Your pre-schooler at 2-4 years old

Your child learns "I can do" through active exploration and safe boundaries
Preschoolers have unlimited curiosity and imagination. Their brains are making more connections now than they'll ever make again! All this curiosity creates some wonderful magical moments ... as well as some frustrating ones! 

Check out this great website all about preschoolers, Kiwifamilies. It explains preschool behaviour, goes into sleep issues, food and nutrition, even activities suited to this age group. For some more insights into your child's point of view visit WellChild Tamariki, Kid Spot and Jigsaw

Mission possible activities for 2-4 year old children

Playgrounds Mission: expeditions to Hutt Valley's 3 top playgrounds 
Location: Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt, Maidstone Park in Upper Hutt and Avalon Park in Lower Hutt
Who'd it suit: families with children 2 years+
What you need: towel, swimsuit and sunblock for Harcourt Park water feature, a large picnic for grazing throughout the day, some money for the mini trains at Avalon Park. Both Avalon Park and Harcourt Park have bike tracks, while Maidstone Park has a skateboard park, bring your bike, skateboard, scooter or anything with wheels requiring pedal power.
Tips: Maidstone Park is off Park Street and via a subway from Upper Hutt Railway Station so you could easily catch a train if you're not in Upper Hutt, and make a day of it. There's an ice cream shop at Avalon Park in the Lions mini golf area. Take a book as the kids will be busy for a while!
Williams Park  Mission: enjoy an afternoon at the beach - dig up the sand, swim and jump off the wharf 
Location: Days Bay Beach, Williams Park, Eastbourne
Who'd it suit: families with children 2 years+
What you need: the usual beach paraphernalia
Tips for summer activity: icecreams, food and drinks available from the Williams Park Pavilion and Chocolate Days café. Need to keep an eye on toddlers as the main road is close to the beach so not suitable for runners
Petone Beach  Mission: build a driftwood fort and devour a top quality pie from the Lions Kiosk 
Location: Petone Beach, east end behind Lions Park
Who it'd suit: families with children 3 years+ (with adults)
What you need: drink, towel and if it's sunny a hat and sunblock
Tips: playground at Lions Park, toilet at Lions Park behind Kiosk, Kiosk open weekdays only. Fires are not allowed on beaches. Bush walk (loop track) in native beech forest. Café in Guthrie St and Petone Settlers Museum on Sundays from 1 - 4pm the model railway operates, remember your gold coins for the train rides.
Mission: scout out Hayward Scenic Reserve
Location: enter from top of Mawson Street, Waiwhetu
Who'd it suit: families with fit children 3 years+, or younger children in a baby backpack
What you need: Sneakers and camera
Tips: not suitable for pushchairs. The light in the beech forest is dappled and makes for some great photos of kids walking towards you on the track 
Mission: get wet, be adventurous, pretend you are an explorer 
Location: walk up Dry Creek to the waterfall, Belmont Regional Park
Who it'd suit: families with good walkers 4 years+ (with adults)
What you need: shorts and sneakers or sports sandals
Tips: to eat back at the Dry Creek car park. Take an old towel, spare shorts, spare shoes and socks. NOT suitable during or after medium to heavy rain as this gully floods and the water runs much deeper and faster than usual
Scenic Reserve
Mission: Critter encounter - get up close to wetas in their habitat
Location: Percy Scenic Reserve weta cave
Who'd it suit: families with children 4 years+
What you need: torch
Tips: cave awkward with baby backpack and will not fit a pushchair. Sealed paths around the lawns are great for junior scooter riders and balance bikes
Mission: Goodbye trainer wheels at Avalon Park
Location:  Avalon Park cycle track (parking off Taita Drive)
Who'd it suit: great riding for novices and learner cyclists, scooter riders and balance bikes
Junior cyclists, especially children wanting to graduate from trainer wheels
What you need: a bike, helmet, thermos and morning or afternoon tea
Tips: ice blocks available from the Lions mini golf. Toilets on site. Lions Train operates weekend afternoons when fine. This area of Avalon Park is popular for kids birthday parties.

