Updated: Jan 4, 2021
I guess this pandemic has changed our perspective on life in general. We are giving more priority to spending quality time with our loved ones. We are appreciating the environment we live in, more specifically the natural environment. As a result, we are trying to spend more time with our family in nature.
This is how you can do it too!
This pandemic has changed the way we look at strangers. Anxieties run high when we get in close proximity with strangers; we ask ourselves "Are they sick?" or "Did they get too close to us?"; Unfortunately, until a vaccine is found, we will have to keep our distances.
Places which are easily accessible by car and which have paved passageways and pathways are typically full of people, especially on weekends. Which is why we decided to ditch our buggies.
Here are 5 reasons why you should leave the buggy at home on your next trip outdoors.
1. Off the beaten track
You’ll get to roam freely, and explore paths which you are unable to do so with a buggy (or two, in our case). And, it's 2020, so what better way than to get lost out in nature with little human interaction? We have been to a number of treks lately, varying in their accessibility, duration and difficulty. Check out these trails below, which in our opinion are ideal for beginners!
Għajn Żnuber Tower: It is part of the Majjistral Nature and History Park in Mellieħa. The tower is a mere 15-minute walk from the parking lot, practically on flat terrain. Roam around the tower area (over 400 different species of fauna can be found here, some of them quite rare!), or sit down and watch the sunset.
Mġiebaħ, is the plural of migbħa, an apiary. And here you'll find many apiaries and what is renowned as the oldest carob tree in the Maltese islands. The attraction is a short 10-minute uphill trek from the closest parking spot. Placards are found along the route, providing information on these historical remains. The apiaries serve as a good spot for hide-and-seek play!
Buskett - definitely Malta's greenest area with its semi-natural woodland, and a place where you've definitely been before. But why take the more easily accessible routes? Be adventurous and take a path which you have never been on before; you're bound to be surprised by what you find! Let your little ones climb a tree, and collect some pinecones and leaves for your next home crafts session.
2. A breath of fresh air
Both adults and kids need this. And we need more of it now that we're spending most of our time indoors. Take some deep breaths, especially if you're close by the sea. And why not find a spot to enjoy the scenery while practising some family-friendly yoga? It will make you feel calmer and more in control.
3. Building self-confidence
Your kids get to explore first-hand the outdoor environment. They get to walk, climb, throw stones, see different species of flowers*... but they'll also get fall, get muddy and get stung by thorns - and that's ok mind you. But they'll build confidence with every step. You'll get to hear them chatter excitedly. And you'll feel proud seeing them take on new challenges.
4. Taking homeschooling outside
Nature can provide countless stimuli and opportunities to learn. With parents having been given the task to homeschool, some are feeling overwhelmed with this additional duty over and above the existing workload. In nature, kids can experience first-hand sights, smells, sounds and textures.
This, in turn, provides opportunities for discovery and creativity. And why not take home some little treasures (as an example: pebbles, snails' shells) which you can then incorporate in their learning at home? You know what, not all lessons come from books.
5. Get kids moving
Young children are full of energy. Studies suggest that young children should be physically active every day for around 3 hours as this is important for their healthy growth and development. Trekking on rough terrain depletes some of their energy. Plus an earlier bedtime is guaranteed. Which also means you get to unwind and enjoy a glass of wine!
But... to get to your glass of wine, I suggest you plan ahead. We can all agree, that it takes time (feels like infinity) to get out of the house with small children. Planning ahead will result in a higher level of enjoyment for all the family members - yourself included! Check out our three tips to making your next outing a success!
🗺Choose a location (scroll up for our suggestions!) a day or so before you actually plan to do it. Estimate how long it will take you to get there by car. Check the weather conditions as well so that you know what to expect, but don't let wind and rain put you off the trip - it's part of the fun!
⏰ Choose a time. Parents know their kids‘ napping schedule best. Make sure you choose a time when the sun is not too hot and when your kids won’t need to nap while you’re out. We’ve found that the best time is right after the afternoon nap. But every family is different, so choose the time that suits you best.
🎒 Pack your bag. Make sure you have water, snacks (you’ll all be hungry after the walk!), sunscreen, wipes, tissues and nappies. If you have a baby, don’t forget the baby carrier. And sanitiser of course!
You are now fully equipped to get going! And I promise you that once you do it for the first time, you'll start leaving the buggy home. Shut up your inner voice, stop the self-doubt and do it. The look on your children's faces during and after such trips will get you hooked for more. And you will ask yourself, what was I waiting for?!
Tag a friend who you think would benefit from these tips and/or tag us when you're on your next adventure!
*Some local species of flowers are endangered and are protected by law, thus picking of such flowers is not advised. Please consult www.era.org.mt for more info.