The Comment Box is Mightier than the Sword

It’s a Facebook Miracle

Uh-oh you haven’t updated your status in 5 minutes!

In the end, resistance was futile.

Since the minute Facebook stormed onto the scene a decade ago, I knew I did not want to get caught up in the hype. I began to detest all “social media,” not only as a regular person who found it tedious and self-serving but also as an actual journalist who saw the demise of the fourth estate. If anyone can say anything anytime, then who the heck knows if anything anyone is saying has any truth to it? But it was Facebook that caught the brunt of my wrath, as I watched otherwise sane people get sucked into this never-ending vortex of “status updates” and “likes” and “friends.” Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Mordicai Gerstein’s “The Mountains of Tibet”

The Mountains of Tibet
by Mordicai Gerstein

Literature Guide: The Mountains of Tibet

An accomplished writer, illustrator, and animator; local author Mordicai Gerstein‘s books for children are moving, beautifully illustrated, and feature deep themes that children of all ages (and the adults in their lives) can relate to. In The Mountains of Tibet, Gerstein weaves a lovely story about kite-flying and the passing of time with a lesson about reincarnation and Buddhist culture. Not only do readers learn to think about what happens after death, but the story inspires them to think about the many different belief systems that exist in cultures all around the world – helping to open their eyes to the vast diversity amongst humans.

The Mountains of Tibet focuses on a young boy who lives in a small village, high up in Tibet’s mountains. His favorite activity is kite-flying, and he spends his childhood imagining all of the places in the world that he might travel to when he is older and dreaming of all of the adventures that he may have in other parts of the globe. Despite his dreams of travel, the boy grows up to be a man who remains at home in his small village, serving as a woodcutter amongst the community in which he spent his childhood. Eventually, once he has accomplished much and becomes an old man, he dies and finds himself posed to make an important decision. Finding himself in a strange place that is somewhere between the earth and the rest of the universe, the man is given a choice: to remain as part of the endless universe, or to choose his own reincarnation without knowledge of his previous life. The man chooses reincarnation and, in a heart warming twist, he revisits his own hometown and experiences another life there as a kite-flying young girl.

Read the rest of this entry »

Fibonacci Sequence & Golden Ratio Drive Nature Based Education

Nature’s Patterns Reveals Mathematical Reasoning

The Fibonacci sequence describes the pattern in which flowers fit the most seeds possible into their centers.

Nature is filled with patterns – spirals, in particular, are especially noticeable in species of plants and animals. Sunflowers, for example, seem to spiral their seeds from their centers in some sort of mathematical pattern. Snail shells, too, show growth rings that become gradually larger as they spiral away from the shell’s center. Evergreen cones, heads of broccoli and cauliflower, and tree branches all display noticeable iterations of this spiraling pattern, too.

The spirals that appear all around us are no accident of nature – while they’re beautiful to look at, their purpose is much more important than vanity alone. Beneath the aesthetically pleasing shapes of petals, seeds, and branches are two fascinating mathematical concepts that explain nature’s tendency to expand in spirals. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Weather Episode with Guest DJ, Alison Faith Levy (Radio Show/Podcast)

 

Hilltown Family Variety Show

WEATHER EPISODE
GUEST DJ, ALISON FAITH LEVY

Listen to Podcast:

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 19th & 20th, 2014

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “World of Wonder,” the title track from Alison Faith Levy’s debut album for children World of Wondera paean to the natural world and all its mystery. Animated by filmmaker Danny Plotnick. – www.alisonfaithlevy.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Electric Light Orchestra – “Mr. Blue Sky” – [Out of the Blue]
  • Grateful Dead – “Box of Rain” [American Beauty]
  • Allen Clapp – “Scattered Showers” [One Hundred Percent Chance of Rain]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “I Love the Rain” [World of Wonder]
  • The Velvet Underground – “Who Loves the Sun” [Loaded]
  • The Hollies – “Everything is Sunshine” [The Hollies: Epic Anthology]
  • XTC – “Ballet for a Rainy Day” [Skylarking]
  • Jimi Hendrix – “The Wind Cries Mary” [The Ultimate Experience]
  • Beach Boys – “Wind Chimes” [Smile Sessions]
  • Allen Clapp & His Orchestra – “If the Wind is Right” [Mixed Greens]
  • The Three O’Clock – “When Lightning Starts” [Sixteen Tambourines]
  • Led Zeppelin – “The Rain Song” [Houses of the Holy]
  • Neko Case – “This Tornado Loves You” [Middle Cyclone]
  • Alison Faith Levy – “Eye of the Tornado” [World of Wonder]
  • Etta James – “Stormy Weather” [At Last]
  • The Beatles – “Good Day Sunshine” [Revolver]
  • The Beatles – “Here Comes the Sun” [Abbey Road]
  • The Beatles – “Sun King” [Abbey Road]
  • Autumn Leaves – “Stars in the Snow” [The Twilight Hours of the Autumn Leaves]
  • The Sippy Cups – “Drinking from the Sky” [Electric Storyland]
  • The Jayhawks – “Save It For a Rainy Day” [Rainy Day Music]
  • The Kinks – “Waterloo Sunset” [Something Else by The Kinks]

