Suggested Events for March 9th-15th, 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

At the beginning of Maple Sugar Season last year we invited our readers to share with us how Maple Sugar Season gets their family outdoors and participating in the harvest with their community. We also invited them to share their favorite recipe that they like to make for/with their family breakfast/brunch hour. Check out what they had to share in our post, Seasons at Our Table: Maple Sugar.

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, March 9th from 9am-12pm in Hampshire CountyKIDS’ STUFF SWAP: Northampton Dept. of Public Works is holding a Kids’ Stuff Swap and Art Workshops, PopUp Artists’ Shop and Environmental Info table at Smith Vocational School. Pre-registration. 80 Locust St. Northampton, MA (FREE)

Saturday, March 9th from 10am-4:30pm in Franklin CountyHISTORY: Children in early New England had to work often to help their families survive – somehow, though, they still had time to play!  Visit Historic Deerfield today to learn about and try out many Colonial-era toys often enjoyed by children in early Deerfield.  Visitors can make their own toys to take home, and can even try on 18th-century clothing to see what they might have looked like as a child long ago.  413-775-7170.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

Sunday, March 10th from 11am-3pm in Hampden County – MAPLE HARVEST DAY: Storrowton Village Museum’s 8th annual Maple Harvest Day will showcase the history and lore of maple sugaring in the Gilbert Farmstead’s front yard with Sugar Maple tree tapping, sumac spile making and sap boiling over an open fire, to educate the public about the origin and legend of the tradition. Inside the historic home, docents will demonstrate 19th century open hearth cooking at the cozy kitchen fireplace as well as quilting and spinning wool. 413-205-5051. Eastern States Expo. West Springfield, MA (FREE)

Sunday, March 10th at 1pm in Berkshire CountyANIMAL STUDIES: Meet some real-life bats today at the Berkshire Museum!  The museum is currently hosting an exhibit all about bats, which features specimens of actual bats, but no live bats.  However, today some fruit bats, a big brown bat, and a Malayan flying fox will all pay a visit to the museum!  Families can learn all about what bats eat, where they live, and the fragility of their populations before meeting the live bats.  Not to be missed – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

BULLETIN BOARD

March 9

Piti Theatre presents 4th Annual SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival on Sat., March 9 at Memorial Hall in Shelburne Falls. Family show at 2pm with Piti’s “To Bee or Not to Bee,” leading U.S. mask artist Larry Hunt of Masque Theater, children’s mask parade, syrup tasting, free Real Pickles and more! Evening show at 7pm for ages 8+ with Masque Theater’s 20 mask variety show, juggling/comedy with national touring actor Jack Golden, brother-sister duo June and the Bee. Family show $5, Evening $12/$8 under 16. Fri., 3/8: paper pattern mask making workshop for grades K – 5, 4:30 – 5:30 pm at Mem. Hall. Children can be in next day’s mask parade. Sun. 3/9: Mask Movement for ages 15+ at Hart Yoga, 1-4pm. info@ptco.org, www.ptco.org/shows/syrup

RH Conwell SchoolRH Conwell Community School of Worthington, MA is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year with openings in all classes from Pre-K through 6th grade. Located in the heart of the Hilltowns of Western MA, Conwell is an affordable private school with a supportive environment, offering a rigorous, encouraging, and developmentally appropriate program to all students. Children are taught to think creatively, read critically, and reason logically. Conwell has a high level of parent and community involvement in both classroom and after school activities. Students are valued as individuals and learning plans are tailored to meet their needs and learning styles. For more information visit online at www.conwellcec.org or call 413-238-5856.

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.

ADVERTISE HERE: 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.

SUGAR SHACKS: Sugar shacks all over Western MA are open, boiling down sap, flipping jacks, and serving both up fresh out of the kitchen.  Find a recommended Sugar Shack here: Where’s Your Favorite Sugar Shack in Western MA?.

