With the Winter Olympics fast approaching, it’s inevitable that kids will get excited about watching the Games. And what they see on TV, they most certainly will want to imitate ⏤ it’s how Olympic dreams are born. ‘Wax Paper Figure Skating’ is a fun, cheap (especially compared to real skating), and easy way to get them into the Olympic spirit, not to mention to burn off a ton of the energy they’ve built up from watching the bobsled and biathlon. Plus, who knows, maybe you’ll find out your kid can do one hell of a Triple Lutz.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Entertainment Time: 30-60 minutes
Energy Expended by Child: A lot
What You Need:
- A roll of wax paper and tape (preferably duct) or rubber bands. If you don’t have any wax paper, thick socks, empty Kleenex boxes, old magazine pages, or even paper plates can make good ‘figure skates.’
- A slick(ish) floor.
- Music. Perhaps ‘Let It Go’ from Frozen and/or DJ Snake and Lil Jon’s ‘Turn Down for What’?
- Paper and a pen to make score placards. Similarly, you can also make ‘medals’ out of construction paper if you want to conduct a full ceremony at the end.
- Optional: Hats, props, and accessories if you want to go full Johnny Weir with the outfits.
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How to Play:
If you’ve watched figure skating, you know the routine. The goal is to turn the kitchen, dining room, or any smooth floor in the house into an Olympic skating rink. And then to let your kids exhaust themselves by performing their best gold-medal routines. To get started, move any furniture to the side of the room and map out the rink. You don’t need to get crazy, obviously, the floor is the ice, but if you have painter’s tape in the garage it can be fun to mark off the edges.
Now, the skates. Cut or rip one large square of wax paper for each foot. Have the child stand on it as you wrap the paper up to the ankle and secure with either tape or a rubber band (although, naturally, don’t cut off their circulation). Once all the kids are in their ‘skates,’ the competition can begin. Just remember, wax paper can be pretty damn slippery depending on the floor. You may need to hold hands or stress speed limits, as well as pay close attention.
Give all the skaters a few minutes to get their feet under them and practice sliding around the room. If they’re younger toddlers, this can literally be the entire extent of the activity. Yell “Free skate!”, put on some music, and have them all slide in the same direction (just as they would at a real skating rink) while leaving the center of the floor open for practicing jumps and what not. Naturally, feel free to go all Scott Hamilton and show them some fun moves. The only problem here is that their interest may wane quickly, so keeping them engaged in an activity can often be more effective.
In that case, explain that they’ll each perform an Olympic skating routine to one song. They can have some time to pick their tune, costume, or practice some moves (it definitely helps if they’ve actually watched some of the Olympic competition), before the first skater (or pair) heads out to the middle of the ice. Everybody else should be watching from along the rink. Fire up the song, and let them skate. Clap and cheer as they dance around the ice and/or attempt a one-foot Salchow (bold) ⏤ the more encouragement, the better. When the song ends, go nuts, throw flowers, whatever, just get excited. If the kids are older and want to really compete, non-skaters (or adults) can hold up pre-made scorecards with a number from 7 to 10 (or smaller numbers if you’re more about tough love) to judge their performance. Remember to keep a running tally.
After all the skaters perform, total up the scores and declare the medal winners. At this point, you can either have a full medal ceremony and dole out prizes, yell “Free Skate!” again, or break out some tiny hockey sticks and goals and start a new game. Either way, have fun.
‘Wax Paper Figure Skating’ is a nice alternative to loading a bunch of kids into a car in the middle of winter and taking to them to the ice rink, especially if some of them don’t know how to skate yet. It burns tons of energy, inspires laughter, and allows them to be creative, both in terms of the costume and performance. Plus, it lets them channel their inner-Tonya Harding (or less crazy former professional figure skater) and imitate the skating action they’re watching in the Olympics. Who knows, maybe another Olympic dream will be born.