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 19th & 20th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 19th-25th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 33 Community Highlights: Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

July 19th-25th, 2014

Saturday • Sunday • Monday • Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday • Friday

Animal Studies ♦ Shakespeare ♦ Transportation ♦ Culture ♦ Playgrounds ♦ Nature Studies ♦ Agriculture/Farm Tours ♦ Local History ♦ STEM ♦ Insects ♦ Community Meals ♦ Geology ♦ Festivals

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Let’s Play: Water Paints
  2. 16 Swimming Holes in Western MA
  3. Hilltown Family Variety Show Archived Podcasts
  4. Three Programs Kids Can Use to Learn How to Create Video Games
  5. Q&A: Where to Get New/Used Bikes for the Family in Western MA

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

 Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too! Read the rest of this entry »

33 Community Highlights: Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can.

Guess how many owl species have been recorded in New England… twelve! On Saturday afternoon, July 19, Eyes on Owls will be at the Sunderland Library with their free owl program. This program features six live owls and will teach about the owls of the northeast. Owl pellets will be dissected and are a fascinating way to learn about owl anatomy and physiology, along with what their diets consist of and the habitats necessary to support not only owls but the prey these raptors survive on.

Whalemobile to TrolleyFest. Scottish Festival to Bang on a Can. William Cullen Bryant to Sojourner Truth… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: The Whalemobile is a 43-foot, life-sized inflatable whale named Nile, modeled after a female humpback whale born in 1987 who summers off the coast of Massachusetts. This traveling educational program teaches kids all about whales – where they live, how they communicate, what they eat, what their behavior is like – and then gives them a chance to climb inside the inflatable replica to learn about whale anatomy and physiology. The Whalemobile will be visiting several libraries in western Massachusetts this summer. Don’t miss this free interactive program for all ages. Find out where it will be appearing here.


Animal StudiesShakespeareTransportationCulturePlaygroundsNature StudiesAgriculture/Farm ToursLocal HistorySTEMInsectsCommunity MealsGeologyFestivals


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 19th-25th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“When I moved to Western MA from Memphis, TN, two years ago, I thought I was loosing the ‘big city’ resources that my kids loved (such as free festivals, outings, activities). Hilltown Families provided me with the ‘big city’ connections that I loved; more so, this is the site that I share with families that I meet that are new to the area.” – Shannon Audley-Piotrowski (Northampton, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 19

On Saturday, July 19, the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. Especially appropriate for children ages 3 to 10, this Family Day is free and open to all. Activities include: folksongs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; a performance by Henry the Juggler; the Circus Parade; and a reading from Burleigh Muten, author of the newly published YA book, Miss Emily. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, “tightrope” walking, other games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and a complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. With questions, email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Jul 20

Western Mass Jobs with Justice will host its 1st Annual Justice Cup on Jul 20 in Hoyloke at Crosier Field. The festival will include a soccer tournament with divisions for all skill levels and ages. Beets & Barley and Salsarengue Restaurant will serve food. Families will be treated to music by Putamayo artist Jay Mankita and Flame and Peach, face painting and games plus a social justice resource fair to learn about the great work in the region. Code Pink, River Valley Market, Springfield No One Leaves, and many more have teams. The action on the field, cheering crowd, and music over the speakers will ensure a festive atmosphere. Proceeds will be used to support WMJWJ and its organizing project: The Pioneer Valley Workers Center. Register Here.

Through Aug 22

The New England Air Museum will hold family fun programs through the end of the summer. Visitors will have the chance to get up close and personal with the Museum’s 80 display aircraft. A variety of activities will be offered each day such as build and fly challenge activities, flight science demonstrations and the chance to sit in the cockpit of an aircraft. The Museum’s Flight Sim Spot will be open each of these days between 11am-4pm. The Flight Sim Spot allows visitors to use state-of-the-art simulators using real cockpit controls. NEAM is located in Windsor Locks, CT and can be reached at 860-623-3305. Click here for more details on New England Air Museum’s summer programs.

Family Resource Center, a program of Child Care of the Berkshires, Inc., has a playground and park guide for northern Berkshire County.  They also have a Playground Scavenger Hunt game families has participate in together while exploring the different playgrounds, parks and trails in and around northern Berkshire.

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your fall program, after school class, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 19th-25th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

‘Stories from the Kitchen Sink’ Installation Challenges Conventions

Stories from the Kitchen Sink: Comic Multimedia Installation Examines American Domesticity

Submitted Image: Dog Dreams, 2006/2012. Ricky Bernstein, glass and mixed mediaFrom now through Sunday, June 21, 2015, the Community Gallery at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts in Springfield, MA, will host a special, site-specific installation by Sheffield, Massachusetts-based artist Ricky Bernstein.  The installation, titled Stories from the Kitchen Sink: Bob and Phyllis Learn New Tricks, contains oversized collage-style graphics that depict stereotypically-American domestic scenes.  These “still life sit-com” images are both humorous and critical, drawing attention to past and present ideas about modern life, multi-tasking, and gender roles.

