Middle childhood: 5-8 year old children

Your child learns “I care” through nurturing relationships
Middle childhood is all about social and emotional development! Starting school is a big step for our kids as they become more independent and develop an understanding of the world around them. 

Check out this great website all about school-age kids, Kiwifamilies. There's ideas for school lunches, it explores making friends and dealing with behavioural problems, goes into sleep issues, food and nutrition, even activities suited to this age group.

Mission possible activities for 5-8 year olds

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: good walkers 4 years and up 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 this gully floods and the water runs much deeper and faster than usual.
Percy Scenic Reserve Mission: Critter encounter - get up close to wetas in their habitat
Location: Percy Scenic Reserve weta cave
Who'd it suit: 4 years and up
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
Petone Wharf Mission: wharf fishing, don't count on catching your supper but a good time all the same
Location: Petone Wharf
Who'd it suit: 6 years and up
What you need: bait catcher, bait, hat, jacket, thermos and morning or afternoon tea
Tip: reward yourselves afterwards with a hot chocolate from the café above the Petone Rowing Club or hot chips from John's Fish Market on The Esplanade. FCO (VIC Corner), Hunting Fishing (Victoria Street, Alicetown) or (Seaview Marina) all have budget fishing gear to get you started
Williams Park Mission: enjoy an afternoon at the Beach - Rent a kayak, dig up the sand, swim and jump off the wharf
Location: Days Bay Beach, Williams Park, Eastbourne
Who'd it suit: all ages
What you need: the usual beach paraphernalia
Tip for Summer activity: icecreams, food and drinks available from the Williams Park Pavilion and Chocolate Days café 
Hugh Sinclair Park Mission: BMX riding - give the clay a pounding, get air, race your mates
Location: Hugh Sinclair Mountain Bike Track, off the Strand Wainuiomata
Who'd it suit: confident riders - you don't need to be an expert rider
What you need: a BMX bike or other wheels that will handle the off road conditions. A drink
Tips: Note, there are no toilets at this site. Parents, if you're not going to ride, bring the paper or your knitting and something to sit on. You'll be here for a while
Wainuiomata Trail Waiu St Mission: mountain biking - get out in the bush with your bike
Location: Waiu Street Wainuiomata Trail Project
Who'd it suit: Confident riders - you don't need to be an expert rider
What you need: A mountain bike or wheels that will handle the off road conditions. A rugged bike without gears will be fine for kids. A basic bike tool kit.
Tips: bring your lunch. There isn't anywhere nearby to buy food or drinks. Toilets and shelter on site. The Wainuiomata Trail tracks link to the ECNZ track along the ridge of the Eastern Hills. You could ride to Waiu Street from places like the top of Kingsley Street or Summit Road.

Indoor activities needing more structure? Check out these ideas below. Have an idea we haven't thought of? Tell us about it and we'll tell everyone!

Free activities for Hutt children aged 5-8

Hutt City Libraries
  • Schools out@4, Stokes Valley Library
    A monthly after school story time for 6 year olds and up. Come and enjoy stories, activities and fun at Stokes Valley Library! Held on the last Friday of the month 4:00pm (except January and public holidays)
  • Stories@7, War Memorial Library
    A monthly evening story session for ages 6-13 year olds. Each month we have an hour of fabulous stories, activies and heaps of fun. Held on the first Friday of every month 7pm (except January and public holidays)
Upper Hutt Library
  • Book Club for 7 to 8 year olds
    Geared for emerging readers ages around 7-8 its a chance for younger readers to get together and share books, do activities and get to know their library. Last Tuesday of each month, 4.00pm. Free

Harcourt Park, Upper Hutt
Harcourt Park has two separate playgrounds, one for younger children and another for older ones. In the summertime it also has a free paddling pool for kids to cool off.

View other Upper Hutt and Lower Hutt playgrounds.

There are so many more indoor and outdoor activities to do in the Hutt Valley. Take a look through the activities pages.

Upper Valley Pony Club 

Clubs and classes for children aged 5-8 years

Go to the sports clubs page, or arts, music and dance section to see a huge range of clubs and classes available within the Hutt Valley for children in this age group. 

Upcoming courses

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 middle years toolbox covers.

  • Parenting the Middle Years (6-12 years) - is a course running regularly throughout the year. See their website for details and look out for local courses - or contact them directly to find out when their next local course is running.
  • 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 huttkapiti@theparentingplace.com

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

How about a walk up Dry Creek, Belmont Regional Park?

school age child playing rugby for Hutt
Playing under 6 Rippa Rugby for Hutt Old Boys Marist

See an extensive list of local sports clubs, along with contact details

Some great free kids activities

How about growing your own butterfly garden at your place?

Visit your local Hutt river - a great free activity and better still, no mess to clean up!

children visiting fire station
Take a group of children to visit your local fire station (please phone first)

Set up a scavenger hunt in your backyard

As your kids grow older, it can be a great time to get a pet - or 2!

Though it's not NZ-made, this is a nice short guide with some good pointers on the top 8 best pets for kids.