Suggested Events for February 23rd – March 1st, 2013

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

SUGGEST AN EVENT

Need to shake off some of that cabin fever? Heather from Northampton says, “Fill up a thermos with hot soup and go cross country skiing at Notchview (Windsor, MA) with the family.” One of many recommendations from our post, 50 Winter Suggestions: Things to Do & Places to See in Western MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

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, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. 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. Click HERE to find out more.

BEST BETS

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am & 1pm in Hampden County – FAMILY CONCERT: SteveSongs is coming to the Springfield Museum for a family concert sure to get the kids dancing way! A “meet and greet” will follow each concert. Check out these videos to get ready for next weekend. Springfield, MA ($)

Saturday, February 23rd from 10am-4pm in Berkshire County – WINTERFEST: City of North Adams’ 16th Annual WinterFest will have your family shaking of cabin fever! All of downtown will turn into a winter fun-land with activities happening all day, including horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculptures, culinary delights, ice skating and many performances. 413-664-6180. Downtown. North Adams, MA (FREE)

Winter Bucket ListSaturday, February 23rd at 11am in Hampshire County – FAMILY CONCERT: The Northampton Community Music Center presents the Deedle Deedle Dees in concert at the Eric Carle Museum!  An educational rock band, the Deedle Deedle Dees sing about science, history, and everything in between, making their fun, catchy songs educational as well as entertaining.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA. ($)

Saturday, February 23rd at 11am in Franklin County – LUAU: Kids got cabin fever?  Pretend it’s summer for just a day – Chandler’s Restaurant is hosting a luau for kids!  Families can order lunch and enjoy special Hawaiian-themed food and drinks, as well as crafts, games, and Hawaiian music!  Reservations suggested.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA. ($)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Friday-Sunday, March 1st-3rd: WINTER CARNIVAL: The Holyoke Winter Carnival spans three days!  There will be a free luminaria event, ice skating, dog show, domino tournament, firemen’s hockey benefit, family movie night, chili cook-off, pancake breakfast, cake decorating contest, and spaghetti dinner featuring Zydeco Connection.  413-244-6766. Holyoke, MA 

Saturday, March 2nd from 10am-3pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURES: Family Day at the Smith College Museum of Art.  Try your hand at several art projects inspired by fisherman, fireworks, flowers, and more on view in the Collecting Art of Asia exhibition.  Smith students will lead families with kids ages 4yo+ in projects, have snacks available and be on hand to assist.  Elm Street At Bedford Terrace. Smith College Museum of Art. Northampton, MA (FREE)

BULLETIN BOARD

Feb 24

Purim Justice Fair, co-sponsored by Congregation Bnai Israel and Beit Ahavah, will be held Sunday, February 24, from 3:30-5:30pm at Beit Ahavah, 130 Pine St, Florence. This family-oriented Purim Festival is for all ages. Festivities will include spirited singing, interactive games and booths including face-painting, bingo, palm reading, blackjack, bowling and ring-toss. All proceeds (suggested donations $3-$5) from the event will go to support local and international social justice and environmental causes. Please bring canned food for a sculpture activity to donated to Northampton Survival Center. Bring homemade humantaschen to share to take part in our humantaschen bake-off contest. Come in costume! Contact: rabbijacob@cbinorthampton.org

Beginning Feb 25

FMC Ice Sports offers a fun and unique learning environment for all ages. Participants in our Step 1 Learn to Skate programs are taught the basics of ice skating without relying on skating aids. This method of teaching increases a skater’s independence on the ice and encourages their learning of balance and maneuverability. Students eventually graduate to our Step 2 and Step 3 programs that focus on the more sport specific skills required in hockey and figure skating. FMC Ice Sports programs can be found at the Smead Arena in Springfield and the Collins Moylan Arena in Greenfield. Class information and registration are available online at www.fmcicesports.com or by calling 1-888-74-SKATE.

March

Snow Farm: The New England Craft Program in Williamsburg, MA is offering half-day Saturday workshops in March for students ages 13+. Try flameworking (glass beads and small sculpture), ceramics, digital printing on alternative surfaces, or stained glass with upcycled materials. A great parent/teen opportunity – or some creative alone time for mom or dad. Our instructors are fun, encouraging, and wildly talented. Our studios in a historic New England farm setting are comfortable and professionally equipped. Treat yourself! www.snowfarm.org/intergenerational-workshops.html. 413-268-3101. info@snowfarm-art.org.

Guess what’s growing in Pelham? A Preschool! One of the Valley’s pre-eminent elementary schools is growing to include a preschool in the fall of 2013! Pelham Elementary is renowned for its MCAS scores, respected for its staff, and revered for its reputation of being a caring, nurturing place for our youth. Open to residents of all towns, with a number of slots reserved for Pelham residents. Full day program, hours and prices competitive. Options for before and after school care. Make your child’s first experience in the world of education one to grow on. For details call 413-362-1101 or email Principal Lisa Desjarlais at desjarlaisl@arps.org.

ADVERTISE YOUR EVENT OR OPEN HOUSE: Reach thousands of families in Western MA while supporting the community development work of Hilltown Families! See your community event, open house, auditions, afterschool class, homeschool program, workshop, school, wellness program or business featured here in the bulletin board section of our list of Weekly Suggested Events and eNewsletter, reaching thousands of families living throughout the four counties of Western MA! Find out more about our enhanced publicity packages and options and how we can help with your online marketing by emailing us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com.

Advertise your Summer Camp with Hilltown FamiliesMARKET YOUR SUMMER CAMP: In an effort to connect families with summer camps & programs in the region, Hilltown Families is offering camps and programs a chance to partner with us in their online marketing with a special enhanced publicity offer.  On Sunday, March 24th, Hilltown Families will be featuring camps in the region on Hilltown Families with a special post titled: 2013 Summer Camps and Programs in Western MA.  Find out more about our marketing package and early bird discounts HERE.