MotherWoman is coming to the Hilltowns, offering two support groups to Hilltown mothers.  The first group meets on Mondays in Ashfield at St. John’s Corner House from 11am-12:30pm.  Expectant mothers welcome. Free childcare is available for children up to age four. Contact Anna Westley for more info at 413-625-6948. A second group will be hosted by the Cummington Family Center at the Cummington Community House on the 2nd Thursday each month from 10-11:30am.  Contact Stacey Mackowiak for more info at 413-634-8853.  More info on both at www.itavillage.com.

Enter to win a pair of tickets for a Parents’ Night Out!

Volunteers wanted for Salamander Tunnel Maintenance Day in Amherst on  Saturday, March 9th from 1-3pm. The Hitchcock Center for the Environment will be cleaning Salamander tunnels and drift fences on Henry Street.  Volunteers will be raking leaves, shoveling sand and debris, clipping brush, repairing plastic mesh fences, pounding in wooden stakes, and picking up litter and will have some tools and gloves available for families to help out (but please bring your own if you have them.). All ages are welcome! Henry Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Mark Your Calendars: March 16th Hilltown Families & Flywheel present another Saturday Morning Music Party in Easthampton!

Next Saturday, March 16th from 10am-12noon - MUSIC PARTY: Hilltown Families and Flywheel Presents a Saturday Morning Music Party with special guest, Shiprock & Anchordog. Bring the family for another family friendly morning of live music & free pancakes! Local group, Shiprock & Anchordog will bring us a mixed media performance of theater and video set to music in the Americana vein about the story of two dog heroes and their adventures through forests, oceans and dreamscapes. Free pancakes will be flipped onto your plates beginning at 10am. Kids of all ages welcome! Happens at Flywheel. 43 Main Street (Old Town Hall). Easthampton, MA (>$)

We have 3 family 4-pack of tickets we’re giving away to see the musical Annie in Northampton, March 14-16!

Next Saturday, March 16th at 2pm - FILM/LITERATURE: Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center hosts author Brian Selznick for a screening of the movie adaptation of his book, Hugo. The film (meant for families!) features Oscar-winner Martin Scorsese. Following the screening, Selznick discuss the process of transforming the book into film, and will answer audience questions. 413-528-0100. 14 Castle Street. Great Barrington, MA. ($)

Next Sunday, March 17th at 11:30am – ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE: Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Western MA’s most Irish city! The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade includes floats, dancers, and other performers from local groups and marches all over the city! Holyoke, MA. (FREE)


LIST OF WEEKLY SUGGESTED EVENTS
March 9th-15th, 2013

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Suggest an Event | Forecast | Museum Passes | Weekly eNewsletter

Berkshire Family Fun

Events Happening in the Hilltowns | ♦ On-going Events

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Beth Caissie of Greenfield writes: “I mark the end of winter by the first buckets and tubes I see attached to maple trees on the side of the road. I love to take my family for hikes during this (sometimes muddy, sometimes icy) time of year to look for hidden sugar bushes deep in the woods. The first time I found the tangle of plastic tubes running from tree to tree far from the road, I was exploring the Quabbin Reservoir. We also love to head to the sugar shacks for a meal this time of year, and stock up on syrup, which we do buy by the gallon.”

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. – This week we will be rebroadcasting our Sheep Shearing & Maple Syrup Episode. - Listen to the Hilltown Family Variety Show podcast anytime. Click here to see over 5 years of archived shows.

9:30am-12noon – BOOKMAKING: Kids ages 6-10 can visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts today to make their very own picture books!  They’ll learn about the creative process in regards to both art and writing, and will learn how to create and execute an idea for a fantastic children’s book.  Registration required.  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA.  ($$)

10am – MUSEUM ADVENTURE: The Clark hosts Start With Art, a special class for kids ages 3-6 that will introduce them to some basic ideas in art-making and art viewing.  There will be a short gallery talk focused on the use of colors and shapes, followed by some time to make your own masterpiece.  413-458-2303.  225 South Street.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

