Bearing in mind Malta's mild, unpredictable weather, families living locally need inspiration when looking for outings which can keep every member of the family happy, all year around.
Spring is one of my favourite seasons to enjoy all that the Maltese archipelago has to offer. The days start to get longer – which brings a welcome respite to the cold, dark winter days, breathing new life into the islands. As the chance of rain diminishes, outdoor pursuits become more feasible. Enjoy the simple pleasure of taking the ferry across to Valletta, to appreciate a wander around the stunning capital city. Kids of varying ages love to chase pigeons through the gardens of Upper Barrakka, while the parents take a load off and savour the impressive views. Though be sure to take a change of clothes with you for the rugrats, as the dancing fountains, spouting temptingly out of the square in front of The Grandmaster's Palace, is almost impossible for the children to resist! Public gardens also come into their own as we gear up for the warmer weather, and San Anton and the neighbouring Kitchen Garden is a great place to while away a lazy afternoon. Malta has seen an increase in the amount of quiet, shady outdoor reading spots-like the public literacy gardens set in the Bir Miftuħ area of Gudja. Combine instilling a lifelong love of literacy with an outing by joining your nearest lending library. What better way to set a good example then to enjoy some healthy refreshments and an interesting book ensconced in nature.
Summer is a no brainer for families living in, or visiting, the Maltese archipelage. After all kids, sand and water are a timeless marriage made in heaven! Keep costs to a minimum by packing your own snacks, and plenty of iced water. Children do not need to tan so remember to invest in a total protection sunblock, or U.V. gear.T hen click on a dot along the coastline on your Google map, look up directions, and off you go! These long, idle beach days are a mini holidays in themselves, as you make childhood memeories which your family will treasure forever. Try to steer clear of the sun's harmful midday rays by either putting the younger kids down for a nap on a sunbed in the shade, or by taking a break from the seaside to pay a visit to one of the many family friendly heritage sites which the Maltese Islands have to offer. The newly opened War Museum, recently relocated to the spectacularly renovated Fort St.Elmo, is sure to fire the imagination of young minds! Take a staycation and spend the day at Popeye's Village – exploring the famous film set, taking a boat trip and playing a round of mini golf, which will surely see you all reluctant to leave at closing time.
Autumn heralds in the start of a new scholastic year, so weekday excursions tend to be closer to home – bicycle rides along the promenade to the local playground for an hour or so, or a trip to the closest indoor playcentre on those rainy days. On weekends pack the picnic basket and plaid blanket and head out to the craggy countryside. From nature walks with Malta Gerographical Society to kite flying, there is plenty for enterprising families to discover. Treat animal lovers to a visit to the Wildlife Park Malta, and give youngsters the thrill of experiencing African wildlife up close! What better way to spend a languorous Sunday afternoon than grabbing the extended family members and treating yourselves to lunch at the extensive Montekristo Estates, enjoying their wide range of food options and budget friendly prices. This time of year is ideal for a spot of impromptu camping by the seaside, as although the sea is still warm enough for a dip, the pesky mosquitoes have buzzed off! Join a cycling club and take long, enjoyable weekend morning rides in the company of like-minded families, working up a healthy appetite while you keep fit and get the whole family moving. Late in the season bargain hunters will be rewarded for their patience with cheap prices for weekends on the sister islands of Gozo and Comino; or at an all-inclusive resort in Malta.
A huge thunderstorm at the end of the school holidays usually signals the start of the winter season. Winter, though mild and temperate in Malta, tends to be a challenging time for parents looking to entertain their children. Locals are likely to be put off going out by even the slightest threat of rain, which comes from being spoilt by agreeable weather for the majority of the year! Indoor playcentres are the obvious choice, although beyond the age of eight most children then seem to outgrow them. Older children up to tweens prefer gaming arcades and interactive simulators. Lasermaxx at Baystreet in Paceville has something for all age groups to enjoy, from bumping cars to lasertag to retail therapy on Sundays! Those in the know, hurry to bag a spot to spend the night at 'Bethlehem in Għajnsielem'. During the festive season this incentive of recreating the atmosphere surrounding the birth of Jesus is gaining popularity. Culminating in the arrival of the three kings, there are a few limited huts where you can give the kids a truly unique experience which you could always follow up by a night in one of the nearby hotels to scrub up!
For alternative events to attend as a family, don't forget to subscribe to Malta Baby & Kids Directory's free monthly e-newsletter, in order to keep updated on what's on in the month ahead. Alternatively, the website www.maltababyandkids.com features a hugely popular 'What's On For Kids' section- where interesting child friendly events are uploaded daily. Ensure you are never without a copy of the latest version of the Malta Baby & Kids Directory – the parents bible when needing assistance in making the right choices for their children!