Malta Baby & Kids Directory: Activities

Welcome to our Malta Baby & Kids Activities directory filled with activity ideas for children in Malta & Gozo including Adventure Clubs, Art & Craft, Aviation, Baby Sign Language, Book Clubs, Camping, Chess, Cinemas, Environment Groups, Cookery Classes, Dance, Drama, Foreign Language Courses, Indoor/Outdoor Playcentres, Libraries, Media Courses, Modelling, Mother-Baby Clubs, Music Lessons, Private Tuition, Summer Activities & Schools & Theatres.

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The discussion that needs to happen

 

How to engage with technology as a family

 

There can be no argument about the pervasiveness of technology in today’s world. Whether at work, school or home – it is everywhere. And as technology evolves, it becomes ever more accessible and affordable. The advent of touchscreen devices has done away with the need to read letters on a keyboard or to have hands big enough to grab a mouse. Children are essentially ‘born ready’ to engage with technology. All they need to do is point and touch.

 

But as parents, we also know that technology can present huge challenges. We are happy when a tablet or phone acts as a pacifier, but complain when children do nothing but play on their devices. We might invest in educational apps, but do we follow up to see what educational progress the child is making? Is more technology always better?

 When family time is essential,the automatic reaction seems to be to ban all electronic devices. But is this the only way? How can we make the best use of technology? Do we need to focus on the skills that children learn at school, or do we also need to make sure that parents are not lagging behind? Are games like Minecraft just games, or can we use them in fun ways that the whole family can enjoy and learn from?

 These are just some of the many questions that will need to be discussed. We cannot escape this – whether we are children, teachers or parents. The question is not about whether we need to find new ways to engage with technology, but simply about how and when to do so. At EasyPeasy Coding we strive to find the most innovative answers to these questions.

 
 

 

 

 

Gems of Malta

Words by Yolande Kleinjan

Four years ago I moved from the Netherlands to Malta with my husband and two sons (they were 6 and 9 at the time). The first summer I explored the island, together with my two sons. They had, after all, a never-ending summer of 3 months! As a semi - tourist we visited all the usual places. But I wanted to do different stuff, go out, feel nature, have long walks, go hiking, exploring beaches, sneaking through caves and looking for fossils. I wanted to discover the beauty of Malta, far away from the crowds and off the paved roads. Having said that, walking is surely the best way to explore. ''The feel of a country under your fingertips, against your cheek, through the soles of your feet - this can only be done by walking''.

Spring

Spring for me is the favorite season of the year. But be aware! Before even noticing it, hot summer is already around the corner. It can happen that you change your winter wardrobe into summer wardrobe within one week. So we have to enjoy spring as much as possible. Mtaħleb is for us the best place to enjoy spring, it is one of the highest points on the island and is situated by the cliffs at the North West of Malta. The area is covered with beautiful red, yellow, pink flowers. This is the perfect place for the kids to find amazing fossils. There are many cliff sites in Malta, but what is special about Mtaħleb is that there is a gorge (small opening in the cliffy rocks) from where you can descend down the cliffs by the sea.It is quite exciting as you walk close to the edge of the high cliffs of Malta. Fishermen are trying to catch some fish with  their long fishing lines all the way down to the sea. We love to have a picnic here.  A picnic with an amazing view and a breathtaking sunset.

Summer

During summer we are most of the time enjoying sailing. But even in summer there are days when you prefer to stay ashore. This is an ideal time to explore Gozo.  You don’t need to walk far to find the path which leads you to Mġarr ix-Xini.  The walk is truly breathtaking. Starting the walk from Mġarr fishing hamlet, past the Gozo ferry, you wlll find a path under Fort Chambray bastions. All the way towards Mġarr ix-Xini you find a really beautiful gem of nature, sea, flora and history. My boys love to play around the Mġarr ix-Xini tower and the gorgeous beach beneath it. In Mġarr ix-Xini you will find a lovely small restaurant where you can enjoy fresh fish, while the kids are exploring the valley or are swimming in the crystal clear blue water. When you still have some energy left you can continue going uphill to Ta’ Ċenc wilderness. You can enjoy the breathtaking views of the islands and the highest cliffs in Gozo. It is full of lizards and even sometimes we meet a shepherd with his flock. The path will eventually lead you to Xlendi bay, where you can take the bus back to Mġarr. 