10am – ANIMAL STUDIES/TRACKING: Explore Steepletop with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council and learn all about animal tracking!  Participants in the adventure will learn how to tell the difference between fisher, porcupines, and bobcats tracks, as well as tips for finding sites of animal tracks or other signs.  413-499-0596.  New Marlborough, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – ANIMAL STUDIES/BIRDS: Families can learn all about bird banding today at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary!  There will be banding demonstrations going on throughout the morning, so feel free to drop in whenever is convenient.  There will be demonstrations of proper use of mist nets – used to catch birds for banding – as well as the proper handling of small birds.  Before visiting, do a family study of the scientific purpose of bird banding – you’ll appreciate the demonstrations even more!  472 West Mountain Road.  Lenox, MA.  (<$)

10am-12noon – OPEN HOUSE: Visit the Hartsbrook School today to learn more about the Waldorf curriculum that the school offers.  Families will learn about the many programs and opportunities that the school offers, the theory behind Waldorf education, and will learn whether or not the school could be a good match for their children.  413-586-1908.  Bay Road.  Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – NUTRITION: We all know that vegetables are healthy for us, but do you know the true nutritional value of garden-grown veggies?  The Berkshire Botanical Garden is offering a workshop today with Dr. Marie Mammone on the health benefits of cooking with fresh veggies, herbs, and flowers – Parents can learn who to provide better nutrition to their family.  Registration required.  413-298-3926.  Routes 102 and 183.  Stockbridge, MA.  ($$)

10am-12noon – ANIMAL STUDIES/BEHAVIOR SCIENCE: Why do squirrels run around the way that they do, darting across yards and running halfway up (and then back down) tree trunks?  Find out today at the Hitchcock Center!  Hampshire College professor Sarah Partan will teach visitors about the meaning behind squirrel behavior – there’s more to it than you would think!  Registration required.  413-256-6006.  525 South Pleasant Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

10am-4pm – BOOK SALE: The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum are hosting a book sale!  Search through hundreds of books in every genre to find some great reads to take home while helping raise money for the library.  413-499-9480.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA.  (SALE)

10am-4:30pm – HISTORY: Children in early New England had to work often to help their families survive – somehow, though, they still had time to play!  Visit Historic Deerfield today to learn about and try out many Colonial-era toys often enjoyed by children in early Deerfield.  Visitors can make their own toys to take home, and can even try on 18th-century clothing to see what they might have looked like as a child long ago.  413-775-7170.  84B Old Main Street.  Deerfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

10am-5pm – CRAFTS: The Deerfield Spring Sampler – part of the annual series of craft fairs held by Old Deerfield Craft Fairs – takes place this weekend at the Big E!  Visit the craft show to see a wide variety of beautiful and unique work by local artists and artisans. Workshop and demonstrations being offered include Ukrainian Egg Workshop, Lace Making demonstration, and baking tips.  413-774-7476.  1305 Memorial Avenue.  West Springfield, MA.  ($)

10:30am – FILM/FOOD: Images Cinema hosts Fresh Fest, a film festival featuring four documentaries about food and farming (some of which feature guest speakers!).  This morning’s screening is family-friendly, and can teach those of all ages about hunger.  “Growing Hope Against Hunger,” is a Sesame Street special that celebrates community while teaching about the reality of food insecurity.  413-458-5612.  50 Spring Street.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

10:30am-12noon – CULINARY ARTS: Learn to cook in the kitchen at Chandler’s Restaurant!  Kids can learn to make Irish Soda bread, and will get to practice basic kitchen skills and learn about all of the necessary ingredients while they bake.  Registration required.  413-665-1277.  25 Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  ($)

11am – ANIMAL STUDIES: Visit the Berkshire Museum to try out a human-friendly eco-location simulator!  Built using similar technology used in back-up cameras in cars, the Bat-Bot uses changes in sound feedback in order to allow users to navigate through a series of small obstacles.  Use your sense of hearing to find your way – just like a bat!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