The Amherst Toy Library is now opening!  Offering free toy rentals for children up to 8 years old!  Located on the 2nd floor of the Bangs Community Center in downtown Amherst, the Toy Library is open Wed & Thurs from 11am-1pm and Fridays from 9am-12noon.  Donation of new or gently used toys (puzzles, games, block, etc) are needed, but not stuffed animals or cloth toys.  If you’d like to donate or volunteer, contact Randa or Shangzhu at amhersttoylibrary@gmail.com

Allison Scott, Youth Action Coalition Programs Liaison writes: “GirlsEyeView (GEV) offers a supportive and creative space for young women to express themselves through photography & creative writing, free of charge. We write stories & poems, share our ideas about important issues, & laugh! GEV exhibits work several times a year in our schools & in community spaces. In Ware, we create color and b&w photos using digital cameras & Photoshop. Our program is open to girls in middle & high school as well as those who are not in school. We meet Mon & Wed from 2:30-5pm at Ware Jr/Sr High School. In Amherst, we shoot with black & white film & manual cameras, & develop our prints in the darkroom. We’re open to 7th-9th grade girls & we meet Tues & Thurs from 2:30-5pm at Amherst Regional High School.”  www.youthactioncoalition.org


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
February 23rd-March 1st, 2013

SaturdaySunday
MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFriday

Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

“The Springfield Museums always have a family friendly exhibit!” – Ellen Rustico (Goshen, MA)

6-10am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) offers 4-hours of commercial-free family programing every Saturday, including the Hilltown Family Variety Show and Spare the Rock. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org.

Hilltown Family Variety Show9-10am – HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW: Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. - Mama Doni celebrates the Jewish holiday of Purim as a guest DJ with a fun mix of songs like “I Ate Too Many Hamantashen” by Mindy Kornberg, Mama Doni’s original tunes “Kooky Cookie,”  to Andy Statman & Bella Fleck’s beautiful instrumental, “Purim.” Celebrating the universal theme of Purim: standing up to adversity, having a voice, self empowerment, Mama Doni shares classic songs of strength like “I Will Survive” and Get Up Stand Up” by Bob Marley. As always, special guest appearances from Mama Doni’s own children who share their favorite  thing sbaout Purim! This unique Radio Show will give listeners a flavor of Purim –  from the fun and crazy, to the history and traditions of this Jewish holiday.  -Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9am-5pm – BOTANY: The Amherst Orchid Society’s annual orchid show takes place this weekend at Smith Vocational High School.  Kids can  view a wide variety of orchids – there will be blossoms of all sizes and colors, and families will be able to learn about the proper care for growing orchids at home, as well as the interesting facts about orchids’ unique cycle of growth, how they are pollinated by insects and their amazing beauty.  80 Locust Street.  Northampton, MA. (>$)

9:30am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Old Sturbridge Village to celebrate Black History Weekend, the village’s educational celebration of Black History Month.  The event will include a performance by historical reenactor Tammy Denease as Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who bought freedom for herself and her son and went on to be a very successful fashion designer and clothing maker.  Along with the usual opportunities to learn about 19th century life in New England, families will learn about the history of race issues and the use of slavery in early America.  Perfect for students studying American history!  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

10am-4pm – LIBRARY ADVENTURES/MINI GOLF: The Berkshire Athenaeum has been transformed into a multi-story mini golf course!  Spend the day putting around the bookshelves as part of Berkshire Gas’ Links for Literacy Mini Golf Classic!  413-499-9480.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA. (>$)

10am-4pm – WINTER FESTIVAL: Celebrate winter at North Adams’ annual Winterfest celebration!  There will be activities, events, and performances all day long in downtown North Adams – families can watch ice sculptures be made, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, taste entries in the chowder competition, and finish the day with a skating party at the ice rink! 413-664-6180.  North Adams, MA.  (FREE)

10:30am – PUPPETS: The Four Story Players bring puppet performances of classic children’s tales to the Jones Library!  Local puppeteer Tom Knight and his accompanying music ensemble will share Peter and the Wolf and other stories.  413-259-3091.  43 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

11am – FAMILY CONCERT: The Northampton Community Music Center presents the Deedle Deedle Dees in concert at the Eric Carle Museum!  An educational rock band, the Deedle Deedle Dees sing about science, history, and everything in between, making their fun, catchy songs educational as well as entertaining.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA. ($)

11am – LOCAL HISTORY: Learn about the changes that Williamstown’s Main Street has undergone throughout its existence this morning at the Williamstown Historical Museum!  Once mostly a residential neighborhood, downtown Williamstown has become the commercial hub of the town.  Kids can learn about how their community has evolved, and will be able to put what they know about American history into a specific, locally-centered context.  413-458-2160.  1095 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

11am – LUAU: Kids got cabin fever?  Pretend it’s summer for just a day – Chandler’s Restaurant is hosting a luau for kids!  Families can order lunch and enjoy special Hawaiian-themed food and drinks, as well as crafts, games, and Hawaiian music!  Reservations suggested.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA. ($)

11am – FAMILY MOVIE: The Lee Library screens Peter Pan this morning!  413-243-0385.  100 Main Street.  Lee, MA.  (FREE)

11am – THEATER: Berkshire Theater Group presents Pinnochio at the Berkshire Museum!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission) 

11am and 1pm – FAMILY CONCERT: PBS Kids’ singer-songwriter Mr. Steve will perform at the Springfield Museums today!  Kids can sing and dance along to their favorite Mr. Steve songs, and a meet-and-greet will follow each show.  Visit the museums’ exhibit, GUITAR: The Instrument that Rocked the World after the show to learn more about the instrument essential to Mr. Steve’s music!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am-12noon – SCIENCE: The Berkshire Museum shares secrets of kitchen science this morning at Kitchen Ka-Boom!  The monthly program focuses on a different fun and safe science activity that can be done using basic, everyday materials found in most kitchens.  Participants will learn about basic scientific principles of chemistry, biology, or physics.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am-3pm - CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Celebrate Purim with the Springfield JCC!  Today’s Purim Carnival will include lots of games, prizes, food, and fun activities for families.  Open to all families, the event is a great opportunity to have fun and learn about the holiday of Purim!  413-739-4715.  1160 Dickinson Street.  Springfield, MA.  ($)

11am-3pm – CREATIVE FREE PLAY: The Berkshire Museum and Pop-up Adventure Play offer families a special opportunity for creative free-play throughout (and just before) school vacation week!  10 Days of Play brings a roomful (literally!) of materials to build anything a child’s heart desires – cardboard boxes abound, along with necessary items like scissors and duct tape.  Families can build castles, mazes, space ships, and other fantastic creations together, allowing kids to exercise their creativity, take part in non-commercialized educational play, and work on skills for cooperation and collaboration.  Kids can play at the museum multiple times, too- every day brings a new adventure.  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am – LITERATURE: Odyssey Bookshop hosts a Grimm’s Fairytale-themed party for kids with Ruth Sanderson!  413-534-7307.  9 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

12noon – FILM: The Academy of Music presents Youthfilm 2013, a screening of short films produced by local youth!  Kids interested in experimenting with film can gain confidence in their abilities by seeing what other young people have produced, and will see the magnitude of what kids can create!  274 Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  (<$)

1pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Join the Berkshire Natural Resources Council for an afternoon of outdoor winter fun at Alford Springs!  Bring a lightweight sled and hike up a trail, enjoy the view, then sled back down.  413-499-0596.  Mountain Road.  Alford, MA.  (FREE)

1-4pm – TEEN:/NATURE STUDIES The Quabbin Reservoir is home to a wide variety of different types of wildlife!  Teens ages 16 and older are invited to participate in an intergenerational workshop on animal tracking today at the reservoir with Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary, Northfield Mountain and the Hitchcock Center!  Participants will learn what to look for when searching for animal signs, and will learn about looking for other clues to help interpret signs.  Registration required.  413-256-6006.  Belchertown, MA.  ($$)

3pm – THEATER: The Shea Theater presents Alice in Wonderland, performed by the New Renaissance Players.  413-863-2281.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  ($)

3pm & 8pm – MUSICAL: Miss Hall’s School Theater Ensemble performs a creative adaptation of Happy Days!  Based on the TV series, students will perform in the Wood Theater of the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center on the school campus.  413-395-7108. 492 Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA ($)

3:30pm – CHILDREN’S THEATER: Wondrous Tales of Old Japan – a collection of four short Japanese Kabuki-style folktales – takes the stage at the Williston Northampton School this week!  Students will perform the kid-friendly show every afternoon this week, in special arrangement with Plays for Young Children.  Takes place in the Williston Theater.  413-529-3207.  18 Payson Avenue.  Easthampton, MA.  ($)

4pm – VARIETY SHOW: Fill your belly with homemade soup and bread and enjoy an evening of local community members performing music, stories, and comedy!  The Music Fills the Pantry Variety Show takes place at the 1st Congregational Church of Shelburne’s Fellowship Hall and raises money for two West County food pantries.  Great food and fun for an even better cause!  Admission is $5 or 5 non-perishable items.  Little Mohawk Road.  Shelburne, MA.  (<$)

6pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Purimspiel Beach Boy Style. Everyone is welcome to celebrate Purim Beach Boy Style! Dig out your Hawaiian shirts and join in for a fun evening. Hevreh of Southern Berkshire. 413-528-6378. 270 State Road. Great Barrington, MA (Free)

6:15-8:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Purim Circus Party with Megillah Reading. This family-oriented Purim Party will include a megillah reading interspersed with loony entertainment.  The party will include a rockin’ band, amazing jugglers, poi-spinners, walk-around magic, a joke contest and a costume parade.  Refreshments will be served.  Adults and kids please come in costume. 413-584-3593. Congregation B’nai Israel. 253 Prospect St. Northampton, MA (FREE)

6:30pm - OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Venture outdoors after dark on a moonlight hike at the Graves Farm Wildlife Sanctuary!  Bring snowshoes and/or a headlamp if you’d like, and join in exploring the mile-long Graves Brothers trail and Nonnie Day Brook.  413-268-7523.  Adams Road. Haydenville, MA.  (FREE)

6:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Mask-making and Purimspiel. At 6:30, join Congregation Beth Israel to decorate masks (for those who don’t have costumes — or those who do!), and at 7 transition into enjoying a Purim Play, which will feature a creative and fun retelling of the Purim story along with a few verses from the megillah. All ages welcome! Dessert will follow the Purimspiel — feel free to bring cookies if you have some to share. Congregation Beth Israel. 53 Lois Street. North Adams, MA (Free)

6:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Megillah Reading. Costume Parade & Family Friendly Frolick from 6:30pm.  Megillah reading primarily in Hebrew for adults begins at 7:15pm.  Bring your own grogger, noisemaker or box of macaroni to shake. Open to the community. At the Jewish Community of Amherst. 413-256-0160. 742 Main Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)

7pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Celebrate Purim with Megillah Madness at LYA!  The event will begin with the reading of the megilla, and will also include a performance from Maggie the Clown, as well as Purim treats.  Kids will learn about the Jewish holiday of Purim!  1148 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  (FREE)

7:45pm -CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Community Purim Celebration. Come one, come all to a Purim masquerade!  Put your best face on ‘cuz there will be prizes for creative costumes. Hear the megillah, snack on delicious (and kid-friendly) hors d’ouvres, and be amazed by Tomm Magician.  Havdala at 7:45pm, Megillah at 8pm, followed by the magic show. Sponsored by Chabad House in Amherst, MA.   413-549-4803. Event held at the Holiday Inn Express on Route 9. Hadley, MA ($$)

7-9pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Notchview is open tonight for moonlight skiing!  Enjoy the beautiful scenery and what’s left of the blizzard snow in the 3,000 acres of terrain that Notchview offers.  There will be cider and popcorn to fill hungry bellies post-ski.  413-684-0148.  Old Route 9.  Windsor, MA.  ($)

8pm – THEATER: Spring production at Bay Path College: Steel Magnolias, directed by Fred Sokol. The quintessential story of friendship and trust, Steel Magnolias serves up a southern slice of life. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they share each moment in their lives with grace, determination and perfectly coiffed hair. When tragedy strikes, it is to the familiar comfort of Truvy’s salon that the characters converge for solace and support. This is a terrific show for the entire family.  413-565-1307. Mills Theatre, Carr Hall. Longmeadow, MA ($)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

8pm – CONCERT: Vocalist Angelique Kidjo – Grammy-award winning West African music superstar – performs at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center tonight!  Kidjo’s music is influenced by numerous styles from around the world, the most evident of those being the traditional styles of her native Benin.  413-528-0100.  14 Castle Street.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($$$)

8pm – CONCERT: Enjoy an evening of great music from around the globe as the Colonial Theater hosts International Guitar Night!  The event – a mobile festival of acoustic guitar – features acoustic guitar players from around the world.  413-997-4444.  111 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  ($$)

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Sunday, February 24th, 2013

“The Cyr Skating Arena (Springfield, MA) is one of my families favorite places to go in the winter. They have ice skating sessions open to the public and very affordable. And you can bring your own skates or rent some there. It is located in Forest Park in Springfield, the same place as Bright Nights.” – Heather Houghton-Smith (East Longmeadow, MA)