Younger viewers will be particularly interested in these energetic, colorful, stylized representations of American families, and students interested in Pop Art and contemporary art will be able to draw connections between Bernstein and other artists who used graphic, comic imagery, while parents and adults will appreciate the gently satirical sentiments and questions that Bernstein’s installation poses. Read the rest of this entry »

What to Play? Make Your Own Toys!

What to Play? by Carrie St. John

Getting back to creative basics, and making your own toys!

DIY toys stimulates creative free play. Make this cup & ball with materials you have at home! (Photo credit: Carrie St. John)

While looking for some DIY toys and games for my summer campers to make or design and to inspire play, I found a great book at Gabriel Books in Northampton, MA. John has amazing finds in his $1 box on the sidewalk. I am guessing these are the books he considers duds. Not his best sellers. They take up valuable shelf space. I frequently find good things in that box. I have never had it in me to be a tag sale person or thrift shop hunter but I love to stop and check on old books. This find, Easy-to-Make Old-Fashioned Toys by Eugene F. Provenzo, Jr., is dated in style and illustrations. It was published in 1979. I was 8 years old. I am dated, too. Read the rest of this entry »

Hand Clapping Games: Summer & Schoolyard Creative Free Play that Supports Learning

Hand Clapping Games Spur Learning

In schoolyards all around the world, hand-clapping games have been a staple activity of childhood for generations. Pairing silly songs and rhymes with quick claps, slaps, snaps, and other movements, hand-clapping games can provide endless hours of entertainment and friendship building.

In addition to the recreational benefits of hand-clapping games, studies have shown that hand-clapping games support children in developing many essential skills. Researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev studied children in grades 1-3 and found that children who participated in spontaneous clapping games during their free time had stronger spelling skills than peers who didn’t. Additionally, the same students had neater handwriting and better writing and drawing skills than students who didn’t participate in clapping games. Read the rest of this entry »

Hindsight Parenting: Modeling a Positive Body Image

Modeling Self Confidence

“Sing silly words to the Doc McStuffins CD mommy!”  Ila exclaimed.  This is often a game that we play in the car to pass the time.  So I obliged.  I admit that I relish the belly giggles my daughter gets and so it is a challenge for me to make her laugh and the lyrics that I sing can be quite nonsensical.  The particular song that was on was Doc singing the virtues of eating a good diet; “Eat good food and your body will thank you. You’re gonna love the way you feeeeel.  Eat good food!”  But instead I sang, “Eat JUNK FOOD and your belly will be big.  You’re not going to like the way you feel.  Eat junk food!”  And then…..well…then nothing.  Just silence.  A LOOOONG silence.  And then Ila saying, “Turn off the music mommy.  Stop singing.”  I immediately did what she said out of worry and confusion.  There was a little more silence then I looked in the rear view mirror  and she was whispering to herself, “But my belly’s big.  But my belly’s big.  But my belly’s big.”

She pushed down on her stomach hard and pulled the seat belt strap tight to try and flatten it.  My heart broke.  Into a million pieces…it broke.  It happened–her first out loud moment of body hatred–just four years old. Read the rest of this entry »

Thunderstorms: Those Rumbling Science Shows

Summer Thunderstorms Inspire Folktales and Science Learning

The feeling of a summer thunderstorm is familiar to us all – the temperature drops, the breeze cools, bright leaves rustle endlessly louder, and a distant echo of thunder rolls across the darkening sky. Though they can be scary for youngsters (and anxious pets), thunderstorms are an important part of summer weather, bringing much-needed rain to the landscape and cooling the oppressive heat that hangs in July’s muggy air.

Thunderstorms remained quite mysterious for centuries, and cultures worldwide have developed a variety of folktales to explain their occurrence. Read about these follktales and science learning thunderstorms inspire

The Good Life: Small Hardships Swept Away by Joyous Enthusiasm

The Good Life: A Year of Thoughtful Seasons by Sarah Mattison Buhl

For the Kids: Summer Travel

The RV: Liberation for some. Captivity for others.

Like some families, I am traveling with mine this month for summer vacation. We started in Albuquerque with the five of us, my father-in-law, and an RV.  This is not a trip I would have imagined taking prior to my married life.  The mere suggestion of such a hideous vacation would have sent my snobbish idealism into overdrive. A lot has changed since then. When my kids were little, my friend Kristie wisely advised me to plan our trips around them.  She said, “When they’re happy, you’re happy.” She also told me to wear elastic pants so I could go to the bathroom one handed while holding an infant in the other (Namaste, my dear friend.  Namaste).  On day eleven of our 23-day trip, I’ve decided to write about hardship. Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for Jeanne Birdsall’s “The Penderwicks”

The Penderwicks
by Jeanne Birdsall

Literature Guide: The Penderwicks

Our first chapter book featured in this series, The Penderwicks – which takes place in the Berkshires – is a fantastic family summer read. Featuring a quirky cast of characters, a bit of mystery, and a healthy does of adventure and mystery, Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks is a story that can appeal to readers of all ages. While the accompanying literary guide is designed for use with 5th grade students (ages 10 and 11), the story is appropriate for young elementary students (though they may need some support with comprehension), yet can be enjoyed by tweens, teens, and adults – especially when done as a family read-aloud. Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Guest DJ, Morgan Taylor of Gustafer Yellowgold Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

