Going back to school after a summer of free time is usually a bit challenging for kids (and parents), but this year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s even more stressful than usual! Whether your kids are attending school in person, distance learning at home, or some combination of the two, there’s never been a better time to check out these back to school tips and tricks.
How to Have a Better Back to School
Get on a schedule.
It’s easy to let bedtimes and wake-ups shift during the summer, but moving back to a regular school year schedule will make a big difference in your family’s transition back to school. Ideally, you should start moving bedtimes earlier three weeks before the first day of school, but even if you start a few days before, it’s still better than the shock of having to get up early on the first day of school after a whole summer of late nights and sleeping in!
If you’ll be homeschooling/distance learning with your kids for the first time, a schedule is even more important. Consider setting certain times of the day or week for solo quiet work and concentration, working together at the kitchen table on less focus-oriented tasks, meal and physical activity breaks, and of course some time for fun and socialization—whether that’s an hour of screen time to play video games or a visit to Wheels for some masked, socially-distanced roller skating with friends.
Give them space.
Kids need space to store their school things and work on homework anyway, but when learning from home, it’s even more crucial that they have a dedicated space for school! If each child has their own room with a desk (or can use a desk in a guest room, bonus room, etc.) that’s fantastic. However, even if space is tight, it can help to create a “school zone” at the dining table or wherever possible that they can concentrate and have all of their supplies nearby. Creating a tote or bucket for each child with all of their school stuff is a great way to keep everything organized and ensure they always have what they need for lessons, without having to interrupt a working from home parent or sibling. Even just a simple row of hooks by the door for backpacks can help streamline hectic mornings.
If you need some ideas and inspiration for setting up an at-home learning space, check out these tips from interior designers and educators.
Good communication is more important than ever now that so many families are learning to share space for work and school. A family calendar or dry erase board with daily/weekly/monthly events and appointments can help keep everyone on the same page. You may even want to have weekly family meetings to go over upcoming events, projects, etc.
It can also help reduce the back to school stress to just talk to your kids beforehand. How are they feeling? What are they excited for? What are they nervous about? Taking the time to talk through these issues can ensure a smoother start to the year for the whole family.
Whether you’re an experienced roller skater or are just getting into the sport, it’s always fun to learn new skills and tricks you can show off at the skating rink. At our Odenton skating rink, Wheels Skate Center, we are big fans of artistic roller skating, and even host an artistic skating club as well as roller skating tournaments and championships throughout the year. Keep reading to learn some fun tricks to add to your roller skating repertoire!
Artistic Roller Skating Tricks
This is one of the most iconic moves in artistic or figure skating, and it’s useful for incorporating into a routine with other moves as well. To start, skate backwards on your left foot with your left arm straight out in front of you and your right arm straight out to your side. (Your arms should be forming a 90 degree angle.) Your right leg should be behind your left leg, with the knee slightly bent—at this point, you’ll look almost like you’re curtseying. While keeping your left foot in position, move your right foot in a wide, round sweep from back to front, drawing your knee up as you reach the front. At this point, you’ll also bend your elbows and bring your arms up towards your chest to add power to your spin. As you rotate, you’ll jump up by pushing off of your toe stop (it’s OK to start small) and land on your right skate. Your left skate should go forward, and your arms should go out again to balance you for a graceful finish. If you’re having trouble visualizing a move, just head to YouTube to watch some roller skating tutorials.
This is another great move to incorporate into your roller skating choreography. Start with your left foot and left arm pointing forward, your right arm out at a 90 degree angle to form an “L” shape, and your right leg behind you. Skating forward, bend your right knee and elbow, bringing your arm and leg across your body to pull you into a spin and then landing on your right skate. Your right knee should be slightly bent and centered under your body, while your left leg is extended out in front of you. Use your core abdominal muscles to stop your spin and swing your left leg out behind you like the graceful swan you are. You did it!
More Skating Tricks to Try with Friends
Take a Spin in The Blender
For this you need a friend and plenty of room! Reach out with your right hand and clasp your friend’s right hand, wrapping your thumbs around each other to form a tight grasp. Do the same with your left arms, so that your arms create an X between you. Make sure you’re both holding on tight, and each of you point your right toe to your right. This will be the “steering” foot, while your other foot will be the “pushing” foot. At the same time, each of you will push off and you’ll start spinning in a counter-clockwise direction.