11am-12noon – KIDS SWAP MEET: Kids got stuff?  Let them swap it at the Northampton ReUse Council’s Kid Stuff Exchange!  Bring clothes, toys, books, sporting gear, etc. (please, no baby gear – strollers, car seats, etc.) to trade, and leave with gently used new-to-you stuff for the whole family.  In order to donate to the swap, kids must register in advance.  Registration also guarantees first dibs on donated items – those contributing can begin perusing items at 9am.  Non-donors are welcome at 11am.  Takes place in the cafeteria at Smith Vocational High School.  Locust Street.  Northampton, MA.  (FREE)

11am-12noon – MUSIC STUDIES/UKULELE: Haven’t you always wanted to learn ukulele?  Berkshire South Community Center’s ukulele class meets at the Ramsdell Library this morning – visit to start learning!  413-274-3738.  1087 Main Street.  Housatonic, MA.  (FREE)

11am-2pm – MAPLE SUGARING: It’s officially maple season, what with the warmer weather and gradual snow melting.  Celebrate at MapleFest at the Hopkins State Forest!  The annual event is a chance to not only celebrate the delicious locally-harvested sweet treat that is maple syrup, but is also a chance for families to learn about the entire process, from sap and tap to bottles in the grocery store.  Visit a working sugarhouse to see the evaporation process, and then see demonstrations of techniques used throughout history to produce syrup.  The most adventurous of families can even lend a hand in the harvesting process!  And, of course, there will be pancakes – drenched in local syrup!  413-597-4277.  Bulkley Street and Northwest Hill Road.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

11:30am – KIDS SHOW: MASS MoCA hosts Mamie Minch for a special morning show for kids.  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($)

1pm – KIDS’ PERFORMANCE: Local children’s author Jarrett Krosoczka and musician Jef Czekaj have teamed up for the most exciting and musical book reading that the Eric Carle Museum has ever hosted!  The two will use a combination of punk rock, rap, and drawing to share stories!  413-658-1100.  125 West Bay Road.  Amherst, MA (FREE with museum admission)

1pm – FILM/FOOD: Images Cinema screens, “Edible City,” as part of their Fresh Fest film festival, a weekend full of food- and farm-related films.  “Edible City” documents the work of activists, community organizations, and citizens who are all involved in transforming food systems and combining urban environments and agriculture.  413-458-5612.  50 Spring Street.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

1-3pm – VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Volunteers wanted for Salamander Tunnel Maintenance Day . The Hitchcock Center for the Environment will be cleaning Salamander tunnels and drift fences on Henry
Street.  Volunteers will be raking leaves, shoveling sand and debris, clipping brush, repairing plastic mesh fences, pounding in wooden stakes, and picking up litter and will have some tools and gloves available for families to help out (but please bring your own if you have them.). All ages are welcome! Henry Street. Amherst, MA (FREE)

2pm – FAMILY PERFORMANCE: The Piti Theater Company’s SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival takes place this weekend!  The annual event features performances of theater, music, dance, and more.  This afternoon, families can visit Memorial Hall to see Piti Theater perform their fun and educational show (of worldwide fame!), “To Bee or Not to Bee,” which teaches children about the important role that bees play in nature.  Families can also see performances from Masque Theater, Ballet Renverse, and the Wheeler Play Group (made up of local teens).  413-695-9972.  51 Bridge Street.  Shelburne Falls, MA.  (<$)

2 and 7pm – THEATER: Mohawk Trail Regional High School presents a stage adaptation of The Hobbit!  Frodo, Gandalf, Smaug, and company will take the stage at the school’s auditorium.  866-967-8167.  26 Ashfield Road.  Shelburne Falls, MA.  ($)

3pm – HISTORY: Western Gateway Heritage State Park is offering a program all about Daylight Savings Time – learn all about why we turn our clocks forward each spring!  413-663-6312.  115 State Street, Building 4.  North Adams, MA.  (FREE< fee for parking)

