4 years with my husband when his job took him there. It is a beautiful & very scenic state!

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. 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 the the ice skates were different from the ones commonly worn today. They did not come all in one unit.

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.

We kids would be helped with the proper fitting of the ice skates to the boots and then the fun would begin. All of this took some time to accomplish!

The photo below shows an earlier version of how ice skates appeared in the early days.

Ice skates, probably first half of 20th century, photographed at Edmonds Historical Museum, Edmonds, Washington, USA.
Ice skates, probably first half of 20th century, photographed at Edmonds Historical Museum, Edmonds, Washington, USA. | Source

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.

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.

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!

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. Nonetheless 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.

Photo of my Dad shaking hands with family pet Sheba.
Photo of my Dad shaking hands with family pet Sheba. | Source

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.

Rockerfeller Plaza's ice rink early in the morning prior to skaters icing over the state map of the USA
Rockerfeller Plaza's ice rink early in the morning prior to skaters icing over the state map of the USA | Source

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.

Skating rink at Discovery Green (before the George R. Brown Convention Center) in downtown Houston, Texas in January 2012
Skating rink at Discovery Green (before the George R. Brown Convention Center) in downtown Houston, Texas in January 2012 | Source

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.

Houston Galleria Ice Skating Rink
Houston Galleria Ice Skating Rink | Source

Naturally there are many other ice rinks in other places.

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

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!

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

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

Did you ever ice skate?

See results

© 2010 Peggy Woods

Comments are welcomed!

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    • Peggy W profile image
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      Peggy Woods 20 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      Susie Lehto 20 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
      Author

      Peggy Woods 22 months ago from Houston, Texas

      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

      C E Clark 22 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
      Author

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      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. :)

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 2 years ago from London, UK

      Lovely Hub and I like that you remember the memories so vividly.

      Happy Times. :-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      I agree that it is fun to think of cooler days ahead! We got a few raindrops here the last few days...most of it missed hitting us...but we will happily take what we can get. It got us out of that 100 degree mark...only in the 90's the last few days. Still hot! Thanks for the pin, etc.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I don't know how it is down there in Houston, but up here in North Texas it has been so hot every day for several weeks with no relief in sight. A nice snowstorm would be so welcome right about now. Decided to read about ice skating and winter activities and look at the snowman just because it would be so nice to have a couple of wintery days like that for a change from the relentless heat.

      Pinned this hub to my 'Fun & Interesting' board and will share again with my followers.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Au fait,

      Believe it or not, sometimes the lake could also be a bit lumpy depending upon the freezes and thawing that would take place. Although shoveled of snow, it was not like being polished as is done with these indoor or outdoor professional ice skating rinks. Sounds like you also had some fun with ice skating. Thanks for your votes and the share.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      What great memories you have!

      I loved ice skating, but there wasn't much place for it where I lived. No lakes nearby, or streams. We flooded an area on the east side of our garage and that had to do. One end was smooth, but the rest was lumpy. They eventually built a rink in the ball field at our elementary school and that was fun.

      Voted up and interesting and will share!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi alocsin,

      I would probably end up in traction if I tried ice skating now at my age. It was pretty funny (looking) the last time I was even on roller skates. As a child, I loved doing both. Thanks for your comment and votes.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Growing up in a tropical country and then moving to Southern California, I never had a chance to try some of these winter activities. Probably wouldn't have been any good at ice skating anyway -- I can't even get up on a pair of roller skates. Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Trsmd,

      Living where we now do in Houston, Texas we have occasional freezes but never long enough to freeze lakes or rivers where they could be skated upon. However...at some obvious cost, Discovery Green Park offers an outdoor ice skating rink for several months of the year in winter and inside of the huge shopping mall called Galleria, there is a year round ice skating rink. Thus ice skating can be done year round in Houston.

      Happy to have introduced this special kind of fun to you and thanks for your comment.

    • Trsmd profile image

      Trsmd 5 years ago from India

      My place will always be hot like summer and there is no chance of snowfall and no chance for ice skating.. So it's totally a new way of experience for me to read about the skating..great one..

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Dave,

      Wow! Sounds like you really had fun on ice skates in your youth! Glad that this hub about family fun days could bring back such happy memories of your ice skating days. Enjoyed hearing about it.

    • Knightheart profile image

      Knightheart 6 years ago from MIssouri, USA

      You are singing my song! I love to ice skate...learned when I was very young on racing skates someone ditched in a trashcan. I saved them and they fit, well, mostly fit! Later, I got involved with ice hockey and improved my skating skills dramatically..either that or get used to kissing the boards when checked! LOL Thanks for bringing back some of the memories of my youth.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Charlu,

      I'd kill myself now if I tried to ice skate! How do I know? You should have seen my performance on roller skates the last time I attempted that! Haha! That 81 year old and the 4 year old skating...both were amazing. Thanks for your comments and glad that it made for happy memories for you.