Hilltown Family Variety Show7-8am – FAMILY RADIO: Valley Free Radio (WXOJ-LP 103.3FM Northampton, MA) airs encores the Hilltown Family Variety Show every Sunday morning. commercial-free family radio. Tune in on your FM dial, or listen live via streaming audio at www.valleyfreeradio.org. Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9:30am-4pm – HISTORY: Visit Old Sturbridge Village to celebrate Black History Weekend, the village’s educational celebration of Black History Month.  The event will include a performance by historical reenactor Tammy Denease as Elizabeth Keckly, a former slave who bought freedom for herself and her son and went on to be a very successful fashion designer and clothing maker.  Along with the usual opportunities to learn about 19th century life in New England, families will learn about the history of race issues and the use of slavery in early America.  Perfect for students studying American history!  800-733-1830.  1 Old Sturbridge Village Road.  Sturbridge, MA.  ($)

10am-12noon - OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Start your day out with a snowshoe trek at the Bullitt Reservation!  The Trustees of Reservations will lead the adventure through the woods and fields of the beautiful reservation.  BYO snowshoes or rent for an extra charge.  413-532-1631.  332 Bullitt Road.  Ashfield, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Amherst Orchid Society’s annual orchid show takes place this weekend at Smith Vocational High School.  Kids can  view a wide variety of orchids – there will be blossoms of all sizes and colors, and families will be able to learn about the proper care for growing orchids at home, as well as the interesting facts about orchids’ unique cycle of growth, how they are pollinated by insects and their amazing beauty.  80 Locust Street.  Northampton, MA. (>$)

11am – KIDS’ CONCERT: Shiprock and Anchor Dog present their exciting story of two intrepid pups’ epic journey in concert at the Rocky Hill Community House this morning!  The band uses pop-rock style music to bring a story to life – kids will follow the two dogs through deserts, across rivers, and through forests while learning about friendship, perseverance, and the spirit of adventure.  100 Black Birch Trail.  Northampton, MA.  (<$)

11am - CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Purim Carnival.  Dress like a queen, twirl a grogger, nibble a hamantashen.  Playful and educational activity booths for ages 3-12.  Attendees who come in costume, bring BoxTops for Education, or bring food for the Amherst Survival Center will receive an extra shekel for prizes.  All children must be accompanied by an adult. Proceeds go to the JCA Children’s Fund. At the Jewish Community of Amherst. 413-256-0160. 742 Main Street. Amherst, MA. ($)

11am-12noon: NATURE STUDIES: Mount Tom State Reservation hosts the family program, Signs of the Season.  Use your senses to discover what Mother Nature is up to these days with indoor activities and outdoor exploration.  Dress for the weather, ice or mud. Meet inside the Bray Lake Warming Hut. 413-584-6788. 125 Reservation Rd. Holyoke, MA (FREE)

11:30am – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Purim Carnival Hollywood. Join in for JCC Goes Hollywood at the annual community-wide Purim Carnival.  Come dressed in costume and enjoy inflatables, games, prizes, food and more. Springfield JCC. 1160 Dickinson Street. Springfield, MA (>$)

2pm – CONCERT: The Johnny Bean Brook Band performs this afternoon at the Meekins Library!  The group was formed by their participation in Silvery Moon, Golden Slippers, a mentorship program for young musicians.  413-268-7473.  2 Williams Street.  Williamsburg, MA.  (FREE)

2pm – VARIETY SHOW: The Really Big Show, the Pioneer Valley’s very own Ed Sullivan show, takes place at the Academy of Music Theatre.  Monte from The River will MC and the show will include a variety of talent, including s contortionists, poets, jugglers, opera stars, comedians, child prodigies, animal acts and many other forms of entertainment.  1-800-838-3006. 274 Main Street. Northampton, MA ($)

2pm – THEATER: Spring production at Bay Path College: Steel Magnolias, directed by Fred Sokol. The quintessential story of friendship and trust, Steel Magnolias serves up a southern slice of life. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they share each moment in their lives with grace, determination and perfectly coiffed hair. When tragedy strikes, it is to the familiar comfort of Truvy’s salon that the characters converge for solace and support. This is a terrific show for the entire family.  413-565-1307. Mills Theatre, Carr Hall. Longmeadow, MA ($)

3pm – MUSICAL: Miss Hall’s School Theater Ensemble performs a creative adaptation of Happy Days!  Based on the TV series, students will perform in the Wood Theater of the Elizabeth Gatchell Klein Arts Center on the school campus.  413-395-7108. 492 Holmes Road. Pittsfield, MA ($)

3pm – THEATER: The Shea Theater presents Alice in Wonderland, performed by the New Renaissance Players.  413-863-2281.  71 Avenue A.  Turners Falls, MA.  ($)

3:30-5:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Purim Justice Fair. This family-oriented Purim Festival is for all ages.  Festivities will include spirited singing, interactive games and booths including facepainting, bingo, palm reading, blackjack, bowling and ring-toss.  All proceeds from the event will go to support local and international social justice and environmental causes.  Please bring canned food for a sculpture activity with all food being donated to the Northampton Survival Center.  Bring some homemade hamantaschen to share if you want to take part in our hamantaschen bake-off contest and, by all means, come in costume. Beit Ahavah. 130 Pine Street (in Florence Congregational Church). Florence, MA (>$)

4pm – CONCERT: So Percussion Ensemble performs at Mt. Holyoke’s McCulloch Auditorium this afternoon.  The group is made up of classically trained musicians whose innovative style of music re-defines modern percussion performance.  College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

5:30pm – CULTURAL STUDIES/PURIM: Celebrate Purim with LYA!  The fun, family-friendly event is called, “Purim on a Shtetl,” and will include a traditional four-course feast, as well as live music and dancing and a petting zoo of critters from the Zoo at Forest Park.  Families can learn about Purim traditions at the event and will get to celebrate amongst community members!  413-567-8555.  1148 Converse Street.  Longmeadow, MA.  ($)

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Monday, February 25th, 2013

6-7pm – KNITTING: The Pelham Library is hosting parent-child knitting classes with WEBS knitting instructor, Annie Foley!  The classes will take place on Monday evenings through March 18th.  Registration required, space is limited.  413-253-0657.  2 South Valley Road.  Pelham, MA.  (FREE)

6-7:30pm – COMMUNITY SERVICE: We all have unique talents and skills, but sometimes there’s a skill or knowledge base we end up wishing we had – like fixing a bicycle or de-bugging a computer hard drive.  Chances are, there’s someone in the community who does know how to do it – and by participating in the Valley Time Trade, you might be able to find that person!  Learn more about the time trade tonight at Food For Thought Books – participants offer to share their time and skills with others in exchange for Time Dollars, which can be cashed in for service from others.  Sponsored by Transition Amherst.  413-253-5432.  106 North Pleasant Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR MONDAYS (As always, please confirm before heading out to these suggestions.)