4-5:30pm – LITERATURE: Spend an afternoon in Narnia – without even having to search for the magical wardrobe!  The Greenfield Library is hosting a special event for lovers of CS Lewis (ages 7+) where library staff will dress as characters from the books and act out a few exciting scenes.  413-772-1544.  402 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.  (FREE)

4:30pm – FILM/FOOD: Images Cinema hosts Fresh Fest this weekend, a film festival featuring films about food and farming.  This afternoon’s screening is, “More Than Honey,” a film about the major declines in bee populations in recent history.  The film examines the role of the honey bee, and looks to locations worldwide to explain its importance and the issues we face relating to bees.  In German with English subtitles, Local honey tasting to follow!  413-458-5612.  50 Spring Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (<$)

7pm – PERFORMANCE: Piti Theater Company’s SYRUP: One Sweet Performing Arts Festival continues tonight with a performance by Masque Theater Company, who will present “This World, the Next, and the Peach Orchard,” a show featuring over 20 beautiful masks.  Other performances include juggling and comedy with Jack Golden, and music from Carrie Ferguson and June and the Bee.  Ages 8+ (afternoon performance is all ages).  Takes place at Memorial Hall.  413-695-9972.  51 Bridge Street.  Shelburne Falls, MA.  ($$)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

6:30-9pm – WINE & CHEESE: Enjoy an evening filled with delicious wine and cheese, and help to raise money for the South Hadley library!  Staff from Provisions (a specialty foods store) will share eight wines and delicious, well-paired cheeses and will share information about each of the wonderful tastings.  Takes place at the Falls Congregational Church.  413-538-5045.  11 North Main Street. South Hadley, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

8pm – CONCERT: Mass MoCA hosts a performance by Mamie Minch, one of the youngest (and best!) old school blues guitarists.  Her original music is influenced by the masters, but brings a little something new to blues!  The show will take place in the museum’s Club B-10.  413-662-2111.  1040 Mass MoCA Way.  North Adams, MA.  ($$)

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Sunday, March 10th, 2013

Rebecca Heath of Pittsfield writes: “We love maple sugaring season… as a family, including our 93 year old grandmother, we head to Ioka Valley Farm for their delicious farm fresh breakfast. Our favorite of course is the fresh boiled maple syrup but they also have the best maple butter…MMMM….this year my husband and four year old daughter tapped the trees on our land. It was amazing to watch her learn which one’s were maple trees by the bark they have. She helped use the hammer and hang the bucket and to her surprise sap started immediately flowing. We don’t have any fancy boiler so we boiled it outside and it took forever but the finished product we are so proud of. It is a great family memory that we will continue each year. So important for our children to learn about trees, animals, plants and our food. Each time we eat our pancakes with our own maple syrup I will think of those memories. It’s priceless.”

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.

SUGAR SHACKS: Sugar shacks all over Western MA are open, boiling down sap, flipping jacks, and serving both up fresh out of the kitchen.  Find a recommended Sugar Shack here.

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

10am-5pm – CRAFTS: The Deerfield Spring Sampler – part of the annual series of craft fairs held by Old Deerfield Craft Fairs – takes place this weekend at the Big E!  Visit the craft show to see a wide variety of beautiful and unique work by local artists and artisans. Workshop and demonstrations being offered include Ukrainian Egg Workshop, Lace Making demonstration, and baking tips.  413-774-7476.  1305 Memorial Avenue.  West Springfield, MA.  ($)

11am-3pm – MAPLE SUGARING: It’s maple season alright!  Storrowton Village celebrates the sweet New England tradition today with Maple Harvest Day!  Families can visit the village to learn all about how maple sugaring was done during the earliest days of New England.  The historic village, made up of buildings from all over New England, will be bustling with maple-related activity, including demonstrations, tastings, and more.  There will also be chances to learn about spinning and weaving, open hearth cooking, and other daily tasks of early settlers.  Storrowton is located at the Big E.  413-205-5051.  1305 Memorial Avenue.  West Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