GUEST DJ, MORGAN TAYLOR OF GUSTAFER YELLOWGOLD EPISODE

Listen to Podcast:

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
July 12th & 13th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

 

Featured Video:  Our hero Gustafer builds a cakey robot with a surprising personality in another classic hand-drawn music video from Gustafer Yellowgold. Music and Art by Morgan Taylor. Co-produced and performed with Dean Jones. — www.gustaferyellowgold.com


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Beatles – “Hello Goodbye” (Magical Mystery Tour)
  • Bread – “The Guitar Man” (The Guitar Man)
  • John Sebastian – “Welcome Back” – (Welcome Back)
  • Meco – “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band” (Have A Nice Decade)
  • Gustafer Yellowgold – “Four Leaved Clover” (Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year In The Day)
  • Hot Butter – “Popcorn” (Have A Nice Decade)
  • Earth Wind and Fire – “Got To Get You Into My Life” – (Greatest Hits)
  • Recess Monkey – “Jet Pack” – (The Final Funktier)
  • Gustafer Yellowgold – “Dream In Green” – (Gustafer Yellowgold’s ‘Have You Never Been Yellow?’)
  • Paul McCartney and Wings – “Let ‘Em In” – (Wingspan)
  • Gustafer Yellowgold – “Werewolves Rock” – (Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year In The Day)
  • Harry Nilsson – “Me And My Arrow” – (The Point)
  • Lobo – “Me And You And A Dog Named Boo” – (Have A Nice Decade)
  • Pilot – “Magic” – (Have A Nice Decade)
  • Gustafer Yellowgold – “New Is The New Old” – (Gustafer Yellowgold’s Year In The Day)

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 12th & 13th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 12th-18th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 34 Community Highlights: A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

July 12th-18th, 2014

Saturday • Sunday • Monday • Tuesday • Wednesday • Thursday • Friday

Film Studies ♦ Local History ♦ Entomology ♦ Theater♦ Art ♦ Bird Studies ♦ STEM ♦ Sustainability ♦Writing ♦ Animal Studies

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. Social Studies on the Road
  2. Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Pen Pal Program for T(w)eens
  3. WebCams Around the World and Across the Nation
  4. Crash Course: 100+ Episodes in 6 Online Courses
  5. STEMBite: Bite Sized Videos Supporting STEM Education

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

 Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

 

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP

34 Community Highlights: A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles.

Lemons… they can be a catalyst for community service and STEM based learning!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Casablanca. Robots to Rockets. Service Dogs to Bald Eagles… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week: Step back in time at Cummington’s Kingman Tavern, which opens for the season on Saturday afternoon, July 12, and will be open on Saturdays through August 30 with no admission charge. The Tavern is a historic building from the early 1800s that contains 17 rooms, with a replica country store, a barn, a cider mill, and a carriage shed. Families can discover the local history of Cummington and the Hilltowns by exploring the museum and seeing many of its historic artifacts. The general store, in particular, is a great resource for understanding life in the past – it contains many things that would have been sold in a New England general store from 1900-1910!


Film StudiesLocal HistoryEntomologyTheaterArtBird StudiesSTEMSustainabilityWritingAnimal Studies


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 12th-18th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“Hilltown Families is my go to spot for what is going on for kids and families around the valley. I always check it for ideas of what to do with the kids on the weekends, during school vacations and summertime.” – Adelle F. (Greenfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 5-Aug 3

Stiltwalkers, puppets, masks, theater and storytelling make for magical performances under the stars at Ko Festival of Performance — July 5-August 3 in Amherst! KoFest’s 23rd season, on the Amherst College campus, presents five weeks of theater, 15 performances, two all-ages events, three intensive theater workshops, a Story Slam, and so much more. Special family events are Saturday, July 5 at 5:00 pm: Carpetbag Brigade’s outdoor acrobatic stilt extravaganza, “Callings.” And Sunday, July 20 at 8:00 pm, don’t miss Mettawee River Company’s “The Dancing Fox” wisdom tales from the Middle East, told through puppetry and masks. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit: www.kofest.com or email: info@kofest.com

Jul 7-Aug 15

The Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums features great family entertainment every weekday, including fun art and science activities, live reptile demos and more, all free with museum admission! Great family shows every Wednesday – Friday, including the Tanglewood Marionettes on Thursdays, plus Grammy-nominated The Pop Ups, Mister G, and many others. There’s also Music in the Museums every Tuesday & Thursday for parents and kids age 0-5, plus the special Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee). General admission is free on Friday, July 18 through the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday program! Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

July 19

On Saturday, July 19, the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst presents “Creatures of Bliss and Mystery: A 19th-Century Children’s Circus” from 1 to 4 pm. Especially appropriate for children ages 3 to 10, this Family Day is free and open to all. Activities include: folksongs and stories with Tim Van Egmond; a performance by Henry the Juggler; the Circus Parade; and a reading from Burleigh Muten, author of the newly published YA book, Miss Emily. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, “tightrope” walking, other games, and kid-friendly crafts. For details and a complete schedule, visit www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/events. With questions, email edmprograms@emilydickinsonmuseum.org or call 413-542-2034.