  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the MN Spear Memorial Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013! 413-259-1213. 10 Cooleyville Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Williamstown Youth Center! Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires. 413-458-5925. 270 Cole Avenue. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am-12:20pm – ICE SKATING: Smead Arena offers a public skating session this morning – great for families with kids who are still learning to skate, daytime skating sessions offer low-key and less crowded ice time. Open ice times take place at the same time Monday-Friday. 413-781-2599. 1780 Roosevelt Avenue. Springfield, MA. (<$)
  • 11am – 12:30pm – SUPPORT GROUP: There is a new MotherWoman group forming in the Hilltowns! Today is the first meeting, which will take place at St. John’s Corner. The support group is for pregnant and postpartum mothers, and childcare is available for kids up to age 4. Meetings will be weekly. 413-625-6948. 469 Main Street. Ashfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 2:30-4pm – PLAYGROUP: Toddler group (siblings welcomed) at Shima Boutique. 413-346-1055. 65 Main St. North Adams, MA (FREE)
  • 2:30-5pm – TEEN/TWEEN: Meekins Library’s Teen/Preteen Time takes place this afternoon! Teens can visit the library to hang out with friends, work on homework, play games, use computers, and check out awesome new books, movies, and music. 413-268-7473. 2 Main Street. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE)
  • 3:30-4:30pm – BREAK DANCE: Learn to break like a b-boy! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly break dance class, taught by Joshua McHugh, accomplished dancer and dance teacher. 413-499-9348. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – ANIME: The Springfield Central Library hosts Anime and Manga Club on Monday afternoons! Kids enthusiastic about the popular Japanese style of animation and cartooning can visit the library to read new manga and watch great anime! 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7pm – SCRABBLE: Enjoy an evening of friendly Scrabble at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center! Open to anyone ages 8+, the game night offers families an opportunity to practice fair play and basic sportsmanship while allowing kids to expand their spelling, vocabulary, and basic practical math skills. Sponsored by Bobbie Halig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6-7pm – MUSIC: Learn to drum, Afro-Carribbean style! The Lichtenstein Center for the Arts offers a weekly drum class, lead by Aimee Gelinas of Gaia Roots. Drums available to borrow. 28 Renne Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ($) ♦
  • 6-8pm – BIRTH CIRCLE: Gathered Resources of Women (GROW) offers a drop in support group for pregnant women and their support team to explore the different aspects of pregnancy, birth and postpartum. Hosted at Shima Boutique. 413-346-1055. 65 Main St. North Adams, MA (FREE)
  • 7pm – MOTHER SUPPORT: MotherWoman bi-monthly meetings at Cradle, 3rd floor of Thornes Marketplace. 413-341-5282. Main Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE)
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. Runs through 11/12. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

3:30-4:30pm – ART: Quilt maker Susan Boss, current exhibitor at the Easthampton City Arts+ Gallery, invites youth ages 8yo+ to a Fabric Collage Workshop at Flywheel.  Boss will facilitate a workshop using fabric and fabric bonding techniques. Participants will create a wall hanging using contrast, texture, pattern and color, color, color! All are encouraged to bring scissors and a good imagination. No prior experience or sewing necessary. Materials will be provided. Register for this event easthamptoncityarts.com.  43 Main Street. Easthampton, MA (FREE)

4pm – READING: Read and review a book at the Forest Park Library!  Families can use a star system to evaluate the books they’ve read, and future patrons will be able to use the rankings to choose great books to read!  413-263-6843.  380 Belmont Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

4pm – HISTORY: Learn about the life and accomplishments of WEB Du Bois at UMass’ 19th annual Du Bois Lecture!  Arthur McFarlane II, great-grandson of WEB Du Bois, will speak about his great-grandfather’s accomplishments as a civil rights activist and what it means for us today.  Older students studying American history and/or the Civil Rights Movement will learn useful and interesting information about a significant figure from the Civil Rights Movement, and will also learn to put what they’ve learned into a modern context.  Takes place at St. John’s Congregational Church.  413-545-6842.  643 Union Street.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

5:30-8pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Toilet training can be difficult – attend a workshop to learn some tips, tricks, and strategies for successful potty training!  “Toileting Tips” is a workshop provided by the Community Network for Children, and will take place at Shutesbury Elementary School.  Dinner and childcare provided.  Registration required.  978-544-5157.  23 West Pelham Road.  Shutesbury, MA.  (FREE)

6:30-8pm – AFRO-CUBAN DANCE: Learn Afro-Cuban dances that have roots in the Congo and Nigeria accompanied by live drumming and traditional rhythms at Berkshire South Regional Community Center with Miguel Periche from Holguin, Cuba.  Class is sponsored by Berkshire Pulse Center for the Performing Arts.   15 Crissey Rd. Great Barrington, MA ($$)

7pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Older students can learn about spotted salamanders at the Hitchcock Center. Ted Watt will explain their life cycles and adaptations and review the history of the tunnels they migrate through under Henry Street. Registration required. 413-256-6006.  525 South Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)

ONGOING FOR TUESDAYS (As always, please confirm before heading out to these suggestions.)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: At Farmington River Preschool for kids 5 and under, sponsored by the Community Health Coalition. 413-664-0104. 555 North Main Road. Otis, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: The Westfield Library hosts storytime for kids 6 months – 3 years today. Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: It’s Baby Day at the South Hadley Family Center! 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Berkshire Athenaeum! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: At the Dickinson Library! 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11am - PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a mother’s group for Spanish-speaking moms at Brightwood Health Center. 413-796-8365. 380 Plainfield Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Preschool playgroup learning experiences at the Haskins Center! Takes place on the lower level. 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: At the Greenfield Library. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am – STORYTIME: At the Lanesborough Library! Stories, crafts, and music for all ages. 413-499-5981. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15am-12:15pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a Postpartum Support Group for mothers. The group is a safe space for those adjusting to motherhood and is lead by trained facilitators. Takes place at Berkshire Children and Families. Childcare available. 413-253-8990. 220 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Visit the Great Falls Discovery Center for Kidleidescope, an environment-themed program for kids! Interactive learning opportunities and crafts always included. 413-863-3221. 2 Avenue A. Turners Falls, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library’s preschool storytime takes place this morning. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: The Lenox Library offers storytime for kids 18 months-3 years. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-5pm – PARENT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a support group for young mothers and expecting women between the ages of 13 and 19. Group meetings are held bi-weekly and are drop-in. Babies welcome! Takes place at Mercy Care Holyoke. 413-886-0410. 306 Race Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE)
  • 4pm – READING: Do you ever wish that you could recommend your favorite books to other library visitors? The Forest Park Branch Library invites Forest Park Reads, a special series where families can read new books (or chapters of books) and then rate them using a star system so that other library visitors can choose great new things to read! Takes place on the fourth Tuesday of each month. 413-263-6843. 380 Belmont Avnue. Springfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 5:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the gym at the Abbot School. 56 North Country Road. Florida, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 6:30pm – BREASTFEEDING: The La Leche League of North/Central Berkshires meets every third Tuesday at The Montessori School of the Berkshires. 21 Patterson Road. Lenox Dale, MA. (FREE)
  • 6:30-8pm – MUSIC: The Berkshire South Regional Community Center hosts a free ukulele group tonight! Beginners and kids without any knowledge of music reading can join in – the class will teach basic chord progressions and styles of playing from around the world. Registration requested but drop-in is OK. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

