Want your child to try skating, hockey, skiing, snowboarding or curling this winter? Our guide breaks down everything you’ll need to know
It’s hard to believe we’ll be trudging through the snow in a few short months. But look on the bright side: winter presents a terrific opportunity to introduce a new sport to your child! Check out these possibilities.
Accessibility explains the lure of skating.
“Skating can take place indoors or outdoors, which makes it convenient for people of all ages,” says Carolynn Jaworska, a professional CanSkate coach in Calgary.
When should kids start?
Kids can start taking lessons at age three, but Jaworska emphasizes that whenever a child develops an interest in skating is the right time to begin, so earlier or later is OK too.
Not only will skating help your kids’ balance and get them active, it’s also a great way to spend time with friends and family (and have a few laughs while you’re at it!) at minimal cost. It’s a good skill to have, whether or not they pursue it on a competitive level.
Most basic programs offer weekly lessons for eight to 10 weeks, with sessions lasting 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the child’s age. Lessons are based on a badge system with prerequisites needed to advance to the next level. After kids develop skating basics, they can branch out into skating programs that are specific to hockey (Power Skate) or figure skating (Star Skate). These tend to run for a longer season (up to 14 weeks) and, in the case of figure skating, often mean practices at least twice each week for the entire September to March season.
Most cities and towns offer public skating for a minimal cost (about $3 a person), or, in some cases, for free.
The price of beginner lessons varies, depending on the organization. City-run programs are usually more cost-effective. City of Toronto skating programs, for instance, run between $28 and $58 for eight weeks, depending on the child’s age and specific program. Learn-to-skate lessons offered through the national CanSkate program often cost more because the organization requires more certification of their coaches, says Jaworska. In this case, you can expect to pay between $70 and $120 for 10 weeks, depending on your child’s age. Power Skate lessons cost about $200 for 14 weeks. Star Skate classes cost around $400 for the season, plus students must also become a member of the skating club. This fee varies from one club to another (but expect to pay at least $50 a year).
Then comes the skates and helmet. You can buy standard skates for kids for about $50 but since their feet will grow each season, Jaworska recommends checking sporting good stores for second-hand skates. New-to-your-child skates will usually cost around $20. A junior hockey helmet (recommended for any type of skating) costs around $40 new.