Ice skating outdoors has always been on my dreams list of things to do…well, ice skating in Central Park really, although we didn’t manage it when I went to New York unfortunately. So I’ve always looked at all the outdoor rinks springing up each Christmas and wondered when I’d get the chance to go. Obviously I was thinking amazing evening skating in front of a gorgeous historical building, all lit up, but as that seems complicated to organise with a young child, for the moment Millets Farm ice rink would have to do.
Last year it was raining when we went to the Grotto there, so we didn’t get a chance to skate. They do open in the rain, but it was way too much for my liking so I planned a trip this year.
When we arrived the ice rink wasn’t open yet so it was time for a quick toasted teacake and drink in the Frosts garden centre cafe.
N had been looking forward to the ice skating. Anything that Peppa Pig can do he wants to try. Although once we arrived and he had to get onto the ice, that wish wasn’t quite translated into action.
Even though we had the offer of adult and toddler skate and it included skate hire, I felt it was still quite pricy (£18.99) once you’ve included another £4 for a skate aid. It was worth paying extra for the seal we had though and all of the children on the ice had one whether to sit on or to use to help them skate.
N had big enough feet to have proper ice skating boots, but that did mean he had one blade instead of the 2 that the ‘overshoe’ skates have. I never recalled ice skates being so tight to put on, but then I did put us both in 2 pairs of socks.
He did manage to walk once the skates were on out towards the ice really steadily so I thought he might have given the actual ice skating a go. But of course not. N isn’t stupid. Once he spotted the seal aid, and the other children sitting on them and being pushed around, of course that’s all he wanted to do.
Blimey those skate aids are hard on the back and make it hard to skate when you’re an adult and too tall to use them without bending over. They’re great for ensuring children don’t get too tired, so it means you get more time spent on the ice. All slots at Millets Farm are 45 minutes long, and we stayed around 30 minutes. I was surprised we were on the ice that long.
Unfortunately we had a bit of rain while we were out on the ice, but it was fine and didn’t last too long. I felt like I’d done quite a bit of exercise (although my Fitbit didn’t seem to pick up much of it unfortunately), and it was lovely to be back on the ice – the last time I skated was probably with the OH when we were dating.
N loved being pushed around on the ice, but try as I might, he really wasn’t up for trying to ice skate himself. I managed to persuade him to stand up, hold on to the fence (better than a normal ice rink where the walls are way too high for young children to reach the rail), until his legs went in different directions (think cartoon animals on ice!), and I was trying to hold him up. So back to sitting on the skate aid.
A few more laps and then N wanted to head off. So one more attempt to get him to give it a go on the ice by saying if he could get to the end of the fence at the exit we could go. So off he go and hauled himself upright. He still wasn’t sure which is strange because he was standing up fine. Eventually he held the skate aid and the fence with me steadying his hands, and I shuffled him round to the end.
I think he was really pleased to have managed it, and I was pleased that in the end he did give it a go. I really hope I can manage to keep encouraging him to try things, because he does have a tendency to say ‘can’t’ a bit too much.
After changing back into our shoes, it was time for a quick mooch round the shop.
N was quite taken by the choice of toys. He’s getting very good at picking up toys, holding on and telling me he has to have them. On this occasion I agreed to an old fashioned pop-gun thing (good for a stocking filler) and a cute Snowdog. How could I resist it to add to his Snowman from last year?
He did quite like the puppet theatre although in his eyes it was a shop instead.
As for the wonderful Christmas shop. The displays are my favourite part and garden centres do seem to do them so well. N didn’t want to go in and see the the beautiful tree decorations, that is, until I pointed out the reindeer and snowman lights display.
N just wanted lunch by that stage, so we didn’t check out anything else. But it was a lovely morning. Maybe next time N goes ice skating, he’ll be more keen to give it a go.
Are you an ice skating fan? Can you provide any tips on how to encourage preschoolers to give things a go?