Entertaining Non-Hockey Playing Siblings

Oct 14, 2010 by

One of the toughest things about being a Hockey Mom can be keeping children entertained and happy while their (often older) siblings are on the ice practicing, or playing. This has certainly been an issue with me over the years, and continues to be with my youngest and most energetic child who is bursting at the seams with energy NOT geared towards cheering on one of her brothers.

Usually, I come prepared with some healthy, and sometimes some non-healthy snacks. I bring colouring books, crayons, hockey sticks, small toys; anything that I think might keep her focus for two minutes or more. I said usually, because sometimes I forget one or all of these things. More often, when I do bring my bag of tricks, she doesn’t really play with them anyways. Her focus is instead on those lovely purple slushies that she sees the other kids walking around with, and that I treated her to (once only) but that has apparently led to a purple slushie addiction that can only be cured by..you guessed it… more purple slushie. She can also sustain a fierce focus on candy, either in the machine, or dropped on the floor; from those unfortunate quarter candy machines that are installed in so many arenas. Does anyone know the deal on these, by the way? Are they mandatory at arenas? Because here, in Ontario, you are hard pressed to find a rink without them.

I hear from parents with older children that “this time will pass”, but after our last visit to the rink, where my child had a less than stellar night and could be heard everywhere by everyone, I think even these optimistic parents hope that I can get it figured out quickly. More importantly, I don’t want to wish this time away. I’d like to think there are some solutions that I haven’t thought of yet that could help us both enjoy the hours at the rink in a more civilized manner.

Now, I know there are a lot of moms out there who are reading this, and I’ll bet that you have a lot more tips and tricks than I can think of. Or, maybe I have thought of them, but other mothers might be able to benefit from your wisdom. For those of you who have been through it, and for those of you who are in it right now, how do you keep your little ones, or older ones entertained and happy when you are at the rink when they would rather not be there?

I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to hear your ideas NOW since we’ll be at the arena all weekend (yes, again). Email us with your ideas at contactus@canadianhockeymoms.ca or leave a comment on our Facebook page. There could be a lot of moms and their kids, who could benefit from your ideas!


  1. Michele

    I understand your trials! My son is a very active hockey player (meaning a ton of ice time) and we have always tried to support him by attending most of his practices AND games. My daughter has been a hockey sister for most of her life and while we do have some of the same issues, for the last couple of years (she is now almost 7), we have implemented some rules. Firstly, we do not buy candy at the rink. The only exception to this is when we are at a tournament then we allow both our kids to get something small. As a health issue, we just don’t want her eating candy 4 or 5 times a week 🙂 Secondly, she is in charge of her entertainment. We went out and bought her a “special” back back for hockey – before hockey she is responsible for packing whatever she wants in her bag – snacks, toys, books, etc. She is not allowed to take electronics to the rink, and she knows that if she’s bored it’s all on her, so she usually is great about having something to do. If there happens to be another hockey sister to share toys with, that’s even better. The main thing we’ve found is allowing her the responsibility to be in charge of herself in this small way has made hockey better for her (which in turn makes it better for us too!) Hope that helps a little!

    • Love the suggestion. I did a mini version of that tonight with my youngest…I think your suggestion of letting them be in charge of their entertainment is great, and I”m with you on the “not buying anything from the canteen”. We actually took a bag of already popped microwave popcorn tonight (not the first time), and it worked…for a while anyways 🙂

      Thanks again for contributing! I’ll certainly be sharing this with the moms!

  2. Heather

    Oh my! As I read your post, it was like you had my life and kids. I have two boys in competitive hockey this year, peewee and midget. My 3 year daughter was never an issue as a baby. I think she was 4 days old when she was introduced to the cold rink, loud whistles, and shouting fans. She never had a problem with the noise it seemed as within only a few minutes, she was fast asleep in her car seat, covered in blankets and seemingly too warm.
    A year later, the rink adventures were still not too bad. She wasn’t quite walking and was easily pleased by books and other children who wanted to entertain her.
    Now, at age 3, I have come to attend practices and games by myself as much as possible. She is a runner, and not entertained easily by a hockey game, so unless we’re at a rink with seating in a warm room and other young children, I will leave her home with my husband. I really want to cheer on my boys during their games, and she simply does not allow me to do that. So, what do I do to entertain the youngest? I only bring her on certain occassions, and only ever for 1 game per day.

    • Hi!
      Thanks for your comments! Funny isn’t it? How hockey means we all have similar issues, no matter where we are in the country!

      I like your solution, leaving your third home. I do that when I can, but with their father on both of my son’s coaching staffs, if I can’t get someone to watch her…I take her with me (or miss their game, which I’m not willing to do). I’m doing ok this year with a combination of snacks, toys, and colouring books and crayons..plus one lovely 9 year old who loves playing with my daughter.

      The tournaments will be the tricky thing…
      thanks again for your comments!

  3. Mom of 3

    Bubble gum machines at rinks….those machines drive me crazy! I have an older boy in hockey and 4 year old twins, most nights are at the arena! I can so so relate to your article…I have my bag of tricks(kept in the van) and your right most nights they don’t want to play with their own toys!

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