How to do a Pro Sporting Event with Kids


Some people might think we’re nuts bringing a squirmy toddler to a professional sporting event, but watching hockey is something that my husband and I enjoy doing together — and we think our daughter enjoys it, too.

We took Tilly to her first Arizona Coyotes hockey game a couple months shy of her second birthday. We left after the second period ended, which, was longer than we had anticipated staying.

Much of the game was spent pointing at things, dancing, watching the jumbotron, and looking for Howler, the Coyotes mascot. We found him between periods and asked if he would sign her jersey, which she absolutely loved (and still talks about to this day!) We also made a sign to hold up that said “My 1st Coyotes Game”, and a photographer snapped our photo and shared it on Twitter.

Since that first game, Tilly has watched many more hockey games with us at home and in-person. We’ve gone to games in Tucson to watch the Roadrunners play, and even to Vegas to catch the rookie tournament. She howls and cheers when she hears the goal horn go off, and sometimes it’s not even for the right team!

I think embracing the chaos (but also being prepared) helps when bringing kids to sporting events. It’s helpful that the Arizona Coyotes’ in-arena entertainment is fun (compared to other games we’ve been to) and they love to see kids at the games. That said, here are my tips for how to do a pro sporting event with kids.

Talk about the game in advance and make signs

Get the kids excited for the game by talking about it in advance. Make signs for your favorite players or the team and challenge them to try and get on the jumbotron! Don’t forget to perfect your dance moves, too.


Make sure the kids are well-rested before the game, otherwise everyone will be miserable. On the flip side, your kid might fall asleep which would be fine for you because you can watch the game, but also that you paid for a ticket for your kid to sleep. Is that the same price as babysitting?


Giving the kids snacks like popcorn will help kill some of the time while you watch the game. I always pack dum-dums and other snacks that take some time to eat… and aren’t too messy.

Go with friends

We usually bring Tilly if we are meeting up with other friends and going to the game together. This is usually pretty awesome because the kids will entertain each other. And in my case, our friends’ kids help watch our daughter and that’s a win-win for everyone.

Scope out the kid activities in advance

I don’t know about other pro teams, but the Coyotes have fun things for kids to do during the games. Sometimes that’s going to see Howler, sometimes it is taking a slapshot after the game on the ice. The arena also has certain places where you can hang out with the players’ bobbleheads, pose behind cutouts for photos, or cruise the team shop.

Try going to a promo night

On promotional nights, such as Halloween, the kids got to come to the game dressed up in their costumes and went trick-or-treating around the arena before the game. So maybe look for a special game to go to.

If you’re a season ticket holder, you likely have access to exclusive events and fun just for members. We became season ticket holders this year and got to do a ton of fun stuff like paint the ice, fan fest, and more. The team also holds public practices at the Ice Den in Scottsdale and we’ve been to a few of those. We always try to attend these events (because hey, why not?) but they are nearly always kid-friendly. The more that we expose her to hockey, the more her interest grows. And gosh is it fun watching hockey together as a family.