Free activities for Hutt children aged 2-4 years

Hutt City Libraries Preschool Storytime
Join in the fun of interactive storytelling, songs, games and rhymes. It's fun, free and helps your child develop learning skills! Recommended for 2-4 year olds: Upper Hutt Library preschool storytime
  • War Memorial Library, Tues 2pm
  • Naenae Library, Wed 10:30am
  • Stokes Valley Library, Wed 10:30am
  • Moera Library, Wed 11am
  • Eastbourne Library, Wed 2pm
  • Petone Library, Thurs 10:30am
  • Wainuiomata Library, Fri 11am
Library activities for preschool children
Magician visiting Upper Hutt
Public Library

  Upper Hutt Library
  • Busy Bodies, Mon & Thurs 10.30am (excludes school holidays)
    Come join in the fun of 30 minutes of short stories, songs, rhymes and musical playtime. For children aged up to 3 years
  • Busy Hands, Fri 10.30am (excludes school holidays)
    30 minutes of stories, songs and a craft activity. These sessions are for children aged 3-5 years.
  • He Wa Pai, 1st Tues of each month, 10.30am
    Come along and join in the fun! Stories, rhymes, poi, games and crafts.An introductory programme in te reo Maori through stories, rhymes and songs for preschoolers and their caregivers. These storytimes are a great way for you and your child to learn Te Reo!
  • Visit the Upper Hutt Library website for their latest activities for pre-schoolers.
playgroups for children, Petone, Hutt Valley Mainly Music in the Hutt
Started in 1990, Mainly Music is a fun music group for parents or primary caregivers to enjoy together with their young child. Each session is associated with, and run by, volunteers from a local church. Find a session near you

Walks suitable for mountain buggies and prams
There are lots of fantastic walks throughout the Hutt Valley suitable for mountain buggies and prams - the waterfront along Petone and Eastbourne and the Hutt River trail too! Check buggywalk and outdoor activities

Paid activities for 2-4 year olds

Grubby Gator, Upper Hutt

A place to bring your babies and toddlers, where they can explore different textures, gloops and goos, in a relaxed, friendly environment. St Hildas Church, 35 Cruickshank Road, Upper Hutt. For more information email or ph 04 550 1016 or 027 308 7049.

Swimming Pools
The Hutt Valley has seven public swimming pools. Huia, Naenae, Stokes Valley and Upper Hutt H2Oxstream are indoors and open all year, while Eastbourne, Wainuiomata and Petone are outdoor summer only pools. 

Laughalot Playland

Junglerama Playland 


Horse riding

Roller skating

Find all your local clubs along with contact details, starting with our sports club page.

See a bigger list of indoor and outdoor activities and places to go.

Classes and clubs for children aged 2-4 years

Best for ages from 6 weeks to 5 years. An instructor led gym class. BabyRoo classes help develop infants sensory stimulation through gentle movement, music, massage, tummy-time and dance. All sessions include exercise, movement, group activities, music, dance and the use of specially designed equipment. Phone (04) 976 2565 Lower Hutt.

Get ready for school
Carol Laubscher is a child therapist. In addition to her therapy sessions Carol also offers a range of classes, including her School Readiness class designed to prepare your child for their first year of school. Held on Wednesdays 3:30pm. Fees apply. For more information visit the website.

Learn to swim
Learn to swim programme for children from six months!!

Find a local movement and dance class for littlies on our arts, music and dance page.

Parenting tips and tricks

The Parenting Place is Kiwi inspired and offers families advice and Toolbox Parent education courses.

The Toolbox courses are run regularly in the Hutt Valley by trained, local parents.  They are designed to inspire, equip and encourage you in your parenting journey. See what the early years toolbox covers.

  • Parenting the Early Years (0-6 years) - courses run regularly throughout the year. See their website for details
  • Building Awesome Whānau (0-12 years) Whether you are already a super-parent or struggling a bit, this Toolbox will give you lots of good ideas. No tests, no judgement, no boring bits…just lots of fun and useful stuff - see what the course covers

“I came to the course because I felt that my 3 year old was driving me insane and I wasn’t enjoying my role as a parent. I wanted an instant magic solution. What I got was so much better – understanding, coping strategies, tools, direction. Now just a few weeks later I can turn situations around, am investing in my children, am more positive and actually enjoying my parenting more. It has united my husband and I and given us a common direction with fantastic results in our family.”

To find out more about how the Parenting Place can help you contact the local coordinator, Natalie Alabaster on 04 934 8483, or email

Go to the support page for more information on The Parenting Place.


Children love chalk! Be sure to take photos before the rain destroys their artwork.

Out and about at Eastbourne Beach.

Learning to drive at Staglands.

free activitiesHow about de-icing your freezer and making snowmen? It's a free activity, and fun!

Things 2-4 year olds like to do

  • Paint
  • Fancy dress
  • Card games    
  • Arts and crafts
  • Baking
  • Singing and dancing
  • Treasure hunts
  • Reading books together
  • How about making an indoor fort out of blankets, pillows and cardboard boxes?
  • Or learning 100 Maori words together? Or trying Spanish, French or German?
  • 2-4 year olds are curious about everything!

Avalon Park is a one of our wonderful well-known local playgrounds. Find new playgrounds to visit on our playgrounds page.