Slowly increase your speed until you’re comfortable, and let the centrifugal force keep you going! If you get comfortable enough, you can even unclasp one hand so that you’re only connected by the remaining hand. Practice disconnecting and reconnecting this way, dropping one partner down low while the other stays high, or even going backwards. There are tons of possibilities you can try if you both get into a good rhythm and communicate.
You Must Whip It
You don’t have to do this move to Devo’s classic new wave single, but it doesn’t hurt. In skating, whipping means to give your friend a boost of speed by slinging them forward. Start skating at the same speed, with the “whipper” slightly ahead of the “whippee.” The whipper reaches back for the whippee’s hand, then pulls the whippee forward and ahead. The whipper should use their whole core to do the whip. This will not only give more power and speed to the move, but can also keep the whipper from potentially injuring their shoulder.
Ready to try out some new moves? We’re open and can’t wait to see you back at Wheels!
While the coronavirus pandemic continues across Maryland and the rest of the country, our state has finally entered Phase 2 of reopening, and that includes us! We know Odenton families are tired of being cooped up indoors and need to get active, and we are thrilled to have the skating rink open once again. We can’t wait to see you, so please keep reading to find out what you need to know before your next visit to Wheels Skate Center!
Keeping our staff and patrons safe is of the utmost importance to us, so we will have some new measures in place for the time being to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
- We will be performing temperature checks on all visitors before tickets can be purchased.
- Wear a mask out of respect to your fellow skaters.
- Maintain social distancing at all times, including when standing in line. Whenever possible, you should have at least 6 feet between you/members of your household and others.
- Use the sanitizing stations located throughout the building frequently.
- Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands according to CDC recommendations.
- Please stay home if you think you may have been exposed to COVID-19, are having symptoms, or have been traveling in the last 14 days.
Thank you in advance for cooperating with these safety measures; together, we can reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus while keeping the skating rink open and enjoying the fun of roller skating together!
Our hours have changed, so make sure you check out our schedule for the update! These hours will be effective from now through August 2020. In addition to afternoon and evening skate sessions, skate lessons, and all day summer camps, we’re also bringing back some of your favorite weekly events:
- Adult Nite every Tuesday from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm for the 21 and up crowd
- Dollar Nite!
That’s right, all day Summer Camp at Wheels Skate Center is back! Don’t let boredom take the fun out of summer; bring your kids to Wheels for skating camp every week day from 7:15 am to 5:30 pm.
You can sign your children up for Summer Camp by calling us at 410-674-9661 or filling out your registration when you drop them off on their first day of camp.
Roller skating isn’t just a fun and social activity, it’s also a great cardio workout that can increase stamina and improve balance and agility. Getting hours of exercise with other kids at the skating rink is so much better than sitting home watching TV or scrolling social media all day. Regular exercise can help kids feel better, sleep better, and even be in a better mood. Plus, they can’t eat you out of house and home if they’re not home!
We are so happy to finally be able to skate with all of you again! If you hadn’t heard, Wheels Skate Center re-opened on June 20th, and we’re here and ready to help our fellow skaters get back to tearing up the skating rink with great music, dancing, friends, and fun.
But remember, even when you can’t get to a skating rink, you can still practice your skating. Check out some great ways to practice your skills at home, or wherever you may be!
How to Practice Skating Away from the Skating Rink
It may sound counterintuitive, but knowing how to fall correctly (Yes, there IS a right way!) will make you a better, more resilient skater. That’s not to mention the fact that it can also help you reduce your risk of injury.
To practice falling on skates, lay out some yoga mats, couch cushions, or anything that can give you a nice, soft place to land. Practice falling on one knee and controlling the fall, or flexing your glutes and falling on your butt. Once you have these moves down, they become part of your muscle memory, so the next time something happens to throw you off balance on the rink, you won’t even have to think; you’ll instinctively act on your training.
Perfect your stance.
Your stance is a crucial aspect of your roller skating game, so why not take some time to get it just right? These are some of the important things to keep in mind if you want to look like a natural on the skating rink.