    • Charlu profile image

      Charlu 6 years ago from Florida

      Wonderful hub and all up. I voted yes on the ice skating, but that was 20 yrs ago and I don't think you could classify it as skating. Although I did spend a lot of time on the ice. lol Loved the videos 81 and 4 and Snoopy. Thanks for the memories and laughs

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello dusy7969,

      Like you, I was never very good at ice skating but enjoyed it none-the-less. Thanks for your comment.

    • dusy7969 profile image

      dusy7969 6 years ago from San Diego, California

      I always like the ice skating.But I am not perfect in ice skating.I like the outdoors games but the ice skating is very amazing and funny.So thank you for this hub.Thanks a lot provide the informative and useful tricks.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Loren's Gem,

      One does not have to be good at ice skating to enjoy it. Nice that you have experienced ice skating for yourself. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Loren's Gem profile image

      Loren's Gem 6 years ago from Istanbul, Turkey

      Always loved ice skating - but I've never been so good at it. Great hub, peggy... and I enjoyed watching the videos as well. Voted it up! :-)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Cheryl,

      If you wish to learn the joy of ice skating...check into the Galleria ice skating rink. They have everything available for rental. Good luck! :-)

    • Cheryl J. profile image

      Cheryl J. 6 years ago from Houston, TX

      A great hub with nice videos and photos. I would love to learn the art of ice skating. Thanks for sharing the hubpage on family-fun days outdoor activities for kids.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi princess g,

      Ice skating is really a lot of fun! Judging from your photo (if that is you) you are young enough to give it a try. Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • princess g profile image

      princess g 6 years ago

      I wish I knew how to ice skate, it seems like so much fun:)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      Does that mean that you are going ice skating today or just watching others while you shop?

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 6 years ago

      Peggy just a reminder of this story at the Galleria today :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi SUSIE DUZY,

      Ice skating on a pond sounds like fun. If you take your grandkids to an ice skating rink and try ice skating again for yourself...don't break anything. I don't have grandkids...so my bones are safe. Haha! These are fun memories. Thanks for the comment.

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image

      SUSIE DUZY 6 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      This brings back so many great memories. I loved to ice skate when I was a kid, but we skated on a pond near our home. I think I will take my grandkids to a rink and see if I can still get up on skates.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Steph,

      Nice that you have these ice skating memories and undoubtedly you are now having some family fun days doing the same thing with your kids. Can't think of much better outdoor activities for kids in the wintertime! It was great ice skating on the lake, but of course there was a bit of work involved first unlike just going to a rink. Still...it was great! Thanks for the comment and vote up.

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Love ice-skating! With a winter birthday (4 days b/f Christmas), we often went to an ice-skating rink to celebrate. One thing I've never done that I always have wanted to do is to skate on a frozen pond! Rated up- beautiful!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Hello, hello,

      It sounds like we did many of the same things as kids. Ice skating on the frozen lake was one of those outdoor activities for kids that my parents also shared and we had a great time of it. Thanks for your childhood memories!

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      you brought back all my childhood memories of skating on ice of frozen lakes. Somehad skate and some had none. Nobody cared and we had nothing but and pure fun.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello oceansnsunsets,

      Glad that you enjoyed this hub about outdoor activities for kids, family fun days and ice skating. Hope your boys continue to like ice skating and do well in that sport. It is fun! Thanks for the comment.

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Great hub on ice skating, thank you so much for sharing it. I never became a good ice skater, but I think my boys may have better luck at it! Fun hub!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Kaie,

      Do you watch your son ice skate via video or television? Is he some famous olympic athlete? Nice that you were able to spend family fun days with him when he was small and go ice skating together. You'll carry that memory always! Thanks for the visit and comment.

    • Kaie Arwen profile image

      Kaie Arwen 6 years ago

      I still get to watch my son skate regularly, just not in person :-( How I miss the days when he was five and I got to go with him.............. might just have to learn to venture out on my own! Thanks for this! Kaie

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Micky,

      Those monkeys can ice skate better than I would be able to if I attempted it today. I'm not quite that foolish! You should have seen me the last time I tried roller skating! Haha! Not a pretty sight!

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Tony,

      I'm glad to have had those family fun days with my parents and brothers ice skating when I was young. Like you I have a real appreciation for those figure skaters and am spellbound watching the Olympic competitors in ice skating. It looks so beautiful! Thanks for the visit. Love and peace to you and everyone in the world.

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 6 years ago

      Peggy! You've got monkeys, an 81 year old lady, and a four year old wonderful wonder skating. I'm so out of my league! I'm at a loss for words! Monkeys can ice-skate! Micky can't!

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 6 years ago from South Africa

      Funny how different things are - for us ice-skating is an indoor activity - there is no naturally-occurring ice here that could be skated on! And of course certainly not in December which is our summer.