Amherst Montessori School is now enrolling children ages 12 months – 6th grade for Fall 2014. AMS fosters the natural self-construction, cognitive development, and social-emotional well-being of each child in programs that include music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. Spanish language exposure for ages 3-12, with an optional Spanish bilingual classroom for ages 3-6 (Casa de Niños). Afterschool programming includes options like private instrument lessons, theater, soccer, and band. Limited spaces available at all levels. Contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org for more information. www.amherstmontessori.org

Jul 9 – Aug 9

Join NCT Kids! this summer for 2 family-friendly musicals based on beloved children’s books. First up is Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day about a boy who is having the world’s worst day! Sing along with Alexander as he learns that everyone has a bad day every now and then but the great thing is…there’s always tomorrow! Next up it’s the rollicking, mischievous, off-the-wall adventures of SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole! Based on the bestselling book series about the Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a chihuahua super hero, SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole is a tuneful romp through the big-top of Skippy’s imagination. For tickets call 413-585-3220 or online www.newcenturytheatre.org

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your fall program, after school class, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 12th-18th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Photography Exhibits Capture Scenes of Everyday Life at Home and Abroad

Local Photography Exhibits Illuminate Regional Histories

This month, two photography exhibitions in Western Massachusetts will offer audiences a similar, yet very different, viewing experience.  Lisa Quiñones’ Balkan Odyssey, now on view at Easthampton City Arts+ Gallery, and Chester Michalik’s Northampton In Time, on view at Historic Northampton starting Friday, July 11, both contain photographs of everyday life and scenes in their respective regions: Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, and Northampton, Mass. Read the rest of this entry »

The Garden Plot: Tending Gardens & Family Learning Opportunities

Summer Family Garden Chores

Give your kids tasks and get them involved in the family garden, exercising their own skills of observations and taking pride in their chores. In a family garden there is visible pay-off, which boosts a child’s confidence and sense of being able to influence change and growth. Learn together and share the experience… and at the end of the day, fresh veggies for your family dinner and fresh cut flowers to give to your neighbors!

Whether you are a gardener of vegetables, flowers or both, the season for planting has for the most part ended. Now the real work begins.

Many years ago I read a Chinese quote I have always remembered:

the greatest fertilizer is the farmers footprint.

This memorable quote implies that tending to your plants was the most important thing you could do. If you spend time with your gardens you will see if they are overgrow with weeds, racked by insects, or in need of a drink. This attention improves a plants chance to survive and thrive.

Here are my 3 steps to successful maintenance of new plants: Read the rest of this entry »

Nature Table for July: Rivers & Lakes Give it Up!

Rivers & lakes dispense gifts for July

Every month, Hilltown Families features a new nature table whose contents inspire learning along a common theme easily spotted in our surroundings that month. A tradition carried out by teachers, environmental educators, and nature-curious families, nature tables bring a little bit of the outdoors inside for inspection, dissection, identification, creative play, art projects, and lots of other educational activities. The idea behind a nature table is to help open up children’s eyes to the unique attributes of each season, and to help them learn how to see these things in nature for themselves. A nature table can include a variety of items, and is often accompanied by a set of books and/or field guides so that children can take part in further learning at their own will.

When the air is thick and muggy and temperatures stretch beyond the thermometer’s eighty degree marker, we head to the river. Though the river is a major feature in our landscape no matter the season, the hot days of midsummer compel us to develop a much more intimate relationship with the ripples and rapids than we’ve upheld throughout the rest of the year. Our far-away glances and detached musings about river-bottom happenings slip silently into the current, transforming as they cool into true knowing – our feet dig deep into the sandy river bed, our hands feel the rocks’ soft surfaces, and our veins pulse a little cooler, a river in miniature inside of ourselves.

July is indisputably a time for swimming, a time when we direct all of our attention to eradicating our skin of prickly, sticky sweat, a time to submerge ourselves with abandon into the dark water that rushes down from the hills. In the summertime, we experience our landscape much differently than we do any other time of year – and not just because it’s full of life. Warm weather grants us the opportunity to explore wet places without protection – bare feet, bare arms, bare bellies. Read the rest of this entry »

Pressing Plants and Flowers Supports Summer Learning & Memories

Creative documenting of summer blooms capture memories and learning

Herbariums are collections of preserved plants and are fun ways for families to preserve summer memories while supporting an interest in botany and local habitats.

As the many flowering plants of the summer grow buds, burst into bloom, and fall to the ground to make way for the next wave of plants to come into season, children often collect specimens of their favorite colorful plants in an attempt to preserve them for endless enjoyment and examination. Inevitably, flowers in a vase will wilt, but carefully pressed and preserved plants can maintain a version of favorite plants that can be enjoyed and examined no matter the season. Pressed plants and flowers can be used for a variety of purposes, and lend themselves in particular to art projects and scientific observations. When compiled as a collection, pressed flowers can serve as a family herbarium – serving as documentation of springs and summers past.
Read the rest of this entry »

Literary Guide for William Steig’s “Sylvester and the Magic Pebble”

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig

A Caldecott Medal-winning book, William Steig’s Sylvester and the Magic Pebble has been well-loved by multiple generations of children. Published in 1969, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble seems timeless – the fable-like quality of the story paired with Steig’s simple illustrations have allowed the book to appeal to young readers for decades without the story losing its popularity as American culture evolved.