10am – PARENT WORKSHOP: The Family Place is offering parents a workshop on setting and achieving goals – attend to learn some skills and strategies for working towards accomplishments, both personal and for the whole family.  Registration required.  413-664-4821.  61 Main Street.  North Adams, MA.  (FREE)

10am – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE: Most explorations in Great Barrington involve the charming downtown section, but Berkshire Natural Resources Council is offering the community a chance to explore the Housatonic Flate Reserve!  The 1.5 mile hike will follow flat farm roads through the field and woods of the reserve.  Meet at Barrington Brewery.  420 Stockbridge Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

10am – SIGN LANGUAGE: World Eye Bookshop hosts a special signing and reading event for kids ages 1-4.  Taught by Kathryn Petrucelli, the event will feature bedtime-themed stories (such as Good Night Moon) and will teach kids some basic sign language related to (and accompanying) the stories they read.  413-586-1971.  1 North Main Street, Suite 1.  Florence, MA.

6-8pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: The Collaborative for Educational Services is offering a 4-week workshop series on positive parenting solutions!  Titled, “The Puzzle of Parenting: Positive Solutions for Families,” the series will teach parents ways to strengthen relationships with children, ways to help children manage their emotions, strategies for responding to challenging behavior, and more.  Meets at the Plains School.  Dinner and childcare provided.  Registration required.  413-570-3061.  267 Granby Road.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR WEDNESDAYS (As always, please confirm before heading out to these suggestions.)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Palmer-Monson Family Network hosts infant and toddler play group! 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Bi-weekly in the community room at Becket Town Hall, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-664-0104. 65 Walker Street. Becket, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Lenox Community Center, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 65 Walker Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 9:30am or 1:30pm – STORYTIME: Fantastic Fours and Fives takes place today at the Westfield Library! Registration is required for storytime. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30 – PLAYGROUP: At the South Hadley Family Center. 413-533-7096. 7 Woodbridge Street. South Hadley, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:45-11:15am – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts, “Getting Real about Motherhood,” a support group designed to help mothers share the stress and adjustments of motherhood and work to find ways to feel renewed, valued, and energized. Takes place at the Amherst Family Center, in the basement of the Unitarian Society. Childcare available. 413-256-1145. 121 North Pleasant Street. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Wendell Free Library hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 978.544.5157. 7 Wendell Depot Road. Wendell, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Preschool storytime at the Westhampton Library! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am - PARENT GROUP: Enjoy coffee and a chat with other parents at the Westhampton Library – stop in after dropping kids off at school through the end of Sept.! 413-527-5386. 1 North Road. Westhampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Sunshine Storytime! 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – ART: The Norman Rockwell Museum hosts, “Creating Together: A Parent-Child Experience,” an art workshop featuring a gallery tour and hands-on art making. Each week brings a new theme and art style to explore. 413-298-4100. 9 Route 183 Stockbridge, MA. ($) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Erving Elementary School, hosted by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413- 423-3326. 18 Northfield Road. Erving, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: Hosted by the Mason Library – also includes stories, songs, and crafts. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the New Marlborough Library, sponsored by Community Health Programs. 413-644-0104. 1 New Marlborough-Great Barrington Road. New Marlborough, MA. (FREE)
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: At the Leverett Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-548-9220. 75 Montague Road. Leverett, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30: SINGING: Sing with Your Baby with Wendy happens at the Jones Library. For preK kids and younger, and their parents/caretakers. Takes place in the Woodbury Room. Runs through Dec. 18. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11-11:30am – STORYTIME: Toddler Time with Stephanie at the Forbes Library! 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – GYMNASTICS: Whip City Gym hosts homeschool open gymnastics! The event is not a formal class, but offers kids unstructured play time physical activity amongst true gymnastics equipment. Great for kids interested in gymnastics, dance, or cheerleading, and gym playtime can also help kids work on balance and coordination. Takes place through the school year. 413-569-3231. 320 College Highway. Southwick, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 1-3pm – CHESS: Drop-in chess games in the mezzanine at Forbes Library. All ages, BYO chess set or borrow one. Playing chess can help kids develop logic and analytical skills. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-4pm – PLAYGROUP: Toddler group (siblings welcomed) at Shima Boutique. 413-346-1055. 65 Main St. North Adams, MA (FREE)
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30pm – LEGOS: The Berkshire Athenaeum hosts LEGO Club on the third Wednesday of each month. Kids can use LEGOs to experiment with basic principles of architecture, physics, and design. 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. ♦ (FREE)
  • 3-5pm – MOVIE: The Mason Library screens classic films every Wednesday afternoon! The “Mason Matinee” is best for tweens/teens and adults – call to find out what’s playing. 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:30-4:30pm – STORYTIME: The Ramsdell Library hosts Time for Tots, and special story, craft, etc. time for littlest kiddos. 413-274-3738. 1087 Main Street. Housatonic, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 3:50-4:30pm – ICE SKATING: Visit Fitzpatrick Arena for an afternoon of skating! The rink offers daily public skating sessions at the same time, Monday-Friday. 413-532-2929. 575 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 4pm – CHESS: Visit the East Longmeadow Library for some afternoon chess! Playing chess can help kids develop analytical skills and logic. 413-525-5432. 60 Center Square. East Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 4-5pm – STORYTIME: At the Cushman Library! 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5:30-7:30pm – KNITTING: The Wednesday Night Knitters meet tonight at the Cushman Library! Knitters with any level of experience are welcome to join – bring a project to work on! No formal instruction is offered, but if help is needed, there will be many experienced knitters on hand. Great intergenerational opportunity for kids learning how to knit. 413-648-5402. 28 Church Street. Bernardston, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Sing your heart out with Berkshire Sings!, a community singing group at the Berkshire South Regional Community Center. Singers of all abilities welcome (adults, too) to sing pop, jazz, folk, showtunes, and more. Sponsored by Bobbie Hallig and Jenny and Adam Hersch. 413-528-2810. 15 Crissey Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7-8:30pm – TEEN: Visit Longmeadow High School for open gym time! Basketball equipment will be provided by the Longmeadow Rec Dept, and the event is open to anyone ages 13-20. 413-565-4163. 95 Grassy Gutter Road. Longmeadow, MA. ($) ♦