12noon-4pm – PLANT STUDIES: How can you identify a tree without seeing its leaves?  By its bark, of course!  Learn all about bark identification with Nancy Goodman of the Hitchcock Center at Mt. Norwottuck today.  Identification skills can help families to navigate the woods and learn more about their surroundings.  Registration required.  413-256-6006.  525 South Pleasant Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FREE)

1pm – ANIMAL STUDIES: Meet some real-life bats today at the Berkshire Museum!  The museum is currently hosting an exhibit all about bats, which features specimens of actual bats, but no live bats.  However, today some fruit bats, a big brown bat, and a Malayan flying fox will all pay a visit to the museum!  Families can learn all about what bats eat, where they live, and the fragility of their populations before meeting the live bats.  Not to be missed – this is a once in a lifetime opportunity!  413-443-7171.  39 South Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE with museum admission)

1-3pm – OUTDOOR ADVENTURE/HIKE: Explore the Hilltown Land Trust’s Breckenridge Sanctuary!  Hike or snowshoe through the 1-mile loop trail – it crosses a brook and covers some beautiful territory.  Old Goshen Road.  Williamsburg, MA.  (FREE)

1:30-3:30pm -ADAPTIVE ICE SKATING: Fitzpatrick Arena – along with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation – hosts an afternoon of adaptive skating!  There will be sleds available for sled skating, and wheelchairs can be brought right onto the ice.  Traditional skates can be worn, too.  Skaters can play friendly games and participate in races and other fun ice activities.  413-545-5758.  575 Maple Street.  Holyoke, MA.  (FREE)

2pm – CIRCUS: 7th and 8th grade students from the Great Barrington Rudolf Steiner School present, “A Circus Day in the Park,” at Simon’s Rock’s Kilpatrick Center.  The original circus performance includes juggling, tumbling, clowning, twirling, and more and is exciting for all ages!  Enjoy the show and celebrate the theatrical work of the students.  413-528-4015.  84 Alford Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  ($)

2pm – FILM FEST: Amherst Cinema’s Miyazaki Festival continues today with a screening of Castle in the Sky.  Made in 1986, the film follows its two charming protagonists on a search for a fascinating and in the sky.  413-253-2547.  28 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  ($)

2pm – THEATER: Mohawk Trail Regional High School presents a stage adaptation of The Hobbit!  Frodo, Gandalf, Smaug, and company will take the stage at the school’s auditorium.  866-967-8167.  26 Ashfield Road.  Shelburne Falls, MA.  ($)

3pm – TRIVIA: Does your family love cinema?  Test your knowledge at Amherst Cinema’s SCREEN TEST!  This is the second year in a row that the cinema has held the event (it’s a fundraiser to ensure that the valley continues to have an independent theater!), which takes place at the Academy of Music Theatre.  Teams of three people can participate in the exciting rounds of trivia, which will be hosted by city councilman Bill Dwight and author/actor John Hodgman!  413-584-9032.  274 Main Street.  Northampton, MA.  ($)

4pm – FILM/FOOD: Images Cinema hosts Fresh Fest this weekend, a film festival about food and farming.  This afternoon’s screening comes from a local filmmaker, and tells the story of a family living on a 300-acre dairy farm (now no longer operating, but still lived on!).  Local director Bette Craig documented the Rhodes family of Williamstown’s history and relationship with the farm they owned – learn all about life in Williamstown past, as well as the reality of local farming by seeing the film!  413-458-5612.  50 Spring Street.  Williamstown, MA.  ($)

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Monday, March 11th, 2013

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

4-8pm – COMMUNITY DINNER: Fill a bowl to help fight hunger!  The annual Empty Bowls fundraising dinner takes place tonight at The Pub, and helps to raise funds and awareness for the Amherst Survival Center.  Attendees can bring their own bowl, or choose a bowl handmade by a local artist and fill it with delicious soup, salad, and more from local restaurants.  413-549-3968.  15 East Pleasant Street.  Amherst, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