An excellent read for children who are early on in their elementary school careers, the story is about a young donkey named Sylvester and his discovery of a surprising pebble that grants wishes. Unfortunately for Sylvester, however, soon after his discovery of the pebble and its magical powers he encounters a lion, and wishes to be a rock so that he doesn’t have to be afraid. Of course, the pebble turns him into a rock and, as his rock-body has no arms, Sylvester drops the pebble – making him incapable of wishing himself back to being a donkey. Months pass, and his family and neighbors miss him terribly and search high and low for him. One day, his miserable parents decide to have a picnic in order to cheer up. In a serendipitous chain of events (the likes of which can only be found in children’s books), Sylvester’s parents happen upon the magic pebble and accidentally-on-purpose wish him back into their lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Off the Mat: Finding the Time to Get Grounded

Around Here Somewhere

Believing it best to start honestly, I have a confession to make: I’ve lost my daily yoga practice. I know it’s around here somewhere. In fact, I’ve used it a few times recently. But then I misplace it again. It’s somewhere under the pile of magazines I want to sort before recycling; the outgrown toys I think might bring in a bit extra on Craigslist; the clean now-too-little big boy underpants that need a new home. (Can you donate underpants or is that too “eew?”)

Haven’t unrolled the mat in a while? Breathe. Stretch. Set the intention.

I miss it. I’ve had it for years! Each morning, I’d drag myself out of bed, pee, then go to my mat. Sometimes 30 minutes, sometimes more, sometimes just 10. Sometimes I’d fall back asleep there for a bit. Regardless, the act of breathing, stretching, connecting within – the intention to start my day on the mat – changed my day off the mat.

Don’t get me wrong. I then went on to drink my coffee, was often late to work, and didn’t necessarily greet my fellow commuters with enlightened bliss. But I felt better physically. Was more grounded. More clear headed.

So where did it go?

Read the rest of this entry »

Maker Camp Makes Camp Come to You

Virtual camp brings a world of learning to kids in their own homes!

Held on weekdays from July 7th-August 15th, Maker Camp offers a new theme each week and, in addition to daily project tutorials, each week’s theme includes a virtual field trip or two.

This summer, Google and Make: are offering hands-on kids and teens an alternative to the traditional summer camp. Instead of following the typical camp structure that involves trails in the woods, friendship bracelet crafts, and canoe lessons, Maker Camp is totally web-based, and engages kids in creative and educational DIY activities in their own homes – and best of all, it’s completely free!

Offering six weeks worth of programming, the 2014 Maker Camp is filled with activities and virtual field trips that match the interests and abilities of an incredibly wide range of learners. Held on weekdays from July 7th-August 15th, Maker Camp offers a new theme each week and, in addition to daily project tutorials, each week’s theme includes a virtual field trip or two. Outlined on the Maker Camp schedule, themes include art and design, music, STEM skills, and fantasy, and field trips will take participants around the country and around the world to places like the workshop of Google’s self-driving car team and the birthplace of LEGO blocks in Billund, Denmark.
Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS: 4th of July Birthday Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Hilltown Family Variety Show

4th of July Birthday Episode

LISTEN TO PODCAST: 

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
Jul 5 & 6, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: How do you make a birthday cake from scratch? It helps to have a great sing-along song to make the process fun. The Indie Food Channel presents a music video called “Cake” set to a catchy original song by award-winning band Charity and the JAMband. www.jamjamjam.com. Directed by Sean Oughton


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Kool & The Gang – “Celebration” [Celebration]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Cake” [Rock Your Socks Off]
  • Suzi Shelton – “So Long Chocolate Cake” [Simply Suzi]
  • Justin Roberts – “It’s Your Birthday” [Meltdown!]
  • Betsy McCall’s Surprise Birthday Party – “Happy Birthday”
  • The Candy Band – “It’s Your Birthday” [Calling All Kids]
  • Betsy McCall’s Surprise Birthday Party – “Surprise Birthday Party”
  • The Candy Band – “Simon Says” [Calling All Kids]
  • Brady Rymer – “Happy Birthday Around the World” [Every Day is a Birthday]
  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • Charity and the JAMband – “Happy Birthday Baby” [Rock Your Socks Off]
  • Butterflyfish – “Lemonade” [Ladybug]Music
  • The Jimmies – “Somebody’s Birthday” [Make Your Own Someday]
  • The Uninvited Loud Precision Band – “The Uninvited Parade” [Blue Moo]
  • Laurie Berkner – “Five Days Old” [Rocketship Run]
  • Lisa Loeb – “H.A.P.P.Y.” [Camp Lisa]
  • Recess Monkey – “Birthday Bite” [Tabby Road]
  • The Hipwaders – “Birthday Ruckus” [Goodie Bag]
  • Ambrosia Parsley – “Everybody Came” [For the Kids Too]
  • “Birthday is Over” [Ditties for Kiddies]
  • Ralph’s World – “Happy Not My Birthday” [The Rhyming Circus]
  • The Panderers – “Come On” [Hotshot's Boy]
  • Betsy McCall’s Surprise Birthday Party – “After the Party”

Recap Map: Western MA Weekend Summary & Family Guide for July 5th & 6th, 2014

Here’s a recap of news and information posted on Hilltown Families this past week, along with a map for finding out what’s happening this weekend and next week throughout Western MA!

