A perfect way to spend a winter day with the family is at home on your very own ice skating rink. There are many ways to build your own rink, costs can range from C$30 dollars up to thousands and the build can be as simple as filling a bag or constructing an elaborate rink. As our children are small and still learning we opted for small, simple, and cheap. As the children age and their skill on the ice improves we will no doubt opt for a larger more complex build.
Skating Rink Kits
There are so many different options and sizes when it comes to skating rink kits. Elaborate kits are made up of frames, liners, supports, etc, they are costly and typically quite time-consuming to set up. Whereas rink in a bag kits contain only a single item; a plastic bag.
We decided on the skating rink kit from ‘Simple Rink’ that we got on sale for C$29.99. This includes a sturdy bag that unfolds into a rectangular 10ft. x 20ft, there are other brands that we cannot speak to that come in 10ft. x 30ft. sizes.
It holds water that freezes into what is basically a massive ice cube. The bag allows 3-6 inches of water to freeze in one shot, removing the need for repeated flooding and freezing. This rink was so simple to build and has been very easy to maintain. An occasional spray of water will keep it smooth. Where we are located (Ontario, Canada), during the cold winter months we don’t have to worry about the rink defrosting. Here the freezing cold temperatures are pretty consistent.
What You’ll Need
- ‘Simple Rink’ plastic bag
- Snow shovel
- Garden hose
- Water supply
Building with a “Rink in a bag”
Simple Rink Set-up / Installation Instructions
1. Prepare the Base
In order to have a successful ice rink, your property will have to have a relatively flat surface in your yard. If you try to create the rink on a very uneven sloped yard, all the water will follow the slope, and the bag will roll over before the water gets a chance to freeze. This I can tell you from experience. We initially purchased two kits and intended to put them side by side and fill the gap. Alas, it was a huge failure due to placement.
Using a shovel spread the snow and clear a level surface that is 10ft. x 20ft. Ensure that the surface does not contain any pointed objects such as sticks.
These skating rink kits can be placed on various flat surfaces such as grass, patios, or driveways. We placed ours on our driveway which is the flatest location on our property. It is advised that the rink not be placed anywhere that has more than a 6-inch slope and they mean it!
2. Lay the Base
Remove the plastic bag from the box, unfold it and place it flat in the cleared space. Bank snow around the bag and make sure that the inlet (indicated by a dark blue circle), is on top and exposed.
3. Fill the Rink
To fill the bag, insert a hose into the inlet and turn the water on. This took us 4 hours of continually running the water. The colder the temperatures are when you fill the bag, the quicker it will freeze.
The ice on your rink should be at least 3 inches thick to avoid cracking.
4. The Freeze
Installation of this rink should be done when the temperature is below freezing. Once filled remove the hose and let the water freeze completely. Depending on temperature and weather conditions, this may take a few days. Once the rink is frozen, cut and remove the top layer of plastic.
As tempting as it might be, do not walk on the bag before the water is completely frozen.
5. Finishing and Maintaining the Rink
You will need to flood the rink before use for a smooth service making sure to fill any divets and cracks. You should flood the rink a few times for a more robust surface.
When snow falls, a simple quick shovel or sweep is required.
6. Enjoy your skating rink!
A Simple Product That Works
It’s exactly as the name says, a “Simple Rink”. This was so easy to set up, it just took a little bit of patience while the water fills and freezes. Our kids now have a convenient rink at home that’s available for use anytime.
Given where we live, in rural Ontario, we love the idea of our kids growing up skating on local ponds. Now that we have our rink at home, the kids get to practice at home and then enjoy a more elaborate skate when we visit local ponds.