If you are thinking of starting your kids in figure skating, Skate Canada has developed CanSkate, a new program focused on a child’s long-term development in the sport. No matter whether your kids are learning for fun or planning to skate competitively, the program will teach them fundamental skills that they need for figure skating as well as other ice sports such as hockey and speed skating.
Kids can start skating lessons as early as 3, but keep in mind that your 3-year old may not be ready to be away from you or have the attention span for a 20 to 30 minute lesson. By 5 to 6 years of age they’ll have the balance and coordination needed to master the more complex movements of figure skating.
Another way to begin is by taking your kids down to the local rink and skating together as a family. Warm them up by letting them walk on the ground in their skates before taking them onto the ice. Let them know that they’ll fall – everybody does, even Patrick Chan! – and that falls are just a part of skating.
Many facilities will rent skates – and helmets, which are mandatory in many jurisdictions – that you can wear to start. When your kids start bugging you to go to the rink every day, you can find good skates at your local sports swap.
The skills they need
Figure skaters need to be able to glide, spin, turn, jump, hop, skip, and stop.
They also need to develop agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, and the speed that comes from the explosive “quickness” of muscles.
Understanding rhythm – being able to skate to a beat – is also important for figure skaters.
Activities your child can do now
Here are some AfL activities you can do at home with your kids to help them develop these skills:
Find out what skills can be introduced to children at different ages using our Skills Builder tool.
Here’s a six year old girl performing an artistic program, and the same skater two years later.