6pm – LOCAL HISTORY: Lots of influential and important people have come from the Pioneer Valley, but did you know that we wouldn’t have subways if it wasn’t for a Valley native?  The Wistariahurst Museum hosts a talk on Alfred Beach, the brains behind New York City’s first subway.  The discussion will explore the story behind the big idea, and Beach’s connection to the area.  The event is part of the museum’s lecture series, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Transportation in the Pioneer Valley.  413-322-5660.  238 Cabot Street.  Holyoke, MA.  (<$)

6:30pm – STORYTIME: The Westhampton Library is hosting a fairy-themed storytime, where kids can hear great fantasy stories and make their own fairy houses!  413-527-5386.  1 North Road.  Westhampton, 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, March 12th, 2013

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

9:30am-12:30pm - NATURE STUDIES: The Hitchcock Center is hosting a special Homeschool Discovery Day today!  Participating nature scholars will learn about all of the species of frogs and salamanders found locally and will pay a visit to the center’s vernal pool to learn about amphibian habitat.  If the weather is good, there will be a trip to North Amherst to learn about the salamander tunnels and perhaps do some tunnel maintenance.  Registration required.  413-256-6006.  525 South Pleasant Street.  Amherst, MA. 

5:30-7pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: Pittsfield Public Schools host a workshop on using active parenting with teens!  Learn strategies to help navigate the challenges of parenting older children.  Takes place at Reid Middle School.  413-448-9624.  950 North Street.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE)

6pm – CRIMINAL JUSTICE: The Berkshire Bar Association and the Friends of the Berkshire Library are hosting a film series titled, “Cinema of Law,” which features films about interesting and/or significant cases.  Tonight’s screening is, “Caine Mutiny.”  Made in 1954, the film tells the story of a ship’s captain whose crew acts out a mutiny out of fear that he has a psychological disorder affecting his ability to captain the ship. Great for older students interested in law and the legal process!  413-499-9480.  1 Wendell Avenue.  Pittsfield, MA.  (FREE) 

6:30pm – PARENT WORKSHOP: “Positive Discipline that Works.” Learn about strategies for positive discipline tonight with Scott Noyes at Community Health Programs!  The workshop will teach parents ways to teach kids about good behavior, rather than consistently providing negative feedback to poor behavior.  Call to register!  Sponsored by South Berkshire Kids.  413-464-5095.  444 Stockbridge Road.  Great Barrington, MA.  (FREE)

7-9pm – FILM/BIOGRAPHY: Meekins Library screens, “My Business is to Sing,” a new documentary on the life of legendary poet, Emily Dickinson.  The third in the Angles of a Landscape series, the film focuses on how popular music styles during Dickinson’s life influenced her work.  Narrator Susan Snively and filmmaker Ernest Urvater will hold a discussion after the film, where viewers can learn about their process in creating it and some other interesting history behind the film.  413-538-6489.  2 Williams Street.  Williamsburg, 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, March 13th, 2013

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-12noon – NUTRITION: The Gateway Family Center hosts a Parent Cafe this morning!  Visit to talk with other parents about the challenges and rewards of parenting.  Childcare and transportation available.  413-667-2203.  9 Russell Road.  Huntington, MA.  (FREE)

4pm – READING: Visit the Forest Park Library to read and review some great books!  Families can read new books, then use a special star system to evaluate what they’ve read and help future patrons make great reading choices.  413-263-6843.  380 Belmont Avenue.  Springfield, MA.  (FREE)

7pm – FILM FEST: Amherst Cinema’s Miyazaki Festival continues today with a screening of Castle in the Sky.  Made in 1986, the film follows its two charming protagonists on a search for a fascinating and in the sky.  413-253-2547.  28 Amity Street.  Amherst, MA.  ($)

7-8:30pm – PLANT STUDIES: You can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can judge a tree by its bark!  Join author Michael Wojtech at Northfield Mountain for an evening of tree-identification.  Teens (ages 12+) and parents will learn about identifying trees using only their bark – making identification much easier during months when buds and leaves aren’t present.  There will be a slideshow as well as hands-on activities – great for budding naturalists!  Registration required.  800-859-2960.  Millers Falls Road.  Northfield, 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, March 14th, 2013

