Family Life


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How to build a backyard rink

We asked our friends at ParticipACTION for tips on how to be the coolest house on the block.

  1. Pick a flat spot to build your rink and stake off the perimeter. (If the snow hasn’t fallen yet, consider laying down a rink liner, available at sporting good stores.)
  2. Make snow banks around the perimeter to keep water and hockey pucks in. You can also build wooden rink boards if you’re feeling particularly handy.

  3. Pack down snow within the perimeter by pushing a heavy grass roller, pulling kids on a sled or walking on it with heavy boots.

  4. Once your base is level, wait for a very cold night to begin watering. If possible, run a garden hose through an open window to an indoor utility sink and faucet because outdoor taps may freeze! If there is snow on the ground, don’t soak the snow on your first pass, instead spray lightly to coat.

  5. Once your base is frozen, start the flooding process. Water only at night and keep the hose moving as you soak your rink’s base.

  6. Flood your rink two or three more nights, making sure each pass has frozen before starting another. Once a night is good.

  7. Use a shovel with a heavy steel scraping edge to clear your rink after skating and when it snows to maintain a smooth surface. Continue to flood every couple of days.

  8. Add hot chocolate and enjoy!


Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, December 2014.

a man carrying two children

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