- BEND THOSE KNEES! If there’s one problem so many beginner skaters seem to have, it’s locking their knees. Bend slightly to lower your center of gravity, and assume a position almost like a squat: Bum out, hands forward to counterbalance your body and add some stability.
- Get low. The lower you are to the ground, the harder it is to fall. Try to keep your legs shoulder width apart. Keep your feet under you, with your weight evenly distributed over each foot.
Learn to get up off the ground without your hands.
Falling is practically inevitable, so it’s important to practice getting back on your feet. At a busy skating rink, you never want to put your hands down flat on the floor; that’s an easy way to get your fingers run over by another skater’s wheels!
Instead, practice this method for getting up:
- Place one foot in front of you, and one behind.
- Pull yourself up to a kneeling position, supporting yourself on your back knee and placing your front foot flat on the ground.
- Bracing your hands on your front leg, press down and rise up. As you do so, bring your back leg under you.
- Once you’re standing, shift your weight evenly between both feet and get your balance. Remember to keep your knees slightly bent.
To start off, you can practice this with no skates on right in your living room. When you’re a little more comfortable, strap on some knee pads and practice in your driveway or on the sidewalk. Want to refine your skating skills even more? Sign up for our roller skating classes!
If there’s a big birthday coming up in your family (and let’s face it, for kids, every birthday is a big birthday!), you’re probably struggling with how to celebrate in the midst of this global pandemic. Is it possible to safely celebrate birthdays in spite of coronavirus?
The answer is YES! You just have to be smart and careful about it. Here at Wheels Skate Center, we’re practically birthday party experts, and our skating rink is the go-to for birthday parties in Odenton, Maryland. While we’re looking forward to opening back up soon, you don’t have to wait to get the birthday fun started. Check out these tips to make your child’s birthday extra special while staying safe.
Pandemic Party Planning Ideas
Your safest bet is still to keep the party virtual. Fortunately, there’s never been a better time for online partying thanks to all of the handy apps and services available like Houseparty, Google Hangouts, Skype, and even Netflix or Facebook watch parties!
Invite your friends and family to join you for a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” and let them watch the birthday kid blow out the candles and make a wish. If friends and relatives have sent gifts, you can even schedule times with them to watch your kid open the gifts over video chat or livestreaming on social media!
People have come up with some truly wild and creative birthday celebration ideas during the coronavirus pandemic, from staging elaborate birthday parades with decorated vehicles driving by the birthday kid’s house, to flooding the mailbox with cards from every classmate, teammate, neighbor, teacher, coach, and relative.
Make safety fun.
If you do choose to have an in-person party, it’s crucial to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between all guests. Let guests know what the party location will be like (for instance, will they need to bring their own chairs or picnic blankets?) and make sure they know to wear a mask and practice good hygiene. If you want to take the festivities up a notch, you could even send out fun/wacky masks and individual size hand sanitizers ahead of time! Consider it a coronavirus spin on the typical party favor or goody bag.
Use your power for good.
During times like this, the important things in life come into focus. Are you teaching your kids how to live their beliefs? Help your child choose a charity or organization that they are passionate about, whether that’s the local animal shelter, the library, or something else. Set up a fundraiser and put a call out to friends and family asking them to donate in the birthday kid’s name. Your child will feel so proud to have used their birthday to make a difference!
Turn lemons into lemonade.
While all of the pandemic restrictions feel very restrictive, this unprecedented situation can turn into an opportunity to make new birthday traditions and memories. If you can’t celebrate with loved ones in person, get them to send video messages that your child can re-watch and treasure for years to come.
April 17, 2020, Wheels Skating Center marks one month since we’ve been closed for public skating. Like everyone else, we miss our family and friends, but especially our skating family and look forward to being able to see everyone again on the skate floor. We’re excited at the news of reopening the country, the state, schools and businesses again and at the same time, realize that it’s not going to happen overnight. We will continue to follow the Governor’s guidelines regarding COVID-19, which in the long run will make that reopening not only possible, but safer too. Please remember that there are No Shortcuts to recovery from this disaster, it’s going to take time and patience. Please stay Safe, stay Healthy and we will see you all soon.
Spring is officially here! Along with the fresh blooms and chirping birds comes the desire to sweep away the cobwebs of winter with some spring cleaning. But after you KonMari your closet or go full Martha Stewart mode on your kitchen, don’t forget to give your roller skates a little bit of attention as well.