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

12:15pm – HISTORY: The Industrial Revolution offered work opportunities to numerous immigrant groups during the 19th century – and Massachusetts’ many mills drew lots of new workers to the state.  Learn about Irish culture and women’s work in mills today at the Springfield Museums!  Professional storyteller Sharon Kennedy will share the tale of Mary Margaret O’Connell, a Lowell mill worker at today’s Museums a la Carte lecture.  Students learning about American history and/or women’s history can supplement their studies by attending the lecture!  800-625-7738.  21 Edwards Street.  Springfield, MA.  (<$)

3-4pm – TEEN/TWEEN: The Westfield Athenaeum’s “Teen Loft” has craft time this afternoon!  Stop by and use a variety of art supplies to create a masterpiece.  413-568-7833.  6 Elm Street.  Westfield, MA.  (FREE)

6:30-8:30pm – BOOKS: JFK Middle School hosts a book fair, featuring beloved local author Jane Yolen!  Along with lots of great books to peruse, Yolen will discuss and sign copies of many of her YA books.  It’s an especially important event because she no longer visits schools, but has made a special exception from JFK!  413-587-1489.  100 Bridge Road.  Florence, MA.

7:30pm – FILM/WOMEN’S STUDIES: The Greenfield Garden Cinemas screens, “Girl Rising,” which tells the story of nine girls from all over the world who face immense obstacles in obtaining their education.  Narrated by famous actresses, the film beautifully tells the story of each girl’s struggle.  This screening has been added after two sold out screenings, so get tickets early!  The film is a great way to teach girls about women’s rights and empowerment, as well as the many issues women face globally.  413-773-9620.  361 Main Street.  Greenfield, MA.  ($)

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 15th, 2013

10am-4pm – BOTANY: Visit Mt. Holyoke’s Talcott Greenhouse for the botanic garden’s 2013 bulb show!  With a Mediterranean theme, the show features a wide variety of spring-blooming bulbs, as well as other beautiful flowering plants and shrubs.  Families can learn about unique types of plants, and a visit to the show can be used to supplement studies of biodiversity and plant anatomy.  413-538-2116.  50 College Street.  South Hadley, MA.  (FREE)

10am-4pm – BOTANY: The Smith College Botanic Garden’s annual spring bulb show begins today!  Visit the garden to see beautiful flowers and to learn about the growing process of bulbs.  Pair a visit to the show with a family study of how plants grow and compare seed growth to bulb growth.  413-585-2740.  16 College Lane.  Northampton, MA.  (DONATION)

5-7pm – FAMILY FUN NIGHT: The South Hadley Family Center hosts a Family Fun Night at Mosier Elementary.  Bring the kids and come enjoy a pasta dinner, cake walk, live music, games and raffles. 101 Mosier Street. South Hadley, MA (>$)

7pm – THEATER: What if in the Bible’s Garden of Eden lived a couple named Adam and Steve, instead of Adam and Eve?!  Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School presents, “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” at the Academy of Music.  The show follows Adam and Steve, as well as Jane and Mabel, from the garden all the way through religious history to present times – the satirical show is incredibly funny, and takes a critical look at history, relationships, and faith.  413-584-9032.  274 Main Street.  Northampton, 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.  829 Main Street.  Williamstown, MA.  (FREE)

PARENTS’ NIGHT OUT

6pm – MUSIC/DINNER: It’s Irish Night at Chandler’s Restaurant tonight!  Enjoy an evening out and help to support the Franklin Land Trust, a community organization working to preserve local natural resources.  Parents can enjoy a delicious dinner paired with BBC beers, live music from Banish Misfortune, Irish dancers, and more!  413-665-1277.  Old Greenfield Road.  Deerfield, MA.  (FUNDRAISER)

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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