      My mother spent some time in England and learnt to skate outdoors there. The very thought of my father on skates, though, is just laughable! I'm sure he never in his life put on a pair, as I haven't!

      I love watching figure-skating though. The grace and speed are enthralling.

      Thanks for this interesting Hub.

      Love and peace

      Tony

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Prasetio,

      Ice skating is really fun for those that learn how to stay upright. Alas, there are many falls in learning this process. But it turns out to be family fun days (if done with one's family) and also great outdoor activities for kids...as well as good indoor ones with all of the proliferation of indoor ice skating rinks. Glad that you liked the pictures. Bless you and thanks!

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I never try ice skating before. Good information. I thought every activity related with ice always dun and interesting, right. Thanks for share with us. I also liked the pictures. Good work, Peggy. I vote this Up.

      Blessing and hugs,

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello vietnamvet68,

      We also had fun roller skating in my parents basement. That was about the best place because our driveway and roadway leading up to our house in the country used to be gravel back then. Thanks for reading and commenting on this hub about outdoor activities for kids, ice skating and family fun days spent with my family.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Happyboomernurse,

      So happy that this hub about family fun days and ice skating brought back so many happy memories for you as well. My parents were happily engaged in outdoor activities for kids when we were growing up in the countryside of Wisconsin. I know that they had fun also! Thanks for the comment.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi dahoglund,

      My parents had to get involved as there were no ice skating rinks back in our area except for the frozen ice on the lake. Generally it was snow covered, so the shoveling and making a decent sized area was the first order of business. When we were younger, it would have been impossible for we kids to have done all of this by ourselves AND learn how to skate by ourselves. So it was a family fun day out of necessity as well as enjoyment for them as well. My parents were wonderful and played with us in many different ways especially when we were younger. Baseball, ping pong, crochet, swimming, etc. It was a long list! We had the same kind of roller skates that you described. I do remember having some white ice skates of my own prior to us moving to Texas. Thanks for the comment.

    • vietnamvet68 profile image

      vietnamvet68 6 years ago from New York State

      i never could master the art of ice skating, but I was able to roller skate quite good, intresting hub and very well put together. God Bless

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      This hub was an absolute joy to read and watch and I rated it up across the board! Between my own fond childhood memories of skating as a child with my family (I was like your Mom and aunt, not very good, but loved it), and skating with my son and husband at Rockefeller Center and Bear Mountain State Park, and watching these fun and amazing videos of Charlie Brown characters, chimps, 4 year olds and 81 year olds skating, I had a wonderful time here on this hub.

      Thanks so much for starting my day in such a joyful, uplifting way.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      up and beautiful. I don't believe parents got much involved in kids stuff in our day. In Minneapolis most parks flooded an area where for ice skating. We had a park about six blocks away I tried to like it but I have always had a circulation problem so my hands and feet get cold very fast.I've never seen clamp on ice skates like you describe but we did have clamp on roller skates. We roller skated on the sidewalks but the wheels wore out rather fast.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      Too bad digital cameras were not available when we had our family fun days outside ice skating those many years ago. Could have gotten some great pictures. Oh well...they are embedded in my memory and happy to be able to share them with you and others. We were so lucky to have easy access to a lake for summer and winter activities back when I was a kid. Made for great outdoor activities in many seasons of the year.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello Irohner,

      Have fun ice skating! Do you ice skate outdoors or have an inside rink? All of those inside rinks certainly make for easier access these days. No shoveling of snow to make the ice accessible and smooth like my parents had to do. That was just part of the excitement that was part of our family fun days shared together.

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello agusfanani,

      I do realize that we were lucky to have had those experiences and fun with my family while ice skating and having had my dad teaching us was great. I would not attempt it today! That 81 year old figure skater in the video is something!!!

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 6 years ago

      I have only iceskated a few times and it does seem fun but not easy - you tell some great skating stories Peggy :)

    • Peggy W profile image
      Author

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hello katrinasui,

      Nice that you also have experienced ice skating even if you are not a Nancy Kerrigan. Most of us who have ice skated will never be of Olympic caliber but we can still have family fun days on the ice. Thanks for the first comment.

    • lrohner profile image

      lrohner 6 years ago from USA

      You are right Peggy, this certainly does bring back memories! It's been a long time since I've been on the ice, but you've inspired me to get back to it!

    • agusfanani profile image

      agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia

      Ice skating is a very fun and healthful activity.I once tried indoor ice skating but I found it hard to learn. It needs an instructor to play ice skating correctly if we don't want to sprain our ankle. You're lucky to have your dad to teach you this sport.

    • katrinasui profile image

      katrinasui 6 years ago

      I love ice skating but i am so bad at it but still i love it. It's very fun. Its true that ice skating is one of the best outdoor activities for kids. Great hub.