A less adventurous lifestyle is leaving kids struggling in the classroom, specialists say.
Two occupational therapists and a teacher in New Plymouth say children who are not active at an early age are at risk of suffering developmental delays and lagging behind their classmates.
Occupational therapist Tara Morrison said 5-8 year-old children who did not explore, climb trees or use their motor skills were at risk of developing learning difficulties.
Ms Morrison and fellow occupational therapist Nicola Harvey-Karen started their business Activate Therapy Services a year ago when they noticed a lack of services for children who were not reaching national standards in primary school.
"We saw a need for kids who struggled at school, who were not particularly diagnosed as such, but needed managing," she said.
There was Government funding available for children with severe learning disabilities, but not for those who were falling slightly behind.
"They just fall through the cracks."
Developmental delay could lead to anxiety, low self esteem and behavioural problems in children, she said.
The pair have just run their first Activate Therapy Boost Camp, a four-day holiday programme that involved activities focusing on motor and visual perceptual skills.
Ms Morrison said an activity as simple as exploring their environment had an effect on a child's ability to perform basic skills.