Keep reading to learn how to clean your skates from the pros at Wheels Skate Center.
Spring Cleaning Tips for Skates
Gather your supplies.
- Saddle soap, leather cleaner/conditioner, or gentle soap and protectant
- Mild dish soap
- Soft cloths/rags and an old towel (to protect your work space)
- Paper towels
Clean your skate boots.
Gently wipe any dirt or grime off of your skate boots and clean with saddle soap. You can also use a leather cleaning and conditioning product, or if you prefer, use a mild dish soap to clean, followed by a silicone or beeswax-based protectant.
Loosen the laces on your skates and open the tongues up to let the skates air out. You may also want to apply a silicone protectant to the inside of your boots to shield them from perspiration.
Finally, buff the outside of your boots with shoe polish for a beautiful finish.
Clean your skate wheels.
First, check to see if your wheels have metal cores. If so, you’ll need to be careful not to get them wet, as they will rust. Wash your wheels with warm water using mild dish soap and a soft cloth. Make sure to wipe the outside and inside surfaces of the wheel thoroughly. Pat the wheels dry and set them aside on your towel to air dry completely before reassembling.
Clean your bearings.
Remove bearings and wipe off the gunk with a paper towel. (It will be very greasy, so keep that in mind if you use a rag.)
Disassemble the bearings and place into a dedicated plastic bottle or special bearing washing container, along with bearing wash solution (a product made just for this purpose and available at skating pro shops) or your cleaner of choice. (Other options include isopropyl alcohol, citrus-based bearing cleaners, or acetone.)
Give them a minute or so of vigorous shaking to clean, and then dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Before you reassemble everything, don’t forget to lube up the bearings.
Once everything is reassembled, give those wheels a spin to make sure they’re spinning smoothly, look everything over to make sure there are no loose or damaged parts, and enjoy your freshened up roller skates!
(To keep them in great shape, remember to wipe your skates down after each use, and open up the tongues of your skate boots to let them air out. Don’t leave them in a bag or your trunk, and don’t try to dry them with a hair dryer or by sitting them next to the radiator—the excessive heat can warp and damage the boots, ruining the fit and/or finish.)
The birds are chirping, the squirrels are frolicking, the daffodils are blooming, and the trees are budding. It can only mean one thing—spring is almost here, and with it, Spring Break close behind!
Spring Break in Anne Arundel County Public Schools begins April 7th and runs through April 13th for Pre-K and ECI students. For other students, April 7th and 8th are early release days, and Spring Break 2020 runs from April 9th through April 13th. If you have school age kids, now’s the time to start making spring break plans so they don’t end up glued to the couch all week. Fortunately, there are so many things to do around Odenton, including these!
Spring Break Activities in Odenton, MD
Time flies whether you’re having fun or not, so don’t let your kids waste all of their spring break time off just laying around watching TV or playing video games. According to health experts, kids (and adults) today spend too much time sitting, so it’s good to encourage your kids to get moving and find physical activities they actually like doing. Finding their favorite types of exercise will help them stay active as adults, which is one of the best things you can do for their longterm health.
Roller skating is a perfect option because it’s not only fun, but also has plenty of health benefits. Your kids will have such a blast zipping and zooming around the skating rink that they won’t even realize they’re getting a cardio workout, strengthening muscles, and improving their balance!
Speaking of the skating rink, Spring Break is a good time for socializing with friends. Busy schedules filled with school, sports, lessons, and other extracurricular activities don’t give kids the same opportunities to just hang out and bond with friends that many of us were lucky enough to experience as kids. The skating rink is an affordable, safe place for kids to have playdates and a place for tweens and teens to hang out as a group.
While we’re always a great “rain or shine” option, early spring is a beautiful time to get outside and enjoy nature. Take a nature walk at the Piney Orchard Nature Preserve, or explore the Patuxent Research Refuge. Of course, you don’t have to go far from home to get some quality time with nature. Encourage your kids to ride bikes with friends in your neighborhood, or build a fort in the backyard for playing, reading, and hanging out sans electronics. Check out our schedule to see the hours of our public skate sessions, and follow us on Facebook if you want to get updates about upcoming events and specials!