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Thursday, February 28th, 2013

12noon-12midnight: DANCE-A-THON: Dance away and raise money for It Takes a Village with a twelve hour dance-a-thon at the Cummington Community House.  Maureen Shea will provide music, mats for stretching, and props for the young and the not-so-young.  The dance floor will be open for all ages!  Come for ten minutes, stay for two hours: you choose.  Bring your sweeties or simply bring yourself. 413-634-5431. 33 Main Street. Cummington, MA (FUNDRAISER)

12:15pm – MARINE BIOLOGY: The Springfield Museums’ Museums a la Carte lecture today is all about coral reefs!  Sometimes called the rainforests of the ocean, reefs are unique environments that are home to a wide variety of plant and animal life.  Learn all about their fragile and fascinating existence today!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (<$)

3-4pm - TEEN/CRAFTS: Stop by the Westfield Athenaeum for an afternoon of crafting in the Teen Loft!  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – FILM: See HBO’s award-winning documentary, “The Weight of the Nation” tonight at Amherst Regional High School.  The film deals with the current issues of obesity, nutrition, and fitness in American society, and focuses on how certain cultural changes have contributed to these issues.  21 Matoon Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

ONGOING FOR THURSDAYS (As always, please confirm before heading out to these suggestions.)

12noon-1pm: PILATES: BYOBaby! A Pilates Mat Class for Moms and Babies – modified to accommodate for fussiness! Drop-in class with Anneliese Mordhorst at The Pilates Studio. 104 Russell St. 413-586-3504. Hadley, MA ($15/class)

  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: The Community Health Coalition hosts Toddler Steps Playgroup at the CHP building. 413-644-0104. 442 Stockbridge Road. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE)
  • 9:30 or 11am – STORYTIME: Westfield Athenaeum hosts Terrific Twos and Threes – storytime for kids ages 2 and 3! Registration required. 413-568-7833. 6 Elm Street. Westfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11am – PLAYGROUP: The Ludlow Community Center/Randall Boys and Girls Club hosts playgroup this morning, including snack, stories, playtime, music, and crafts. 413-583-3527. 488 Chapin Street. Ludlow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At the Belchertown Family Center! 413-283-7594. 720 Franklin Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: The Northampton Parents Center is open this morning! Thursday mornings feature music class at 11a with Felicia Sloin or Tom Knight (alternating weeks). Located in the basement of Edwards Church. 413-582-2636. Main and State Streets. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP/MUSIC CLASS: Northampton Parent Center is a drop-in Center for children (birth-K) and their caregivers. Thursday morning music classes will be from 11 to 11:30 am with Felicia Sloin and Tom Knight alternating weeks. Everyone is welcome. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of State and Main Streets in Northampton. Please use the back door and public parking. Northampton, MA (FREE)
  • 10am – PLAYGROUP: Music and Movement Group meets at the Millers Falls Library! 413-863-3214. 23 Bridge Street. Montague, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am – STORYTIME: Springfield Central Library hosts storytime for kiddos 6 months-3 years. 413-263-6828. 220 State Street. Springfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11am – SUPPORT GROUP: Longmeadow Rec Dept hosts a New Moms Group at the Greenwood Center! 413-794-5515. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by the Palmer-Monson Family Network. 413-283-6246. 4 Springfield Street. Three Rivers, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – TALES AND TUNES: At the New Salem Public Library, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013! 978-544-5157. 23 South Main Street. New Salem, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: At the Williston Memorial Library! Stories, snacks, and more. 413-529-1605. 9 Park Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: Preschool story time at the Jones Library in the Children’s Room. 413-259-3090. 43 Amity St. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Lenox Library offers storytime and crafts for kids 3-5 years old. 413-637-0197. 18 Main Street. Lenox, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – STORYTIME: At the Hatfield Library, just for preschoolers! 413-547-9237. 39 Main Street. Hatfield, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Baby group (siblings welcomed) at Shima Boutique. 413-346-1055. 65 Main St. North Adams, MA (FREE)
  • 11:30am-12:30pm – PLAYGROUP: Childcare of the Berkshires holds gym group at the Haskins Center! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 12noon-1pm: PILATES: BYOBaby! A Pilates Mat Class for Moms and Babies – modified to accommodate for fussiness! Drop-in class with Anneliese Mordhorst at The Pilates Studio. 104 Russell St. 413-586-3504. Hadley, MA ($15/class)
  • 1-3pm – PLAYGROUP: Baby playgroup at the Forbes Library! In the children’s room with Judy. 413-587-1011. 20 West Street. Northampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 1-2:30pm – SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a post-partum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old. Childcare available. Takes place at Midwifery Care of Holyoke. 413-534-2700. 230 Maple Street. Holyoke, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 2:30-6pm – TEEN: The Belchertown Teen Center is open this afternoon, offering a safe, drug-free, semi-supervised environment where kids can play games, socialize, watch movies, etc. 413-323-8728. 66 State Street. Belchertown, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 5-8pm – ART WALK: On the first Thursday of every month, the Amherst Art Walk takes place. Families can enjoy arts and culture, entertainment, shopping and dining. 28 Amity Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)
  • 6-10pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Visit the Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College! It’s home to a large variety of natural wonders, including the world’s largest collection of dinosaur tracks and lots of exhibits on local natural history. 413-542-2165. 11 Barrett Hill Road. Amherst, MA. (FREE)
  • 8pm – PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT: Sing some chanteys and bar songs at the Brewmaster’s Tavern- and order some food and drinks while you sing! Takes place on the first and third Thursdays of each month. 4 Main Street. 413-268-7741. Williamsburg, MA. (FREE) ♦

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Friday, March 1st, 2013

PAY IT FORWARD: Download a Kindness Calendar for March 2013

10:15am - MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Art museums can be a difficult place to visit with young children – there’s a lot of standing involved, and the quiet atmosphere isn’t always great for little ones.  However, The Clark is offering parents with small children a special opportunity to take a kid-friendly gallery tour!  Designed for parents with pre-toddlers (kiddos who can be carried in a backpack or pushed in strollers), the informal gallery talk will teach parents about one of the museum’s current exhibitions. 413-458-2303. 225 South Street. Williamstown, MA  (FREE with museum admission)

