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A classic winter activity for the those of us who live north of the 39th parallel or so. (And have a backyard)

Setting up a rink in your own backyard is a great way to teach kids to skate and promotes outdoor play in these colder months when the television is just that much more inviting. It also turns your house into the go-to neighbourhood house, much the way a pool works in the summer.

Toronto dad David Wood has made building a skating rink into an annual tradition. The kids have had a skate right after school nearly everyday since the ice froze and even manage fun-size hockey games.

How to make a backyard rink:

  1. Map out where the rink will go with some baseboards. David used pieces of old siding. (If you’re starting this process after a substantial snowfall, you can also try just stamping snow into place)
  2. Find a large tarp and place it on the bottom of your rink
  3. Flood tarp area before your hose freezes, but not too far before the temperature dips way below zero.
  4. Shovel and re-flood as need be.

If you build a solid foundation, your rink will require minimal maintenance. David said he built his in November and any dips in temperature since then have acted as a kind of natural Zamboni to smooth out the surface.

David, his wife Tiffany and their kids were having far too much fun on the rink to keep it all to themselves, so they invited over some neighbourhood pals for a party. Guests kept warm (when they weren’t busy practicing axles and hockey stops that is) with steamy mugs of apple cider. When both kids and parents had had their fill of the ice (or at least round one), everyone piled into the kitchen for some food. The keyword when talking about a skating party menu: slowcooker. Think chilies, paellas, stews and shredded meats. And just to be safe, Tiffany also pulled out a pan of that most comforting of comfort foods, homemade mini pizzas.

Thanks to David and Tiffany Wood for supplying the rink and party!

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