Autumn

In autumn when it is not too hot anymore and it starts to get a bit greener, one of our favorite spots is the area around Girgenti. In this area you will find so many aspects of beautiful Malta.  Park your car at Buskett Garden, where the kids can play around. Then follow the road which leads to Clapham Junction. Here you can find the pre-historic cart ruts, which is quite interesting for the kids. Every time we try to figure out how they were created. And I can tell you they come up with some interesting theories! But so far no one has ever found the answers for these cart ruts, only questions. In this area we also found a big cave, where it is paradise for the kids to play around. From there you can walk along the Roman Quarries towards the beautiful green valley of Girgenti. A lot of food we eat on this island must come from this fertile valley. In autumn the air is drenched with orange fragrance. Oranges and lemons are all around you.  When the kids are still not tired you can climb the Laferla Cross, which is situated on the highest hill in Malta. You can find our names next to thousands of other names marked at the base of the statue. 

Winter

As we live in the South of the Island, we love to go out for an afternoon in the area around St. Peters Pool. One of Malta’s best kept secrets is the Delimara area, just off the  picturesque fishermen’s village of Marsaxlokk. This swimming spot is the  perfect example of an unspoiled beach and an excellent place for snorkeling. There is not even a kiosk where the boys can moan about snacks or drinks. It is called a pool because it looks like a natural swimming pool carved into the rocks. But the area is not only perfect for swimming, it is also great for hiking. When it is too cold for a swim we love to walk from Marsascala to Marsaxlokk and visit the famous market on a Sunday morning. The countryside between the two harbour towns of Marsaskala  and Marsaxlokk, provides some of the most spectacular walking tours in the South of Malta. On our explorations we found the Tas-Silg archeological site, which is not accessible for the public, the Victorian Tas-Silg Fort, now  a dogs' home, St. Paul's Battery, where we were able to make out where the large guns had once been placed to protect the bay and a very difficult to reach deserted (stone) beach, which is an adventure in itself for the kids.

I’m really honoured that I can share my favorite spots with you, but please promise me one thing when you visit them. Be mindful of these spots and keep them clean. Looking forward to meet you somewhere!

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

Tax Deductions for Children's Cultural & Creative Courses

Fees paid for Children’s Cultural & Creative Courses

If your child is under sixteen years of age you may be entitled to a tax deduction. If the cultural or creative course is registered with the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts you can claim a deduction against your chargeable income for the amount of  fees paid up to a maximum of one hundred Euro. Forms can be downloaded from www.ird.gov.mt and www.maltaculture.com.  For more information you can contact the Inland Revenue Department on freephone 8007 2297.

Ħlas fuq attivitajiet kulturali u kreattivi – Tnaqqis tat-Taxxa

Jekk it-tfal tiegħek huma taħt is-sittax-il sena, tista’ tkun intitolat għal tnaqqis fit-taxxa. Jekk l-entità kulturali u kreattiva li fiha jattendu t-tfal hija rreġistrata mal-Malta Council for Culture and the Arts, int tista’ tingħata tnaqqis fuq il-qliegħ taxxabbli fuq il-ħlasijiet imħallsa sa massimu ta' mitt Ewro. Il-formoli jistgħu jiġu mniżżla minn www.ird.gov.mt u www.maltaculture.com. Għal aktar informazzjoni tista’ ċċempel lid-Dipartiment tat-Taxxi Interni fuq freephone 8007 2297.  

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here 

 Top free places to go with the kids  

as voted by Kate de Cesare, Claire Bonello and 4 kids 

Yummy Mummies Kate and Claire manage to juggle work, kids and, of course, not forgetting, their husbands. As busy parents we all know that time spent with the kids is precious time not to be wasted but savoured. Kate and Claire have been gallivanting across the country with their kids on behalf of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and have come up with their list of favourite places to go with the children and lo and behold, all without spending a penny!  Try them out and see what you & yours think.

1. Buskett - ideally not on a Sunday - but especially in spring, autumn or a sunny winter day... it makes for a great 'adventure' for the kids and gets them walking a little - they can climb trees, count tadpoles, run about and picnic in a very nice picnic area. It’s safe and large enough to make each trip slightly different. A great place for children to delight in and parents to relax and unwind.

2. San Anton Gardens - a beautiful classical garden with lots to see including cats, turtles, ducks, various fountains... area in front of the steps to the palace is nice for a picnic... lovely place to walk and for the kids to run around, shaded and safe.