MAP

Peruse our list of Suggested Events for July 5th-11th, 2014 for a comprehensive list of events happening throughout the four counties of Western MA, including Bulletin Board Announcements & Hilltown Family Variety Show.

Also check our weekly column, 35 Community Highlights: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic. and our monthly column, Berkshire Family Fun: July 2014, for a list of premier educational and cultural highlights in Berkshire County for families.

For your summer plans, our Summer Bucket List for Western MA has a growing list of reader recommended places to go and see this summer, our 2014 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA has a list of over 55 summer camps & programs.

Also, celebrate 4th of July this Saturday evening! Firework displays scheduled across Western MA, including Westfield, Greenfield, North Adams, West Springfield, Springfield, and Amherst — many of them rescheduled from Friday. Details here: Fourth of July Firework Displays in Western MA.

July 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySundayMondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances

RECAP

Visit the Hilltown Families Facebook page and Twitter stream for more news and information!

FIVE FROM THE ARCHIVES

  1. 11 Recommended Art Studios/Classes in Western MA
  2. Little Homes for Little Folks: Make Your Own Gnome Home
  3. 13 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Western MA
  4. HFVS Summer Essentials Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)
  5. Q&A: Where Can Kids Take Swim Lessons in the Summer?

RECAP MAP SPONSORS

Lui Collins' Upside Up Music

Find out how you can be a sponsor too!

Click here to read the rest of our RECAP MAP!…

35 Community Highlights: Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic.

Join the Dickinson Memorial Library in Northfield for a free program on dragonflies and damselflies with naturalist Julia Blyth on Friday afternoon, July 11. Kids 5 and up and their families can learn all about these interesting insects, their lifecycle from water to sky, and search for them using field guides and nets. 

Construction to Cottages. Fiddle Fest to Living Culture. Junior Ranger to Magic… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week!

Peruse our list below and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Featured learning highlight this week:  Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Double Edge Theatre at their “Celebrate Living Culture” event on Sunday afternoon, July 6. Located in Ashfield, Double Edge Theatre is a rich environment for both experiential learning and performance on 105 acres of historic buildings, forests, pastures and organic gardens. The afternoon includes an open house, tours, fun family activities, raffles, and an exhibition following the Theatre’s 20-year history. This is a great free opportunity to learn more about Double Edge Theatre, their theater philosophy, and explorations of their farm.


Local HistoryAnimal StudiesArchitectureMusic StudiesCulturePerformance ArtFarmingNature StudiesSTEMMagicEntomologyFamily Performances


Learn Local. Play Local is sponsored in part by:

North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens

Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events for July 5th-11th, 2014

Discover fun and educational events happening this week in western Massachusetts, along with announcements, upcoming events, links, resources and the HFVS podcast.

SUGGEST AN EVENT

“I use your Facebook updates and your regular emails to find things to do with my kids every week. We just moved to western Mass about a year ago . . . at one of our first trips to the park another mom told me about you, and I am so glad she did! I’d be lost as a SAHM otherwise.” – Barbara Smith (Greenfield, MA)

Suggest EventIf you have a community event, educational program or service opportunity for youth/families happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, self-post your event at any time on our “Suggest An Event” bulletin board. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, place, age appropriateness and costs before attending.

Enhanced PublicityServing Western Massachusetts since 2005, Hilltown Families supports development and enhancement of our local economy and community. Local businesses, individuals, schools and non-profits are encouraged to partner with Hilltown Families through sponsorship and advertising. Let us help get the word out about your after school/homeschool class, event, camp, workshop, fundraiser, business/school, service, open house, volunteer opportunity or general announcement. Deliver your message to thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families… help us help you! Click HERE to find out more.

BULLETIN BOARD

Jul 5-Aug 3

Stiltwalkers, puppets, masks, theater and storytelling make for magical performances under the stars at Ko Festival of Performance — July 5-August 3 in Amherst! KoFest’s 23rd season, on the Amherst College campus, presents five weeks of theater, 15 performances, two all-ages events, three intensive theater workshops, a Story Slam, and so much more. Special family events are Saturday, July 5 at 5:00 pm: Carpetbag Brigade’s outdoor acrobatic stilt extravaganza, “Callings.” And Sunday, July 20 at 8:00 pm, don’t miss Mettawee River Company’s “The Dancing Fox” wisdom tales from the Middle East, told through puppetry and masks. KoFest tickets $7-$20, online and at the Box Office: 413-542-3750. Visit: www.kofest.com or email: info@kofest.com

Jul 7-Aug 15

The Summer Spectacular Family Series at the Springfield Museums features great family entertainment every weekday, including fun art and science activities, live reptile demos and more, all free with museum admission! Great family shows every Wednesday – Friday, including the Tanglewood Marionettes on Thursdays, plus Grammy-nominated The Pop Ups, Mister G, and many others. There’s also Music in the Museums every Tuesday & Thursday for parents and kids age 0-5, plus the special Life Through Time exhibit of roaring, stomping mechanical dinosaurs and Ice-age mammals (extra fee). General admission is free on Friday, July 18 through the Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Friday program! Check www.springfieldmuseums.org for a full schedule.

