9 Fun Things To Do With Kids This Winter In Malta
Organised fun is the way to go
Life's a whole different ball game when you've got children. You've got to plan ahead for every trip, even if it's just popping out for a carton of milk. It's super easy to get lethargic and blame "winter" for not getting out more.
But thankfully, our Maltese climate never reaches seriously low temperatures, so there's no excuse for a little more family adventuring. Here are a few tried and tested indoor and outdoor winter outing ideas that will keep the little ones entertained until we can all go back to daily swimming. Hooray!
1. Go to the swings (the other ones)
It's easy to get stuck in a rut, it happens to everyone. We end up going to the same bars, eating at the same restaurants and going to the same beaches. Same goes for playgrounds.
The usual issue is just habitually returning to your local park, which is handy if it's close by and you don't have to take the car. However, it's always good to mix it up a little bit by visiting other playgrounds in different towns. Who knows, the kids might just make some new friends on the other side of the island!
2. Visit a museum favourite
Museums are great places to visit with kids to keep them occupied and entertained, with the extra educational bonus of course! The National Museum Of Natural History in Mdina is home to loads of interesting natural artefacts such as exotic mammal taxidermy, birds, butterflies, wildlife skeletons, shells, rocks and minerals.
The National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta is another great place to introduce kids to ancient history – exhibiting a spectacular range of artefacts dating back to 5000 BC, from primitive tools to prehistoric wall carvings. Who knows, you might just inspire the next David Attenburough or Ruth Mason – she discovered a huge dinosaur fossils bone bed on her family's ranch at the age of seven. Hey, it's worth a try!
3. Historical days out
Malta is often referred to as "one big open-air museum" because of its rich history and abundance of historical sites, most of which are free to the public!
Winter is ideal for visits to the old Capital City of Mdina, walks along the ancient Cart Ruts in Dingli, visiting our incredible world famous temples dotted all around the island, Roman ruins in Rabat, all followed by a nice hot chocolate somewhere cosy...
4. Visit the Esplora Science Centre
This is a great place to spend the day if you've got kids to keep entertained. The centre is open all weekend, but we think Sunday is a great day to embark on some interactive scientific explorations. We recommend checking out their online schedule and booking in advance. Go on – coax out the Albert Einstein/ Marie Curie in your seven year old. They'll thank you later.
5. Experience some animal magic
Kids and animals are a winning combination. The Petting Farm at Ta' Qali National Park is a great way to introduce young kids to the farm animals that they've heard about at play-school. There are even food dispensers dotted around to give kids the opportunity to feed these friendly animals.
Across the channel in Xagħra, Gozo, you'll find Dreams Of Horses Farm, where you can learn to ride these beautiful, majestic creatures. The farm is well known for its therapeutic work with children with learning difficulties and disabilities and is set over the lush, sprawling countryside of our sister island.
6. Take them to the airport
For all those budding pilots, it doesn't get much cooler than visiting Malta International Airport's viewing gallery! The Observation Deck, located on our Luqa airport's third floor, is the perfect place for watching take-offs and landings and is always there as a back-up if any of your other plans go to pot at any point.
There's also the added bonus of it being open all hours and indoors of course. Make sure to pack some homemade sandwiches and get gawping at the astounding aircrafts touching down on our very own soil- awesome!
7. Get your skates on
When you're a kid the idea of "exercise" is alien. Instead all physical activity is simply just "fun". Get your money's worth out of that new scooter, bike or rollerblades by hitting one of Malta's promenades. San Anton Gardens, Ta' Qali and Tigne Point Piazza are also great for kids to use up some of that seemingly endless energy.
Invest in a humble football – hours of entertainment for boys and girls as you kick back on a bench and catch up with fellow mums and dads.
8. Embrace rainy days
Thanks to our good friend Google, you're bound to find a few crafty ideas that will entertain the kids for a rainy afternoon in the comfort of your own home! You can start by making a habit of collecting empty plastic bottles and toilet rolls which, with a little sticky tape and imagination, can be modelled into a rocket ship, a fairy castle or submarine right there on your kitchen table.
And don't forget potato printing! It's the perfect cheap and cheerful way of turning your ordinary spud into a makeshift carved stamp for older kids who can use a cutting knife under an adult's supervision. Try printing on cheap calico fabric for added fun – and make sure to keep an eye out for Malta's next budding fashion and textile designers!
9. Enjoy a Buskett weekend
It's so important for young kids to be able to play around in nature, and our national woodland area is the perfect place for it! Make sure to dress in clothes you don't mind them getting messy in, and embrace all the magic nature has to offer. Encourage tree climbing, frog spotting and getting your hands dirty making dens out of rocks and sticks. See if you can spot any pine cones that you can take back and use for crafting on a rainy day.
Finish off by paying a visit to the renovated old train station in Rabat, now called L-Istazzjon, from way back when Malta had a railway service. It's sure to captivate curious young steam engine train lovers! L-Istazzjon is also pet friendly and has ample parking.
BONUS: Go to the beach
And yes, we're deadly serious. There's literally nothing stopping you from going to the beach in the colder months, they don't close for the winter, promise! Make sure you wrap up warm though – coats, scarves, thick socks and wellies should be enough to allow you to have a great day out!
Għajn Tuffieħa is a great beach for winter outings as there's surrounding nature to explore. Go for a mini hike up the clay hills and get the little ones to see if they can spot any seashells or fossils- cool!