3. Independence Gardens - convenient - has some shady bits... kids love the cat bit and the fountain bit... they can ride bikes, play on the swings... can have a coffee after and the kids can run about.

4. Golden Bay – a super destination – children everywhere have always loved building sand castles… just take care to cover them with high factor sun screen in the searing summer months.

5. Chinese Gardens in Santa Lucija – This is a quiet spot of green amongst the hubbub where parents can relax while their children play safely and clamber on the rocks within the Chinese pagoda.

6. Kennedy Grove - Not on a Sunday, but during the week when the world & his wife isn't there! It’s fun for the kids to play in the grass and climb trees and it has a nice picnic area. Not a huge space but very pleasant.

7. Swings outside Mdina – A good place to romp before indulging in chocolate cake at one of the Mdina cafes. 

  For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

Baby Development 

Many of us spend the majority of our lives thriving to improve our communication skills for professional and personal reasons.  

As our children grow older, we will spend many hours helping them to develop good communication skills and supporting them in situations where they have misunderstood others or been misunderstood themselves.  

During the vital first year, when the brain is developing more than any other time there is so much we can do to help our babies develop vital early communication skills. Babies learn, develop or acquire language through sensory experiences that involve verbal interactions with adults.

 

Early nurturing is so important. Babies have an amazing capacity to learn, but because parents or practitioners may not know what to look for, skills and capabilities may go unnoticed. One of the most exciting advances in child development has been the discovery that babies actually learn before they are born. Even more amazing is the fact that during their first year, babies learn more than at any other time in their lives. Babies are so clever, and their first year of development offers parents and practitioners a significant and remarkable opportunity to enjoy the learning potential of these incredible beings right from the start! 

By the first birthday, the baby's brain has doubled in volume as a direct result of the trillions of connections made between the brain cells. This is the importance of introducing a rich variety of sensory experiences at every possible opportunity. Dr Lin Day (PhD, Dip. Ed, BSc, PGCE, M. Phil.) 

Claire Savona ~ Baby Sensory Malta

  For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

 

My Malta

Married to Robert and the mother of 2 wonderful children – Kristina 14 and John 7, Andrea forms part of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and www.maltababyandkids.com team. Andrea is a dedicated and inspirational mother and when not taxi-driving the kids to their various activities her passion is preparing jams and chutneys or baking and cooking using the freshest ingredients purchased directly from the farmers in her neighbourhood in the quaint village of Qrendi. 

Around the Island with Andrea Critien

Here are Andrea’s suggestions for great family outings.

Sightseeing: ‘I wouldn’t mind taking the kids on all the latest and fancy sightseeing excursions, however there’s always a budget to adhere to so we try to include sightseeing spots in our nature walks, our adventurous picnics or exciting camping trips. Living in Qrendi is a blessing; there are so many awesome sights and plenty of nature walks to choose from. My absolute favourite one is Blue Grotto/Wied Babu promenade in Żurrieq, Ħagar Qim, Mnajdra, Maqluba, Qrendi, where we walk along the recently refurbished Wied Babu promenade down to Wied iz-Żurrieq and, weather & budget permitting, we catch a luzzu trip to the Blue Grotto and nearby caves. Otherwise we stop at one of the many cafés then carry on our steep walk up the promenade to Ħagar Qim and down to Mnajdra temples, take a rest on the rocks then pursue our trek until we reach the deep natural crevice, Maqluba, in Qrendi.

‘On a balmy summer’s night we enjoy a walk along the Senglea waterfront which has amazing views of the restored Valletta Waterfront Pinto Stores and Fort St Angelo just across the water then we proceed through the city’s narrow streets. We sometimes either take a boat ride around Grand Harbour or just around Senglea and Vittoriosa creek.’

Eating Out: ‘We rarely eat out as both Robert and I enjoy our cooking and love to entertain both family and friends. However if I had to choose where to eat out, I’d definitely pick Palazzo Parisio for a lavish tea time treat. We also enjoy Fontanella in Mdina or Bobbyland in Dingli for hot chocolate and cake. Pizza would have to be at Margo’s in Mistra Bay, apart from being really tasty the surroundings just complete the perfection. On summer weekdays we either nip down to Wied iz-Żurrieq or enjoy a pizza down at one of the many pizzerias at the Senglea Waterfront, were John can talk to people while they’re fishing or watch football on the big screens. However when we’re eating out with my large family (17) we tend to eat at tal-Kaptan at the Valletta Waterfront which is great for kids as the aquarium inside keeps them entranced for quite a while, at least until the food arrives at the table.’