12noon-4pm – CULTURAL STUDIES: Have you ever wished that a book would converse with you, instead of just laying there waiting to be read?  What if checking out a book meant getting your questions answered rather than searching through pages?  Visit Williams College’s Human Library!  Instead of checking out books, patrons will check out actual people, who have been pre-designated to talk about specific topics – mainly based on unique life experiences.  Visitors to the library can check out their human books for 15-20 minutes each, and will be able to gain firsthand information from each interaction.  880 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

2:30-3:30pm – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: Meet some of Norman Rockwell’s models today at the Norman Rockwell Museum!  Learn about what it was like to pose for one of our country’s most famous illustrators.  413-298-4100.  9 Route 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

5-7:30pm – CHINESE NEW YEAR: The 7th grade at the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School is hosting a Chinese New Year Festival Fundraiser in their auditorium.  There will be games, food and entertainment.  Great Barrington, MA (FUNDRAISER)

7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Stars Over Springfield takes place tonight at the Springfield Museums’ observatory!  As long as weather conditions allow, the telescope will be open for viewing – families can take a peek at the night sky up close.  In case of bad weather, a planetarium show will be presented instead.  Hosted by the Springfield Stars Club, the event takes place on the first Friday of every month.  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (<$)

7:30-8:30pm – ASTRONOMY: See the night sky like never before at Williams College’s Milham Planetarium!  Students will teach visitors about what they see in the sky every night and the changes that take place as the seasons change.  413-527-9277.  829 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

8pm – THEATER: Spring production at Bay Path College: Steel Magnolias, directed by Fred Sokol. The quintessential story of friendship and trust, Steel Magnolias serves up a southern slice of life. From weddings to divorces, babies to funerals, new beginnings to happy endings, they share each moment in their lives with grace, determination and perfectly coiffed hair. When tragedy strikes, it is to the familiar comfort of Truvy’s salon that the characters converge for solace and support. This is a terrific show for the entire family.  413-565-1307. Mills Theatre, Carr Hall. Longmeadow, MA ($)

ONGOING FOR FRIDAYS (As always, please confirm before heading out to these suggestions.)

  • 9-10:30am – PLAYGROUP: In the gym at Shutesbury Elementary School, sponsored by the Community Network for Children through June 2013. 413-259-1212. 23 West Pelham Road. Shutesbury, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 9am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Drop-in playgroup at the Amherst Family Center. 413-545-0865. 428 Student Union Building (Campus Center Way). Amherst, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • F9:30-11:30am – PLAYGROUP: At Whole Children, for little ones up to age five. 37 Russell Street. Hadley, MA. (FREE)
  • 10am – MOVIE: The Berkshire Athenaeum shows short kids’ movies every Friday morning. Call to check what’s playing! 413-499-9480. 1 Wendell Avenue. Pittsfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Hosted by the Easthampton Family Center at the Flywheel space in the Old Town Hall building. 413-527-5496. Main Street. Easthampton, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10-11:30am - SUPPORT GROUP: MotherWoman hosts a postpartum support group for mothers with babies up to a year old at the Community Action Family Center. Childcare available. 413-475-1566. 90 Federal Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: On the first and third Fridays of each month, the YMCA of Greenfield hosts Jump Into Fitness playgroup! Lots of fun physical activity. Snack provided. 413-475-1543. 451 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:15-11am – STORYTIME: The Mason Library hosts Young Children’s Storytime this morning! 413-528-2403. 231 Main Street. Great Barrington, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: For little ones at the Pelham Library! 413-253-0657. 2 South Valley Road. Pelham, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30am – STORYTIME: The Monson Library’s baby group takes place this morning – kiddos ages 0-2 and their caregivers can visit for stories, songs, and playtime. 413-267-3866. 2 High Street. Monson, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 10:30-11:30am – STORYTIME: The Heath Library offers bi-weekly storytime throughout the fall. 413-337-4934. 1 East Main Street. Heath, MA. (FREE)
  • 11am – STORYTIME: Pre-school storytime at the Griswold Memorial Library! 413-624-3619. 12 Main Road. Colrain, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – PLAYGROUP: The Haskins Center hosts baby group! 413-664-4821. 210 State Street. North Adams, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am-12noon – PLAYGROUP: Sponsored by Childcare of the Berkshires in the community room at the Lanesborough Town Hall. 413-664-4821. 83 North Main Street. Lanesborough, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11am – AQUARIUM ADVENTURE: Meet an animal at the Berkshire Museum! Friends from the aquarium will be shared, and kids can learn all about them through stories and activities. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street. Pittsfield, MA. (<$) ♦
  • 11-11:40am – STORYTIME: The Greenfield Library hosts Mother Goose on the Loose, a special lap-sit story hour for kids under the age of 3. 413-772-1544. 402 Main Street. Greenfield, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 11-12:50: ICE SKATING: There will be an ice skating session at the Mullins Center for homeschoolers through June ’13. Some skate sessions can be bumped due to UMass ice hockey, so call to confirm before heading out. 413-230-6516. UMass Mullins Center. 200 Commonwealth Ave. Amherst, MA (>$)
  • 2:30-4pm – PLAYGROUP: Toddler group (siblings welcomed) at Shima Boutique. 413-346-1055. 65 Main St. North Adams, MA (FREE)
  • 7-10pm – TWEEN: Kids in grades 6-8 can enjoy a fun night out with friends at the Greenwood Center! Hosted by Longmeadow Rec Dept, the event features DJ dance music, and will be supervised by adults. Dress code is the same as school, and students must sign in before entering. Takes place on the second and fourth Friday of each month. 413-565-4163. 231 Maple Road. Longmeadow, MA. (FREE) ♦
  • 7:30pm – ASTRONOMY: Williams College’s Milham Planetarium offers free shows on Friday evenings! Using the planetarium’s Zeiss Skymaster, Williams students will teach visitors about all sorts of astronomical phenomena, including phases of the moon, retrograde planetary motion, varying colors/temperatures of stars, constellations and zodiac signs, and more! Reservations recommended but not required. 413-597-2188. 829 Main Street. Williamstown, MA. (FREE)
  • 8:30pm-12:30am – DANCE: Dance the night away at Dance Spree, a family-friendly, substance free, barefoot community night of dancing! Kids of all ages are welcome, but young children must be accompanied by adults. Takes place on the 4th floor of the Fitzwilly’s building. 25 Main Street. Northampton, MA. (<$) ♦

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