Four Super-Fun Backyard Ice Rink Games For Young Children

Posted on: 12 January 2015

Teaching your little one to skate is a fun and heartwarming way to spend some time outdoors in the winter. While it isn't always practical to go to the local rink, installing a backyard ice rink can be an excellent way to enjoy the fun right at home. If you've been considering whether a backyard ice rink is right for your family, take a look at some of the fun you can have in this handy list. With games and ideas easily crafted from home, you'll all be whirling around in no time.

Kitchen Chair Races

Very often, one of the biggest fears for children is that they will fall. You can circumvent this and create some fun at the same time by hosting kitchen chair races. You do need a very specific style of chair for this--look for legs with rubber-tipped covers or use furniture pads to keep regular legs from scratching the ice.

Tip: Cheap plastic lawn chairs aren't a good choice for this, although they may seem so; they tend to collapse or shatter in the cold and do a poor job of supporting your little one.

Starting with two to three "racers," allow little ones to skate behind the chair while pushing it across the ice. For true beginners, one lap across is plenty. As their skills grow, you can add obstacles or do multiple laps. 

This is an incredibly easy way to have fun, but please don't choose grandma's good wood furniture--the cold and humidity found in winter may cause damage to expensive chairs.

Count to 10

This game serves a dual purpose--kids will learn their basic numbers while learning to skate. For this one, you'll need to create laminated numbers. Start this by using poster board to draw out large, 12" high numbers. From 1-10 is best, but you can go further for older children if preferred.

Tip: Laminating them isn't required, but it will help to preserve them for future use. This can be done at your local copy shop or from home with the help of a home laminator machine.

To start the game, sprinkle the numbers around your backyard ice rink. Have children skate to them and pick them up in the correct order. Use a small laundry basket from inside your home to store them during the game.

Hunt for Treats

This is a game that you simply can't play at a regular rink--most don't allow you to eat on the ice, period! But the beauty of having your own personal home rink in the backyard is that you can do whatever you wish.

Think of Hunt for Treats as the winterized version of an Easter Egg hunt--swapping the bright green grass for the surface of the rink. Use opaque containers from home to hide chocolates, candies and other treats within them. Make sure to place plenty of dud finds, too, as this will keep them searching.

A small slip of paper that says "better luck next time," is fine if children can read. Otherwise, you can simply leave them empty for younger kids.

Start a group of children off at the same time. Whoever finds the most treats in the shortest amount of time is the winner. You can grant the winner an extra-special treat, or you can make it so that every child is a winner in the end--whatever works best for your family.

Toilet Paper Tournament Toss

This activity will help children to learn to stay upright,while skating and looking forward at the same time. These are valuable coordination skills that will help them to advance to more intricate techniques.

Grab a bag of toilet paper rolls from your bathroom and a laundry basket from the laundry room. Or, if you have a bit of sewing skill, follow this handy guide to make your own permanent bean bags.

Next, take a poster board and cut a hole in it about the size of a basketball. Trim the poster board so that it fits onto the basket as a "lid" and tape it down well.

Tip: Duct tape works best, and will help to keep it in one piece, even with vigorous play. 

Take it out to the rink and place it sideways on a chair. Tie it down with rope or tape it to the chair if you think it's too loose, but don't cover the hole. 

The name of the game is to be the first to score 10 "points." These are scored by tossing toilet paper rolls--or your homemade bean bags--in through the hole. For complete newbies, start by just standing on skates in front of it. For more advanced skaters, make it a skate-by toss.

Having a backyard rink can be one of the best ways to celebrate winter in the United States. As long as you experience enough cold weather, and you have a flat section of ground, it's possible to create a solution that works for your land. For questions about backyard skating rinks, contact your local supplier today.