Days Out: ‘We’re blessed with a mixture of places on the island. In summer we enjoy scrambling down to one of Selmun’s or Mellieha’s hidden beaches that fortunately can only be reached on foot or by boat. Sometimes we catch an early boat to Comino to swim in the Blue Lagoon before the crowds arrive for the day, then we walk across the island and stop for a swim at various bays, and perhaps hire a pedal boat to explore the caves – you can choose to take packed lunch or you may have snack at the hotel cafeteria.

‘In the Autumn/winter the boots and anoraks come out and we go on long country walks in Qrendi, Siggiewi, Fomm ir-Riħ or on warmer days we enjoy picnics in Mtaħleb, Miżieb, Manikata, Buskett, depending on the weather.  

‘We also enjoy flying our kites at Ta' Qali or Ħal-Far on very windy days. There are also the Wirt Artna or Heritage Malta Sites that hold regular open days of their various sites and when possible we try to take advantage of these events. 

‘There’s no excuse not to go out in Malta, we’re lucky to have great weather, short distances and a wealth of natural and historical venues to visit. We refer to www.maltababyandkids.com regularly as events are updated daily and there are so many to choose from! Your weekends with the kids will never be the same again!’

 For many more great articles, purchase the latest edition of the book here

  

Ideas to keep kids active 

Get adventurous and become a Dolphin or Cub, Guide or Scout. Guiding and scouting are an Education for Life. They complement the school and the family but fulfil those needs not met by either. They develop self-knowledge, the need to explore, to discover, to want to know. Their non-formal education programmes are full of progressive activities based on the interests of girls, boys, young women and men. Activities in contact with nature, a rich learning environment where simplicity, creativity and discovery come together to provide new adventures and challenges. (Activities – Adventure Clubs section)
 
With encouragement at home and at school, children progress rapidly from the scribbles and paint blobs from their playgroup days to more skilled forms of creativity, such as painting pictures and constructing models. So assist their imagination and guide your child to express their inner self through one of the many art and craft or ceramic sessions available.  (Activities – Art & Craft section)
 
Kids look forward to bath time so why not try a bath bomb session. Whilst a fun activity that creates a useful product, making bath bombs can be a lesson in science – the fizzing reaction is the same type of reaction that occurs in carbonated beverages. (Activities – Art & Craft section
 
Children simply love stories. Story time is an exciting time for children who are always ready to have their imaginations stimulated. Refer to the animated reading sessions listed in this directory. For the more intent readers with an insatiable appetite for books head down to your local library or Malta’s Public Library in Floriana. (Activities – Libraries section)
 
Most toddlers and kids enjoy playing with musical toys such as xylophones, whistles and drums, so enrol in one of these joyful classes. It is toward the end of primary school that a child takes up music seriously so choose a music school that can advise you on choosing the instrument to which your child is best suited. (Activities – Music Lessons section)
 
Dancing improves muscular control and co-ordination in young children and can be fun. Malta has an amazing number of dance schools to choose from. Read through our dancing pages … (Activities – Dance section)
 
Playing and acting are physical accomplishments developed by toddlers and are used in more skilled and interesting games as a child grows up. Imitation is also a part of development and a child expresses this by dressing up and acting a part of their own mind.  Check out classes available in Malta. (Activities – Drama section)
 
 
With the Mediterranean surrounding the Maltese Islands it provides some of Malta’s most popular playgrounds. If water is to be enjoyed in safety children must be completely at home in it. All children should learn to swim. Swimming promotes health and gives great pleasure. It is inexpensive, can be enjoyed by everyone and can open the door to numerous exciting activities such as sailing, surfing, diving, canoeing, water skiing, water polo, competitive swimming and more. As swimming is not always taught in schools it is up to parents to help their children to learn to swim. (Sports Activities - Swimming section)
 
 
 

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Malta Baby & Kids Directory is created by mums for mums and childcarers.
Lisa Grech is the founder of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory and website. Together with Denise Briffa and Crysta Darmanin we combine work on the publication and website while bringing up lots of children (seven between us!).


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