Jul 10

Explore the amazing, up-close worlds of common animals—from butterflies and birds to frogs and flying squirrels—with award-winning photographer and writer David FitzSimmons at the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley on Thursday, July 10 at 11am. With the help of the audience, David will perform parts of his Curious Critters picture books. Children will shriek like hawks, hop like toads, and slither like snakes. Learn how butterflies drink, ways mammals fly, and why frogs sing. Show includes puppets and take-home activities for all children at this free event! If that weren’t already enough, staff from Mass Audubon’s Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary will share fun facts and artifacts from local critters, as well as a live turtle! www.odysseybks.com

Jul 9 – Aug 9

Join NCT Kids! this summer for 2 family-friendly musicals based on beloved children’s books. First up is Judith Viorst’s classic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day about a boy who is having the world’s worst day! Sing along with Alexander as he learns that everyone has a bad day every now and then but the great thing is…there’s always tomorrow! Next up it’s the rollicking, mischievous, off-the-wall adventures of SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole! Based on the bestselling book series about the Siamese kitten who thinks he’s a chihuahua super hero, SkippyJon Jones and the Cirque De Ole is a tuneful romp through the big-top of Skippy’s imagination. For tickets call 413-585-3220 or online www.newcenturytheatre.org

Amherst Montessori School is now enrolling children ages 12 months – 6th grade for Fall 2014. AMS fosters the natural self-construction, cognitive development, and social-emotional well-being of each child in programs that include music, art, practical life, outdoor time, PE and yoga. Spanish language exposure for ages 3-12, with an optional Spanish bilingual classroom for ages 3-6 (Casa de Niños). Afterschool programming includes options like private instrument lessons, theater, soccer, and band. Limited spaces available at all levels. Contact Laura Miller, Director of Admissions, at lmiller@amherstmontessori.org for more information. www.amherstmontessori.org

Circus Smirkus is coming to Northampton on July 29 & 30, and Hilltown Families is a proud premier sponsor! Find out how you can be our guests at one of the four shows taking place at the Three-County Fairgrounds! Subscribe to our eNewsletter and find out how you can enter for a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets with preferred seating! Best seats in the house will give our guests an opportunity to see the award-winning, international traveling youth circus up close during this exuberant & joyful two-hour show! Presented by North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens. For more info about the show, or to purchase tickets, visit www.northstarteens.org/circus-smirkus.

From the state where the American Revolution began, families can take part in the multitude of Fourth of July celebrations happening in western Massachusetts! On the eve for July 4th, you can catch fireworks in Easthampton or South Hadley, and then on Friday, July 4th, fireworks and parades take place across the region, from North Adams to Springfield (some with rain dates)! Check our post, 2014 Fourth of July Celebrations & Fireworks in Western Massachusetts, for all the details!

ADVERTISE HERE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your summer program, school, community event, open house, audition, homeschool program, workshop, volunteer opportunity, wellness program, local business or non-profit featured here in the Bulletin Board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and in our weekly eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how you can partner with Hilltown Families in your online marketing by emailing us at info@hilltownfamilies.org.

Become a Contributing WriterJOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Interested in becoming a Contributing or Guest Writer for Hilltown Families? We welcome writings that reflect the community building and educational efforts parents, teens, teachers, artists, activists and community leaders work towards and accomplish and how that affects, supports and empowers our families. All writing styles welcomed, including local reviews, DIY posts, seasonal cooking/local food, and community-based educational & community service learning opportunities/resources. Send your query to info@hilltownfamilies.org.


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
July 5th-11th, 2014

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter | Farmers’ Markets

Berkshire Family Fun

Read the rest of this entry »

Time Capsule: Extraordinary Exhibit Lifts Lid on Historical Education

Artifacts from a Historical “Time Capsule” Revealed at Old Sturbridge Village
Ongoing through Sunday, January 18, 2015

Hingham, Massachusetts., known as “Bucket Town” due to its prominence in the early New England coopering industry, was also the home of the first and largest community of professional toymakers in America.

Now through mid-January 2015, visitors to Old Sturbridge Village will have the opportunity to view artifacts from a recently-excavated workshop on the Hersey Family Farm in Hingham, MA.  The workshop spent a century undetected, hidden under vines on the historical farm property, before being discovered in 2008.  It had inadvertently become a time capsule, capturing the scene of an early twentieth century New England woodenware and toymaker’s workshop and lying undisturbed for decades.

The exhibit, Bucket Town: Four Centuries of Toymaking and Coopering in Hingham, is on view at Old Sturbridge Village’s Visitor Center Gallery for the next six months.  It contains objects from the Hersey Shop that have never before been seen by the public – an intriguing collection of tools, personal artifacts, and exquisite handicrafts – in addition to a generous selection of handcrafted toys and woodenware made by Hingham-based toymakers and coopers.

Read the rest of this entry »

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